St. Francis Cathedral Basilica, Santa Fe, NM
Keeping way too busy between work, a series of water-related disasters at home, prepping for my daughter's senior prom, as well as various details related to college and so on. I've been reading like a fiend, it's just that all the associated writing I have time to do is for review or for book group moderating.
The household disasters are almost unbelievable, they've occurred in such a short space of time. First the second floor bathtub leaked through the first floor foyer/living room area, requiring that bathroom be completely gutted. Next, we discovered our water heater had been leaking, slowly but surely, leaving a pool of rusty water in our basement. So that had to be replaced. Then, our dishwasher – a mere two months old – started leaking, then gave up the ghost. Another appliance replacement.
So, in lieu of regular book posts I've been fighting the good fight against the wicked sprites that inhabit my house, juggling everything else. When I'm looking back through my posts, wondering why there are significant gaps, here's my explanation for this one. I'm sure Future Lisa will be very sorry for Present Lisa's many woes.
But here's the good news: the gorgeous Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis in Santa Fe, NM. Lovely, isn't it?
I remember our 2011 trip to the Southwest as two weeks of sweaty driving, covering hundreds upon hundreds of miles every day to get from Point A to Point B. Surprisingly, the scenery and attractions out there were more varied than I'd anticipated. My expectation was two weeks of glaring sun, sweat running down the divet along my spine, pooling at my waistline, the dry weather making me so thirsty I'd be biting off the tops of water bottle after water bottle to keep from shriveling up into a dry husk. And there was that.
But Santa Fe… After a long, long trek through the incredible dry heat, it was an oasis of cool. The air's so clear there, at a higher elevation than much of the surrounding desert, it's a photographer's paradise. Even this bumbling picture-taker found a lot of beauty spots.
Perhaps my most lasting memory of Santa Fe will be the frantic search for someplace to eat dinner after spending all day rumbling around the area. We were stinky and tired, famished and so thirsty our mouths had begun to form new, mini-desert ecosystems. Our retinas were burned from the unaccustomed glaringly bright, crystal clear atmosphere. Tempers were short, which doesn't distinguish our vacations from each other as much as perhaps it should, and no matter where we went there weren't enough comfortable places to sit and brood on our discomfort. At least not far enough away from each other to avoid touching, which, on vacation, is pretty much the first nerve to go.
So Paul got on the cell phone, searching for the perfect place to enjoy some Tex-Mex Southwest cuisine. Restaurant after restaurant was closed, until he reached a gentleman with a strong Mexican accent who told him that, yes, he sold tacos but he was at home now. Turns out he was a sidewalk vendor with a mobile cart.
Thanks, Google maps!
Ultimately, we found it. An out of the way hidey-hole stuck in the corner of a sort of strip mall somewhere. It was trendy in that "We're trying to look like a secret place only the locals know, but we know you know that's not so…" kind of way. But it sold food. REALLY GOOD food. Expensive food. But, just as importantly, BEVERAGES. And it had chairs that allowed us to not touch each other! Too bad I can't recall its name, so I could recommend it. So sorry about that but researching one Tex-Mex restaurant in a city like Santa Fe is like looking for one specific person with the surname "Jones" or "Smith" in any U.S. city: way, way too much work, unless there's something serious in it for me.
Santa Fe was a lot more than a really good dinner (including a salsa I'll dream of the rest of my life, at a restaurant I can never find again) but that's what stands out when I think back on it from this rainy May day in 2012. Nothing like a really good dinner to turn weary travelers back into actual human beings. Long enough to get through 'til the next day, at least.