Sunday, November 1, 2009

Things to do in Denver before you're dead

Having caught the cable car up to the top of Sandia mountain in ABQ, we hiked a little amidst the snowfall in near freezing temperatures, an amazing contrast with the weather on terra firma. We spent our final night in ABQ with 2 new friends we had met earlier on a trail near the Sandia mountain who kindly let us stay a night with them. They advised us to take Route 285 to Denver, our next destination. As a result we saw amazing snow-topped scenery en route north to Colorado rather than the monotony of the interstate. The next night we stayed in Salida, a very pleasant if all too darn nice artsy stopover, with great diners and numerous studios and galleries. We met an interesting sculptor who has entered his 50s finally doing what he wanted all his life after his marriage broke up and too many years in regular work. More interesting than Salida, however, was Antonitas, a sleepy New Mexican town which, after driving through damp and snow exiting ABQ, provided a welcome stopover. Here there were no tourists (except us). This laid back settlement town has been peopled by those of Indian and Mexican origin for 500 years. We ate well and cheaply in the local diner among an interesting clientele that included the local sheriff and some local officials who effortlessly switched their conversation from English to Spanish, a vision of the American future perhaps. I nearly got busted by a genial local policeman for parking the wrong way, but the timely intervention of a town elder prevented the People of New Mexico from facing me in the county court in 7 days time.

Suffice it to say that we drove into the capital of Colorado in upbeat mode, keen to see a very old friend of my wife’s who has lived in the US for more than 25 years. We were all nervous about how it would turn out. So much water under the bridge since they had worked together in London, so hard to know how much they would have in common now, and how I would get on with him. Within minutes of entering his apartment we both felt right at home, however. His spacious flat is crammed with framed movie and album posters and there is a hi fi in both the living room and his bedroom, each with a turntable. How cool is that? Conversations ranged widely but music was the constant theme. A major snow storm over the city on the first night ensured that we rested and appreciated our friend and his cool pad all the more. We ventured out to an Anglo style pub and on the the third day the amazing vinyl and poster delights of "Twist and Shout" on Colefax, the main street, saw us splurge once more

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