I'm heading to New Mexico in a week. What should I know?
I may not be of much help since I don’t know why you’re coming or what you’ll be doing here, but I can probably provide a few helpful hints! (This post got a little long, so bear with me…)
I do not say any of these things to scare you away, I just want you to be prepared for all that the Land of Entrapme—I mean, Enchantment—has to offer!
More under the cut, since this got so long!
The following goes for the whole of New Mexico:
• WEAR SUNSCREEN. I don’t care how dark you are, New Mexico itself is at a higher altitude than most other states, and it is in a desert area, which means you’re closer to the sun and it’s BLOODY HOT almost all year-round. Albuquerque, New Mexico sees around 340 (or more) sunny days a year. Most of them with no clouds. I have a friend from California who had literally never had a sunburn before IN HER LIFE. She got her first one here after spending twenty minutes outside jogging. It is also dry here, which means your skin will probably dry out mere moments after you take a shower. FOR YOUR SKIN’S SAKE; BATHE IN SUNSCREEN AND ALOE LOTION IF YOU HAVE TO. Don’t let this state destroy your beautiful complexion. Or…you know…give you skin cancer.
• Continuing on the fact that New Mexico has a high elevation: If you jog or ride your bike out here, you may run out of breath faster than you do in other states. Don’t worry, it’s only because the air is thin. Another thing that altitude affects is alcohol tolerance. You might not be able to handle as much as you’re used to in other states. Don’t worry, that’s just New Mexico fucking with you. But also because the air is thin. PLEASE don’t go to Sandia Crest and think you can still get away with six beers. You will probably be wasted before your third one.
• There are indeed four seasons in New Mexico, but they are not the same as everyone else’s. They are: WinterLiteTM, wiND, ATOMIC SUMMER, and then comes WIND PART II, THE VENGEANCE. We also have dust, dust, and more dust (I have probably seen more dust devils in my life than ice cream trucks. And New Mexico has a lot of shady-ass ice cream trucks). If you are asthmatic, PLEASE use your inhaler/nebuliser and sleep with an air humidifier in the room. In fact, everyone should sleep with a humidifier on, asthmatic or not. It can help prevent dry-weather nosebleeds.
• It’s not a fun subject, but here are some BUGS and CRAWLIES to watch out for:
-As with everywhere, if you’ll be spending time outside, wear bugspray and avoid mosquitos, fleas, and ticks like the plague (haha see…cos in New Mexico, the fleas and ticks might LITERALLY be carrying the ACTUAL plague. Be safe out there, kids, and don’t touch the prarie dogs).
-If you see a spider that looks like this:
It’s harmless. Its mouth is literally too small to bite you. These long-legged angels may be everywhere, but they help keep the fly population to a tolerable level. You can leave them alone and they’ll just sit there looking pretty and creepy.
-However, if you see either one of THESE fuckers:
Either leave it alone, relocate it, or if you can’t…I guess you can kill it. Just do NOT let it GET ON YOU or BITE YOU, WHATEVER YOU DO.
-We also have some problems with scorpions and centipedes. A good rule of thumb is to leave them alone and they’ll leave you alone. But if it’s little, and it’s ON you, either relocate it or kill it.
-In the more rural areas of NM, there are bullsnakes and rattlesnakes! The bullsnakes are pretty much harmless, and I can tell you stories about catching them as a wee lad. But if you encounter a rattlesnake, get THE HELL OUT. Chances are, you’ll hear it first. Back away slowly and then when you’re a safe distance away, RUN LIKE FUCK. They like to hang out in tall grass, so if at all possible, avoid running through a wide open field of grass.
• MANY OF THE PLANTS HERE WILL TRY TO KILL YOU! Don’t take it personally, they’re just angry and jealous that we have less water than everyone else. It’s quite understandable. I am too. If you see a green park and wish to run through it barefoot DON’T DO IT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. SPARE YOUR POOR FEET. If the plants don’t get you, THE SPRINKLER HEADS WILL.
Anyway, here are some evil New Mexican plants to watch out for:
These fuckers don’t care who they take out, they just care that they take out AS MANY FEET, TOES, HANDS, AND FINGERS AS POSSIBLE. You thought getting a splinter was bad? These will stab your foot, stab the fingers that you use to pull it out, and then hurt for DAYS afterward. Think stepping on a lego, only it’s a stabby plant whose seedpods hide in crevices waiting to kill your feet and hands year-round.
-Foxtails and “stickers”
These will stick to everything you love and POKE THE FUCK OUT OF YOU INCESSANTLY UNTIL YOU BEG FOR FORGIVENESS FOR WHATEVER YOU DID TO DESERVE THIS PUNISHMENT. Don’t walk through grassy areas unless you’re wearing jeans and close-toed shoes. Even then, they may still poke you if they get a hold of your socks somehow (and they ALWAYS find a way).
