Santa Fe is very much a town whose core is built on arts and tourism. While walking back from dinner last night, we stumbled upon the city's summer concert series, which kicked off with a magic show from local group Clan Tynker. Let me tell you, nothing embodies the Land of Enchantment like a surprise magic show. It was great, and the weather was perfect for sitting in the park and watching people swallow swords and juggle flaming objects.
Less magical was a trip we made today to a distillery which will remain nameless here (but which is allegedly New Mexico's only distillery). It was kind of out of the way, and although their website, brochure, and giant sign outside their building/suburban home said they were open, there was a large CLOSED sign on the door and an angry dog barking at us from inside that adamantly told us our trek had been in vain. Liquor = not ours. Not cool, distillery. Not cool.
But, we did do some other neat things. We swung through the infamous town of Los Alamos and visited the Bradbury Science Museum, which has a huge focus on the Manhattan Project and the history of the U.S. nuclear program. Let me tell you, that's both a scary and awe-inspiring piece of history. I get chills whenever I hear Alan Oppenheimer quoting, "Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds." I was also astonished to learn that the average age of those working on the Manhattan Project was 25. So much destructive power and world-shaping events coming from such youth.
On a more cheerful but still awe-inspiring note, we also visited Bandelier National Monument, which is a breath-taking and well-preserved ancient Pueblo settlement set among cliffs and a valley not far from Los Alamos. Like all national parks we visit, we ended up there at the hottest part of the day (90 degrees again), which made climbing cliff stairs and ladders extra tiring. It was totally worth it, though, and one of those experiences that makes you ponder the scope of human history.
When you enter the park, the rangers give you maps and paperwork warning that you are in a "wildlife area." The papers give instructions on what to do if you run into, say, a mountain lion and also include a form that they ask you to fill out should you have a "negative wildlife encounter." I read that as bear and/or cougar mauling. Fortunately, no such incidents occurred. The closest we had were deer who ventured about ten feet from us and didn't attempt to eat us. So...no need for the form. We have pictures of them, like everything else on this trip, that we'll eventually post.
After that, it was back to the city to have dinner with an old school friend and her family. It was super fun, and we have yet to have a bad meal (or margarita) here in Santa Fe. More adventures coming tomorrow.
As a closing note, for those patiently waiting for my trip pics (especially Roswell), I have this to offer you. It's spoken word/multimedia/musical performance group UFOetry, who spreads messages about government conspiracy and improving the human race through songs about UFOs. And through UFOetry. This was filmed at the Roswell Mall, and any YouTube search will show many more clips: