Thursday, April 17, 2008

truth or consequences ...

If we hadn't already known Texas is the "bible belt" of the US, we'd have worked it out pretty quickly arriving in El Paso.

As I went in search of the indoor pool I stumbled across an audience of several hundred in one of the hotels atriums. Some kind of religious conference was in full swing, with loud clapping and cheering at every other sentence.

In the process of collecting our hire car we discovered there are two kinds of clientelle at the airport here, groups of teenagers wearing a uniform of bible camp t-shirts, or military types from the nearby Fort Bliss sporting crew cuts and combats.

It struck me just how easily religion and the machinery of war sit side by side here - yet somehow we never seem to hear much about the dangers of Christian fundamentalism in the media.

Driving into New Mexico our first stop was the unusually named town of Truth or Consequences, who intially won their name on a radio show - you can read more about that here. After spending the night in a refurbished 1950's motel we hit the hot springs, enjoying a private pool along the banks of the Rio Grande overlooking turtleback mountain.

Food in Mexico tends to be quite different from the Mexican food we enjoy at home, which is probably more accurately described as Tex-Mex (i.e the americanised version) and to my taste at least far nicer.

Here of course they prefer to use the term New Mexican.

Continuing the drive north we stopped at a diner in Albuquerque for lunch where I had the nicest burrito I'm ever likely to taste (stuffed with chilli con carne and refried beans, topped with loads of cheese, guacamole and sour cream) - hardly diet food, but then again we are on holiday - which has been the universal excuse for pretty much everything over the last 50 weeks.

Our final stop in New Mexico was the town of Santa Fe in the high desert, characterised by it's trademark adobe buildings. To be honest, it all seemed a bit manufactured - even the town carpark (below) got the same treatment ...