Monthly Archives: December 2013

New Orleans — my 2008 trip

My 2008 trip to New Orleans was very interesting. I came back to Los Angeles feeling very refreshed physically, and with many wonderful memories of my trip. Please forgive me if the details of my trip are fuzzy as it is five years after the fact!

I flew to New Orleans to meet up with my friend Ravi. I had known him for years and we both enjoy travel and a glass of good wine! We arranged it so we would land at the New Orleans airport at about the same time. We arrived without incident and took a cab to our hotel downtown. We were both excited about this trip and ready for our first night’s activities.

A haunted tour
We took a haunted tour of New Orleans’ French Quarter — “Le Vieux Carre.” I had read a lot about the haunted buildings in New Orleans and was “dying” to see them first hand. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go into any of the buildings, but the stories were compelling.

Lesson #1 — don’t try to punch a ghost
There was one story about a man who went up the stairs, was confronted by another man. The first man swung a punch at the other man, but the punch went right through him and into the wall where he broke his hand. In another building, a man had cut his fiancee into pieces and put her in a box. I forget what he did about the stench. In another house, they did experiments on their slaves and cut off and reattached body parts. It was too gruesome. I like haunted attractions, but don’t like the gory stuff!

Dinner at a pub
We ate at Flanagan’s Irish Pub before our ghost tour since it was close. The food was excellent. Later we learned that the food is more authentic at local pubs and restaurants that “the locals” frequent. Tourists in New Orleans are mostly from the American South where they like bland cuisine!

The Cathedral
We visited the St. Louis Cathedral and Pirate’s Alley which is a block or so away from it. It is supposed to be haunted at night, but I didn’t see any ghosts!

The Ballroom!
There is a very dull building with a very interesting heritage. The Quadroon Ballroom is a block or two from the Cathedral. It was a place where French men could have a Placage (an arrangement to have a permanent mistress) with racially mixed women. As these marriages continued throughout the generations, children of women with African matrilineage became whiter and whiter and whiter, but still, legally were never recognized as white people. The children of women who had these placage arrangements went on to be mistresses of the next generation of wealthy French businessmen. Africans had chidren who were mulattos, who then in turn had children who were quadroons (one quarter black and three quarters white), and then octaroons, so on and so on. What a strange history! This practice was common in parts of France and the French Caribbean! In any case, the Quadroon Ballroom was a place where men could get to know these women and dance with them before figuring out if they wanted to have an arrangement with them! Not much happens in 2013 at the ballroom. I went inside and it was empty and quiet. Not even any ghosts!

Cafe du Monde
We had our first authentic New Orleans breakfast at Cafe du Monde. They have a very small menu that consists of coffee, beignets, juice, and a few other items. A beignet is one of the most famous New Orleans culinary item. It is sort of a square donut made using evaporated milk as one of the ingredients (very sweet) and powdered sugar on top. Not a good choice of food for someone on a diet! We had heard stories about how New Orleans was supposed to be enjoyed by having mocha with beignets while listening to jazz. Unfortunately, jazz is an outdated part of the local history and mocha was not available. But, we loved the beignets so much, that my buddy insisted on taking a cab to this place every day that we were in town!

The swamp tour
Unfortunately, I didn’t read the reviews. Since Katrina, the swamps have been decimated. The tour we took was along very straight channels carved into the infinite swamps by oil companies. We saw a few gators, and it was fun, but not what I had wanted. I wanted to see a dingy swamp with overhanging branches, and little cabins with people playing the banjo. After reading more, that type of scenery has been obliterated — banjos and all, but a Mississippi swamp tour approximates what I want to see a bit more than where we went in Cajun country. Despite my lament over choosing the wrong tour (because I didn’t read the reviews), I did learn that the local gators all are fluent in French, and will love you if you offer them some bread. You live and you learn!

Cuisine
We enjoyed some fine dining at a variety of local restaurants and ordered all types of dishes. I remember that the gumbo was very mild and herbal where we ate. Did they tone it down for the white tourists, or is gumbo really a mild dish? I was told that after the hurricane, the really good chefs packed up and went to Baton Rouge. That will be the scene of my next trip. I enjoyed pecan crusted oysters and local bourbon flavored bread pudding — the highlight of my trip!

