Chapter 6: Horses and Chili Peppers/Three days in Albuquerque

by William Bossen Photography

Albuquerque has a unique identity and culture.  Where should I begin; adobe homes, hot air balloon festivals, a love for green and red chili sauce, or rodeos?  I will begin with Rodeos.  Horses and Rodeo culture are a passion for a lot of the residents that live in this area.  Todd, my cousins boyfriend  invited us to a rodeo his daughter was competing in on Sunday.  He owns three beautiful horses, Zanzibar, Penny, and Copper which Will had the experience of galloping and jumping over cacti on.  I was actually too intimidated.  After 30 minutes of riding and feeling like I was going to get bucked off and sustain a concussion on a hard dessert rock I nervously asked my cousin to take me home and continue riding with Will and Todd.  Will still has the blister and bruises to prove his command over wild horses; so much for our blog title.  Anyhow, back to Rodeo.  I have never seen so many small children on horses traveling around barrels at such high speeds.  The competition also includes goat tying, which entails slamming small goats to the ground and then tying them up as fast as you can.  We missed the goat tying, which I am grateful for.  I am too sensitive and probably would not have been able to handle children beating up goats. The kids also seemed equally entertained playing in the dirt and tying each other up.   Ultimately it was inspiring to see the relationship that can develop between such large and beautiful animals and human beings of all ages; if only we could treat all animals with the love, care, and respect these kids and their parents had for their horses.

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Chili grows in abundance in Albuquerque and is a fundamental part of the local cuisine.  Rebecca, my cousin had a garden overgrowing with at least a dozen different varieties of peppers and chilies, which we picked and she made hot delicious sauces and salsas with.  Green and Red Chili sauces are offered at all the local eateries as an option to have on anything at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  There is no lack of vitamin C or heat in the New Mexican diet.  Pork and Posole are also key ingredients in the homemade stews and chili’s of New Mexico. We tested this fare at a quirky restaurant called Cervanteswhere they not only took the excellent food very seriously but also their Halloween decorations.  The place was covered in every inch with gory, ghoulish, and gaudy paraphernalia that would definitely have sent a small child running and screaming.

The Sandia Mountains rest on the east side of Albuquerque and are wonderful place to hike and enjoy sunset.  The town itself is a bit of a wasteland minus a single trendy neighborhood call “Knob Hill”, where we have friends that live and hosted a lovely dinner for us on our last night before heading on to Santa Fe, the place to really admire local architecture and art.