Monday, 17 May 2010

Coyote Ugly

I've just spent 10 days in Albuquerque, probably more famous for being a regular training haunt for world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe than for being the largest city in New Mexico.  The highlight of the week was seeing a coyote run along in front of me during a run last Monday, but that's probably doing ABQ an injustice.

Albuquerque is a large, but spread-out city.  While avoiding doing an essay earlier in the week, I decided to explore the city.  I thought that taking a bus to downtown would be the best way to get to the happening part of the city.  How wrong I was.  The high-rise buildings of the downtown totalled two, and apart from one decent souvenir shop, and a few restaurants, there was nothing there for me.  So I walked to the old town, a one-street strip of traditional craft shops about 2 miles from the downtown.  I managed to punch in a few hours there looking at the gifts that I should buy from my family, but am too lazy to carry around in my already overweight suitcase (and too tight to buy), but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as one of the world's must visit destinations.  Oh there was a museum too, but I don't do museums.

I later found out that the main shopping area is in Uptown, about 3 or 4 miles in the other direction.

Much of the rest of the time was spent doing the aforementioned essay, training, and trying to avoid the pollen that was reaping havoc with my nasal passages.  I managed to do some training with the girls and guys at University of New Mexico, a lot of whom are British, and I got to see some of them race in their Conference meet on Friday and Saturday.

And then, yesterday evening I took the train to Flagstaff, AZ, the penultimate destination in my tour of America's South West.  I'd been looking forward to the trip for a while, mostly because there is only so much flying that one body can take, but also because I figured that the scenery would be something to look at.

And it didn't disappoint.  Having read a couple of Paul Theroux's travel books (including Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown and Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar, I was curious to see what the obsession is with long distance train journeys was.  And I guess there is nowhere better to start than in the desert!

Below are some of the snaps of the beautiful scenery, and the amazing sunset that I got from the train.  Unfortunately because of the fast moving train, and the glare from the glass, National Geographic won't be signing me up as one of their photographers based on these examples, but I'll have another chance to change that when I visit the Grand Canynon later in the week.

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