A parade!
We saw a Mardi-Gras type parade. We learned that the locals can’t live without having a parade at least once a week. This was a small one. I’m not the parade type, but it is interesting to see an entire city so devoted to partying other than Vegas!

The local museum
We went to a museum of local history near Jackson Square. I don’t remember the name but it might have been The Cabildo. It was interesting to see the entire history of this fascinating city. It went from Native American rule to Spanish, French, and then American rule. The culture, cuisine and language has gone through a lot of evolution!

The Plantation
Although we Yankees tend to be very anti-slavery, seeing an actual plantation was fascinating and the tour was excellent. We saw the fields, and had a detailed view of the house. They brought slaves directly from Africa who were master carpenters. The building technology they used was straight from Ghana on the house we visited. Other plantations chose to get master rice planters straight from West Africa. In school we learn that random Africans were brought over, but the skill level of some of these slaves was top notch! I also learned that in local culture, the closer you know someone, the closer to your bedroom you bring them in a business transaction. The house we visited was a wine merchant’s home and many business deals were made in the bedroom! Later on, the lady of the house wanted to save money buying slaves, so she bought a handful of females and bred them over and over and over until she had an army of slaves that she didn’t have to pay a penny for. The irony is that the population of that town consists mainly of the descendants of those slaves who chose to stay. The sad part of the visit was due to my ability to senses spirits. There was a very sad West African spirit who just lingered there year after year, for presumably more than 150 years. Slavery was devastating for the slaves as we all know, but I sensed his misery face to face (although I couldn’t actually see it, I sensed it clearly).

The WW2 Museum
New Orleans is filled with museums. If I ever go back, I could visit two dozen more, but one of the best museums I have seen anywhere was the WW2 museum. We went there because my friend read the reviews — something I neglected to do. It took me hours, but I saw the entire unraveling of WW2 from beginning to end. There were so many audio exhibits, that you feel like you are back in time and actually in that war — perhaps in Normandie, Germany, or some other location! “Yavol…”

That was the end of our trip. We had a great time, and maybe we will go back to New Orleans, or maybe to another fascinating location!

Big Sur — it’s not what you think!

Big Sur is a quaint little seaside town in Central California. It is a place to relax and more! There are many art galleries, small hotels, beaches, and hills to explore. But, there are complications too.

Getting there!
The 1 is typically closed at night due to rock slides and danger. It is easier to close it than to pick up the remains of people who die by driving off the road off a cliff at night. It makes more sense to approach from the North near Monterey than from Cambria as a general rule. However, if you want to enjoy the entire coastline from top to bottom, and you have hours on your hands, then go from either direction. The road closure typically happens around 6pm, so start early if you want to approach from the South.

Hotels:

My favorite hotel is Deetjen’s.
It was started by an elderly (well, he might not have been elderly when he started it) Norweigian gentleman. The rooms are named, but not numbered. Parking is unpredictable and scattered. The cuisine is fantastic and if you come on the right night during the winter, they might have some live jazz. I’m not sure if they continued their Wednesday jazz tradition, but it was fun while I was there! I have a sleep disorder that causes me to sleep late while in Los Angeles, but at Deetjen’s the disorder reverses so I wake up too early! Deetjen’s has had superstars stay there over the years. But, recently it has gotten so popular, that I can’t get a room! Damn it!

One feature of Deetjen’s which is the most intriguing is that one of the dining rooms is “The Local’s Room.” It is where the locals eat. I joked with them and asked how long I would need to live there to become a local. The answer was at least thirty years. It’s one of those places. But, the locals are very nice, and they claim that they will like you if you have any artistic or musical talent! So, bring your violin!

Ventana Inn & Spa
If you have $350 per night to spend and like to be pampered, a drive up the hill from the main road will land you at Ventana Inn & Spa. Enjoy wine tasting, gourmet cuisine, and spa treatments. Don’t be surprised if you bump into a plethora of Beverly Hills types down there either!

