Friday, June 20, 2014

Upper Cape: Onset and Buzzard's Bay

I spent a delightful afternoon on the Upper Cape in the villages of Onset and Buzzard's Bay.  These hamlets are off-the-tourist track, and serve year-round populations of 1,573 and 3,859, respectively.  Quaint, working-class, and authentic.  The Cape Verdean community help diversify these villages, and one senses a shared community, not of one's ethnicity, but as a Cape Codder.  So many locals were proudly sporting some sort of Cape Cod T-shirt, with the ubiquitous Boston Red Sox ball cap.  (I can't believe I mentioned the Sox in a blog--not a fan, but anyway).  

The Cape Cod Canal and it's elevator train bridge provided entertainment for all of us in the recreation area when the bridge lowered and a slow moving freight train crept through.  There are several good restaurants in the area, selling the usual Cape Cod fare of fried clams (with bellies) to lobster rolls to linguine with clams.  Today, I ate Thai from Krua Thai.  The made-to-order food was quite good, but slightly on the greasy side.  Mark Anthony's is good for fish and chips, pizza and other comfort beach side food.  I bought a can of ginger beer from a convenience store, don't usually see this in the local Stop & Shop.  Gosling's.  Quite good.

I needed a restful day, and a hop-skip-and-a-jump away, I was smelling the saltwater and occasionally finding sand near my toes.  I couldn't include the video of the bridge lowering and the train crossing even though it was awesome when everyone stood up to watch the entire episode. (It's only a minute-and-a-half, but it's not uploading).  In the video you could hear the train, and excited children (of all ages) as the train approached!

You can check out my photos on:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Greetings from Albuquerque, New Mexico!

One-day visit to Albuquerque just to rest and regroup after my long ride in Southern Utah.  Thought it would be fun to do my own Breaking Bad tour, and miraculously, most of the locations were near my hotel in the Uptown area.  It was pretty cool to see Walt and Skyler's house and Jesse and Jane's tweaker palace, in a not so nice area.  No one really gave me a second look when I was photographing these spots, guess they're just used to it.  Tuco's place is this really cool coffee house with great coffee, and resident philosophers complaining about the man and commercialism.  There were some interesting characters walking around, eventually becoming belligerent, but the coffee is worth the risk.  The coffee house is called Java City.  I saw that there are some organized Br Bad tours, but why spend the money?  Use Google, IMDB (which, by-the-way, lists out the street addresses for the major sites), and your GPS (Google Maps), and you're on your way!  Very easy, and also a great way to see the city.  I went to the wrong address to see Saul's office, so pay attention to streets vs. terraces.  It was a fun way to spend a hot, sticky Albuquerque morning.  I have never liked a show enough to ever do a tour of any sort, but since Br Ba is the best TV drama ever, one is naturally drawn to anything Heisenberg.  Incidentally, Guerilla Graphix has great T-shirts, postcards, and aprons if you're looking for Br Ba memorabilia.  They're located Old Town, and are total nerds, like me, about this show.  

After the tour, I visited the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center for the remainder of the morning.  Each of the 19 remaining pueblos is represented throughout the museum.  Maria Martinez' pottery making is captured in a documentary film in the basement.  The documentary was incredibly detailed footage of her pottery making starting with her and her son gathering the clay and sand in the desert to, well...okay, I left when she was on the potter's wheel, so I didn't see the finished product. (Film was a little too long).   Well, there are beautiful artifacts and artwork in the museum, but honestly, I was a little bored.  There was way too much to read, and some of the exhibits weren't all that interesting (like the one on the Indian school).   Sorry.  Maybe I just caught a bad exhibition period.  It's worth a look, but don't expect an exhibit like you would see in Santa Fe.
After the pueblo museum, I went to Sophia's New Mexican Restaurant.  There is a restaurant in the Pueblo museum, and I nearly ate there, but I couldn't stop thinking about the fish tacos at Sophia's.    It's a hole-in-the wall, but the food is amazing.  Fresh fish tacos are delicious.  The staff is friendly and welcoming, and there are two eating areas, inside and out on the patio.  Depending on the heat, you choose.  I took a nice long break there, and no one rushed me out.  

Then, I ended up in the Old Town for the remainder of the afternoon.  I walked around, shopped, went inside San Felipe de Neri Church, and tried to stay in the shade.  It was close to 100ºF--In early June!
Afterwards, I went to the new Target Uptown.  It's huge and a great place to replenish sun block and other necessities, and ice, for the cooler where I was carrying water in the trunk.  I always buy a cooler and fill it with water when driving through the desert or even up north.  It's a good way to stay hydrated in dry climate, and in the higher elevations.  Beware of becoming dehydrated in the higher elevations.  It's not a good look!

So to sum it up, I like the ABQ!  It was the perfect backdrop for Br Ba, and the perfect gateway for points north, south, east and west in New Mexico.  I find the people to be friendly enough.  It is a pretty big city, so people aren't as friendly as in Santa Fe or other little towns in northern New Mexico. There are a lot of good restaurants, and I did start this New Mexican vacation at Las Cuates on Menual.  Not sure why my GPS took me to Lomas last fall, but the location on Menual is definitely better.  Love the Chile rellenos with green chile!!
Parting advice:  visit the ABQ, slow down and relax.