For our last full day in New Mexico, we spent the day in downtown Albuquerque, which we had strangely not visited until that point.
First we saw the petroglyph carvings at the Petroglyph National Monument, which is actually shockingly close to where Chad and Mark live. This involved walking up a somewhat steep little mesa to view some rock carvings.
I was excited to see this because ever since we visited the southwest when I was in high school, my dad has been really into the Native American carvings, especially the Kokopelli deity. While there were no Kokopelli carvings there, we did see quite a few carvings.
After getting a little much-needed exercise at the petroglyph park, we headed to lovely downtown Albuquerque for lunch and shopping.
The downtown area was much more affordable than Santa Fe, so we checked out some Native American jewelry and southwestern tasty food. Dave got me a pretty stone ring for my upcoming birthday, and he also got something for himself: a nice, big pack of whole bean Piñon coffee. (It's a type of coffee grown in New Mexico, and Dave loved tasting it at Chad and Laura's house.)
I also had my first real New Mexican food for lunch at the Church Street Cafe, where I got a big plate of cheese enchiladas and pinto beans. (I ordered them "Christmas" style!) I loved the setting of this restaurant. It was situated in a very old house in Albuquerque, and we ate in the back courtyard. Eating delicious, hot enchiladas in that sunny courtyard was another highlight of the trip for me.
On day three, we also visited the awesome American International Rattlesnake Museum.
They give you a "certificate of bravery" when you go to this museum, because it really is full of creepy crawlies. To me, the snakes aren't as worrisome as the other things, such as tarantulas. (Shudder.)
We saw some really cute snakes, actually, like this little ringed guy.
Dave got a little too close to the glass for my comfort right here.
For dinner we ate at Sadie's of New Mexico, which is one of the more famous New Mexican restaurants in the area. Dave and I split carne adovada enchiladas, which are basically pulled pork enchiladas in chili sauce. I absolutely loved this dish, but the restaurant did not impress me as much as the Church Street Cafe or Casa de Benavidez. Nonetheless, you really can't go wrong with New Mexican cuisine.
It was a good last day in New Mexico with our friends. I was sad to leave, but I was just glad that I was able to spent time with these friends, not to mention my happiness to spend a few days in a relatively warm, sunny climate. (I even came back with a sort of tan!)
I also was reminded that there is light at the end of the law school tunnel. Seeing Chad and Mark coming out on the other side of graduation and taking the bar exam made me feel better about doing it myself. Even more so, seeing them start their business and take a chance made me feel that I will be OK in this economy, even if I'm terrified of my job search now.
Thanks for the great visit, Mark and Chad, and here's to many more!
2 hours ago