Beaches
Yes, there are many breathtaking scenic views and beaches. But, finding them is not easy. You need to get exact directions from your hotel. The turn onto the dirt road will be after you see a “road turns left” yellow sign with an arrow. My favorite beach — I want to remember the name as having a “Pfeiffer” in it, but every landmark in Big Sur has a Pfeiffer in it. Pfeiffer State Beach might have been the name. It has been a few years now so my memory is foggy. It was beautiful in any case. There is this huge rock formation in the water and the waves crash through the huge four foot wide hole in this rock. People from around the world just sit for hours at this location.

Hiking
After some looking around, I found hiking, but the hiking trails down there are not well marked, and it is easy to get very badly lost. Ask your hotel for help. There is hiking, but Big Sur is not a place I recommend for hiking. Santa Cruz Mountains are a few hours North and have some of my favorite redwood hikes in the world — and with easy parking!

Scenic drives. There is really only one main road going through Big Sur. There are many scenic views from the road, and these views might be more pronounced at certain times in the day. Sunset, and the period slightly after sunset can be very inspiring times to have coastal views. After it gets too dark to see, the fun wears off, but you can have many breathtaking experiences around here!

Just being there
Sure it is fun to just drive around, see shops, eat, and socialize, but there is something special about Big Sur. Just being there is amazing. There is a magical nourishing feeling in the air. Time has an entirely new meaning in Big Sur. Time passes, but so smoothly, and without any pressure. It gets a little nippy at night, so it feels slightly like camping! Enjoying a few magical moments in Big Sur with your significant other might become memories to last a lifetime!

San Diego County — it is more than the zoo and Sea World!

If you are visiting San Diego from another metro, you have probably heard of Sea World, Legoland, The San Diego Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, and the beaches in San Diego. These are all wonderful places to visit. But, San Diego has a wealth of other travel possibilities for those with an open mind. If you do an initial trip to San Diego, you probably want to do everything on “The A list”. But, I find it relaxing and rejuvenating to visit San Diego regularly, so I have developed a repetoire of other things to do!

A drive in the hills
San Diego has many hills to drive around in. It is fun to just drive, and see the scenery. The wealthy town of Rancho Santa Fe is conveniently — well, actually inconveniently located in the hills east of Solana Beach which is North of Downtown San Diego. You can see beautiful hillscapes, multi-million dollar homes, and even have a nice meal up there. Don’t forget to purchase some racing grade gasoline for $10 per gallon at the top of the hill.

A drive to the mountains.
Don’t go in the winter or early spring. I made this mistake and got caught in a blizzard in March just miles from the Mexican border. The mountains near Julian have many resorts and places to go hiking. Not the best place to be in a horrific snow storm, but great in warmer weather. There is a place that makes home made pies near Julian too! There are other mountains. Palomar Mountain State Park is another great mountainous region in Northeastern San Diego County. There are many orange orchards on the roads near there. After returning home, I had dreams about oranges! Further South From Julian is Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

A walk through Old Town
I wrote another quick article on the salient features of Old Town San Diego. There are many small shops, eateries, ice cream places, Mexican restaurants, galleries, and more, not to mention the historical state park and the haunted Whaley House! Old Town is small, and parking is not always easy, but at least manageable. In two hours, you can extract a lot of enjoyment out of this quaint and wonderful neighborhood!

A hike at Torrey Pines
One of the most popular beach areas in San Diego is at Torrey Pines. This is about 30 minutes North of Downtown. Once again, parking is a nightmare, but you can pay $12 or $15 to park in the paid section. You can walk along the beach, or enjoy a hike up the hill and enjoy the rare species of trees called Torrey Pines. These trees are so wonderful, they named a chain of banks after them! There are many hiking trails to choose from with great views of the ocean.

A walk through Encinitas
Encinitas is a little quirky town where yoga is popular and unusual restaurants abound. It doesn’t take long to walk from one end to the other, but you can enjoy many small shops, restaurants and more. I enjoyed cardamom gelato at a small shop there called Bubby’s gelato, and cardamom ice cream is now my favorite flavor! East Village Asian Diner is another favorite of mine with great dumplings and stone pot monk bowls. There are many places to get smoothies and fresh juice. Don’t neglect sticking your head into Whole Foods either. On my most recent village to Encinitas, I sampled some Jamaican food at Jamroc 101. The beef patties were fantastic and the spicing was perfect!