-I don’t know what these are called so I call them “FUCK-YOU-plants”
They have a million reeny-tiny needles on their stems that will be the bane of your existence if you have to weed a garden here. Just don’t touch them. You aren’t even safe if you wear gardening gloves. NO ONE IS SAFE.
-Our thistles are spiny and look like they will MURDER YOU IN YOUR SLEEP
This is why I was always confused about why it says in Whinne the Pooh that Eeyore ate them. He was obviously eating the less-murderous variety.
Tumbleweeds. Wind garbage. Harmless, right?
THINK AGAIN. You think these things won’t kill you? They are ACTUALLY out to take over the WORLD. These fuckers can grow to be GIGANTIC and WILL NOT HESITATE to ABSOLUTELY TOTAL your car if you try to run over them. They will also bury houses and vehicles as they are allies with the wind. But hey, Albuquerque makes a cool giant snowman with them every winter, since we don’t usually have any actual snow to play with.
CACTUS. Our entire state is pretty much COVERED in cactus.
They are the most angry of all about the fact that there is no water. It is best not to argue with them or try to console them. In fact, stay a safe distance away and try not to make eye-contact. They’re pretty, but they are also murdery, so don’t be fooled by their seductive and colourful spring flowers. Some of them have delicious fruit, but the tingling sensation you feel after trying it may be due to the THOUSANDS OF TINY NEEDLES that were just deposited into your tongue. Many people plant prickly pears or chollas under their bedroom windows to deter burglars, because falling into one is literally one of the worst experiences you can imagine, shortly followed by the horrible experience you’ll have at the doctor’s office as they pluck cactus spines out of your bare bottom for forty five minutes while you bemoan every single life-choice you’ve ever made.
Also, there are often little tiny cacti with GIANT SPINES just chilling under pine trees and such, so watch where you step.
Anyway, let’s stop talking about the scary murdery stuff and start talking about the fun stuff!
New Mexico has a very chile-centric culture. New Mexicans joke that we put chile on EVERYTHING, and we’re actually not wrong. We put chile on our pizza, we put it in our brownies and cakes…we got chile chocolate, chile chips, chile candy, chile cornbread, chile WINE, chile COFFEE, and CHILE PEANUT BRITTLE (which is SO GOOD I would probably actually kill a man for it. Or I’d let the cacti do it and feign non-involvement).
If you are dining at a New Mexican restaurant, you may hear the words “Red, Green, or Christmas?” ass-smack in the middle of July. Don’t worry. They are not trying to sell the jolly holiday of winter to you as a side-dish with your meal. They want to know if you want red chile, green chile, or both (т.е; red + green = christmas). If you like it hot, I would suggest going with the green. Hatch chile is usually hot and delicious. If you’re on the fence, you can get it on the side, or go for the usually milder red chile (which stains like a MOTHERFUCKER do NOT eat it if you are clumsy like me and any part of your clothing is light-coloured! If you must eat it, wear BLACK), but if you’re feeling adventurous, go with both.
Here are a few must-try New Mexican dishes with chile in them (ok they pretty much ALL have chile in them, who am I kidding)
• Huevos rancheros: The New Mexican breakfast of CHAMPIONS.
You can get this at most restaurants if they advertise New Mexican food. I’d get it at Frontier if you’re gonna be in Albuquerque.
• The Frontier/Golden Pride breakfast burrito
The Frontier/Golden pride restaurants are a MUST-VISIT if you end up in Albuquerque. As for their burritos? They’ve been voted best in the city (if not the state) COUNTLESS times. Whether it’s a #9 or a #11, the tortillas are fresh, the chile is hot, and the burrito you get is DE-FUCKIN-LICIOUS.
• Posole and Tamales
These are usually a winter favourite served around Christmastime, but I think I speak for a lot of New Mexicans when I say that they are delicious no matter WHAT time of the year you’re enjoying them.
• Green Chile Rellenos
Because a deep-fried, cheese-stuffed green chile is ALWAYS a good idea.
• Green chile Pepperoni Pizza
You can ONLY get this in New Mexico, but you can get it literally ANYWHERE in the state. My favourite is served at a tiny pizzaria in Ruidoso called Cafe Rio, but I guess it’s ok at Dion’s too.
(Fun fact: most New Mexican chains/franchises also carry green chile. For example, New Mexican Subway carries green chile, and you can put it on literally ANY sandwich you want).
New Mexico has breathtaking views, a whole lot of must-see tourist attractions, and yes we are the state where Breaking Bad was filmed (there RV are tours for that). It’s a place with a lot to offer. It kinda sucks to live here, but it’s awesome to visit! I won’t go into detail on the sights since this post got a little long, but if you have a question specifically about the sights to see, I can definitely make a post about them! Let me know!
(And to all the New Mexicans seeing this post: feel free to add anything I might have missed)