Oceanside is a fun place!
They often have street fairs at Oceanside. Maybe I lucked out, but when I was just passing through, there was a street fair with fun people and lots of foods to try. You can visit the beach there as well.

Going down to the border
I drove around the border region just to do it. There is a little state park near the border. I drove down near there. The ground is a bit more muddy down there it seems. There is a hill on the border where I was driving, but as I drove further, I started seeing the tops of tall buildings on the other side of the border. I began to feel like I was in Tijuana. I got a very bad feeling. The drug war makes TJ a very dangerous place. I drove to the 5 where I could overlook the border crossing. I was very cautious not to make a wrong turn and end up in the wrong country! If you want to see a foreign country without technically being in it, a drive near the border can give you an experience to remember.

Botanical Gardens
This hidden and neglected gem is near Encinitas. It is not huge, and not anything to compare to the zoo, but if you want a nice walk in a beautiful garden, you will get an hour of pleasure. I’ll leave the rest to experience!

Infinite Golf Courses
I don’t play golf, but if you do, there are dozens of golf courses in this county. You will never run out of golf courses!

The food court at the La Jolla Mall?
Enjoy great shopping and a really unusual food court at the mall in La Jolla near the 805. The food court features Teriyaki much better than any other place I have been to. Korean hamburgers — bulgogee style? Amazing! You can get Indian, Indonesian, Thai, and many other types of food at this food court as well. If you have never been, visit, and enjoy all of the free samples that will be offered to you!

Downtown San Diego — what to do and what to expect!

I am a frequent visitor to the San Diego area. But, I mainly go to meditate and hike at the beach. I typically spend a lot of time in Encinitas, La Jolla, and Old Town, but not so much time downtown. Downtown San Diego is similar to other downtown areas in other metros. There are a higher concentration of French restaurants and steak houses than in other areas.

Dining and art downtown!
During my last visit to downtown San Diego about a year ago, I found that parking was not so easy to find unless you were willing to pay for it. I spent $10 to park for about two hours in a paid lot. I researched places to eat ahead of time. I browsed through the names of the restaurants. Nothing seemed to tempt me like the Tapas place. So, I went there. I enjoyed a tapas meal at Sevilla that consisted of many smaller dishes including a lamb empanada, meatballs, seafood tacos, wine and a few other dishes. They seem to have changed their menu, so the dishes I had no longer exist. But, as a general rule, Paella Valenciana is the most traditional dish that is a “must try”. After my enjoyable meal, I strolled down the street and enjoyed many very unusual art galleries. There is also wine tasting downtown. I didn’t do any, but if you plan ahead, you can research where to go and what to try!

Balboa Park: Museums, Gardens, Parks, and more!
San Diego has a wonderful part of town where there are parks, museums, and their world famous zoo. This is roughly a mile and a half North of the Financial District downtown. Parking here can be a nightmare, so come when nobody else wants to come or after they leave! If you just want to go for a nice two hour stroll, there are many choices for places to walk. You can walk around the gardens near the museums, and you can also go on the other side of the road to where there are jogging trails in the dirt.

Gardens
I am a huge fan of gardens, and enjoyed strolling through the rose gardens. There is also the Alcazar garden, Palm Canyon, Desert Gardens, Old Cactus Garden (behind the recital hall), the Japanese friendship garden, and Australian Garden, and a Lily Pond. These gardens are not aligned in an organized fashion, so you might have to walk around a bit to find them all. Good luck!

The “cultural area” near the United Nations Association has mini houses from different countries in the world. If you go at the prescribed time (sorry, I don’t know when that is), you can eat foods from those countries, see some art, and get other information. It is fun, but not a very thorough way to “see the world”.

Museums
First of all, the traditional Spanish architecture of the museums is so amazing, that people come from all over to savor its beauty. Marriages take place in the parks near the museum almost daily since it is so breathtaking there. You can enjoy the Air and Space museum, Automotive museum, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego History Center, Timken Museum of Art, The San Diego Museum of Art, Mingei International Museum, San Diego Art Institute, San Diego Natural History Museum, The Reuben H Fleet Science Center, San Diego Museum of Man, a variety of Theatres,

Cuisine
I enjoyed several very pleasant meals at Prado. They have a nice selection of wines by the glass, innovative desserts and many interesting dishes on the menu. The patio in the back is huge, and is a very relaxing place to have a meal with family, friends, or dining solo.

Spanish Village Art Center
No visit to Balboa park is complete without strolling through all the dozens of galleries at the Spanish Village Art Center! There are many galleries with Spanish themes, San Diego themes, as well as many that work with glass. Enjoy!

To sum it up, visiting downtown San Diego is fun, but parking is a nightmare. Sea World and the San Diego Zoo are famous, and you should visit both. But, there are many other parts of San Diego County worth visiting too, so don’t neglect the other magical activities you could do.

Old Town San Diego: The good, the bad & the paranormal

Old Town San Diego

I am a regular visitor to Old Town San Diego. It is conveniently located near the 5 and 8 freeways just north of Downtown San Diego. There is a lot to do in this tiny neighborhood. The irony is that people come there mainly for Mexican food on San Diego Ave. I visited several Mexican restaurants on that street, and it was far below average. However, there is some very interesting Mexican food tucked away near Congress & Twiggs at Rockin’ Baja! What to do?

(1) See the state park!
As a first time visitor, you should be sure to take a thorough tour of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. See how life was in the 1800’s in San Diego. See some tiny shops in the theme of that period as well. There is a historic court house, a stable, a trolley tour, leather depot, Mexican food, and more! Nearby Precidio Hills has great views, and nice Hacienda style architecture that you won’t want to miss.

(2) Ice cream to be inspired by…
Korky’s ice Cream & Coffee is a fun place to get ice cream. It is not your average place either. They seem to switch their flavors every so often which means that they are never boring! I remember a year ago they had Jackfruit Ice Cream, Birthday Cake Ice Cream, and even Avocado Ice Cream. During my last visit I sampled some Macadamia Ice Cream and saw that they had Bubble Gum Ice Cream — there’s something to chew on! The ice cream is great, but the styrofoam cups have got to go! Porcelein for adults — styrofoam for children!

(3) Lobster bites anyone?
Rockin’ Baja is my favorite Mexican Restaurant in Old Town. But, it is not on the main strip. It is near the parking lot at Congress & Twiggs. They have seafood buckets, tacos of all types, seafood burritos, and great drinks — but my favorite is lobster bites. You get several tempura style bites served with cabbage and a chipotle dipping sauce. I am not sure what their secret ingredient is, but these bites are crunchy, very juicy, flavorful, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they use a little tequila in the recipe.

(4) Shopping to learn from.
There are many little shops you can stick your head in. They mainly sell Mexican souvenirs. But, there is an interesting store on San Diego ave that sells Native American art. There is also a small African heritage mini-museum on Congress street. It has not been there more than a few months, but is an interesting way to spend a few minutes.

(5) Hotels
There are dozens of inexpensive hotels along the 8 freeway on Hotel Cicle North & South. But, if you have the budget, you might enjoy staying in old town instead. Old town is quaint, and is a happy, friendly place as well. There is La Quinta Inn, Courtyard San Diego Old Town near the 5. Then, a little bit closer to the parks there is Heritage Park Inn, Best Western Plus, and the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant. I have not stayed at any of these hotels yet, but the Best Western Plus catches my eye the most. they have nice traditional architecture and are the closest to the action.

(6) Got Haunt?
Old Town San Diego is one of the most haunted places in America! The historic Whaley House is on the top ten list for “real” haunted houses in California and high on the list nationwide. You can purchase tickets next door and take a guided tour of this house that has a forboding past! One and a half blocks east there is a haunted graveyard as well. Many companies give ghost tours of Old Town, and I recommend taking one if you have the time. I did 16 years ago, and still remember bits and pieces of the tour!

I was sitting in the courthouse of the Whaley House during my recent tour less than a year ago. The couple in front of me wanted me to take a picture of them using their hand-held. I did, and there was a huge orb that distorted their face. How bizarre. I didn’t see anything with my naked eyes, but the camera caught all types of paranormal activity. I wouldn’t call this place “creepy”, but it is filled with spirits! There are at least seven spirits that seem to be residing at this location. Mostly family members of the deceased that used to live there.

Mr. Whaley’s ghost was very friendly with me. I never actually witnessed anything, but two blocks down the road from his house, after the tour, I smelled his distinctive cigar smoke which is his trademark! Then, I discussed his ghost with my psychic. I asked if the cigar smoke was really from that ghost. Then, immediately after we both smelled the cigar smoke. I recently walked by the house a few days ago, and today in my car, I smelled very thick cigar smoke once, and then two minutes later again. According to the tour guide, when Mr. Whaley wants to say hello, you will feel a presence and smell his tell-tale cigar smoke! Casper is not the only friendly ghost around I guess!

(7) End it all with a glass of Cabernet!
There is a very pleasant wine bar on Congress just east of Twiggs. They have a very long list of wines by the glass, and it is a pleasant place to just hang out and spend an hour.

(8) Other restaurants to note
I am a fan of the Latin restaurant (Berta’s) as well as the Old Town Mining Company — both conveniently located near Rockin’ Baja near Congress and Twiggs. Enjoy unusual menus, pleasant service, and some nice artwork too at Berta’s

The Starbucks can at Santa Fe

The Starbucks can at Santa Fe

Every month I try to go on a short trip and go somewhere. When I am adventurous, I go a little farther than normal. I love New Mexico and have been there many times. If I had it my way, I would visit there four times a year. But, the fourteen hour drive is nothing to be taken lightly.

Carlsbad Caverns
I wanted to see Carlsbad Caverns. I had never been there before, but had read a lot about it. I have been to many caves in different parts of California and Oregon, but Carlsbad Caverns is the best cave system in the Western part of the United States. There is another top notch cavern network in Western Virginia I believe as well.

The hotel & the spirit
I stayed at a Best Western if my memory serves me correctly. This all happened around 2006 or 2007 so it is a distant memory. While going to bed, I noticed a presence. I knew a spirit was there. Not a bad spirit, but one who liked to linger. It is hard to go to sleep when you are being watched. I was slightly upset and didn’t know what to do. Should I call Ghostbusters? I turned the light on in hopes that the spirit would go away. I had to get up early for my cave tour the next day. I don’t know what the spirit did, but I felt a little better with a light on. Spirits don’t like hanging around well lit places as a rule.

Waking up
So, the next day I had to wake up really early. I got up on time — around 7am or so. I bathed, packed my car, checked out, and then drove to the appointed meet. It was in the middle of nowhere. It was about 15 miles from the main entrance of the cave which is well marked. I was the first person to make it and park. There were picnic tables, so I just hung out. Finally, the small group started arriving one by one. Our leader made sure we all had flashlights all ready. I had backup flashlights too, because I am a prepared camper. We followed our guide down a half mile trail going up and down small rock encrusted hills to the entrance of the cave.

The cave tour
We went in the cave. There was a thick layer of bat feces that had accumulated over hundreds of years. It got to be several feet thick in some places. Bats made this place their home, but were not a problem during the morning. There was a designated path with occassional stairways going down this huge room in the cave. This was no ordinary cave room. It was over 1000 feet long and 200 or more feet across. Down and down we went. It is such an unusual environment and really changes your perspective. After twenty minutes it flattened out and we went through all types of rooms and channels. There was no more bat life once we got to that point.

The lost ranger
Our guide told me how one ranger got lost in the cave when his lantern went out and had to use his cell phone for light to get out of there. He had the cave almost memorized, but there are so many twists and turns, that even if you know the landmarks, it is still very difficult. He had one of us lead the pack to see if he could get us out of that cave without guidance. The guy in front did a fairly good job. There were all types of recognizable shapes and distinguishing marks in the cave. I remember that one rock had some white markings on it for some reason.

Lights out!
It is a constant 57 degrees in almost all caves throughout the world. Bring a jacket or a sweater. You don’t notice how chilly it is until you stop moving. Almost all cave tours include a lights out session. It is pitch black. Your eyes do not adjust. It is just plain blackness. We experienced lights out for a few minutes. It is a different world down there. You would just die slowly and quietly if you got stuck in a cave without light.

Driving through Texas
The cave tour came to an end. We left, and I decided to drive a few miles South into Texas. There was a very politely driven silver Dodge pick up truck behind me. The minute we crossed the Texas line he started tail gaiting me as if to say, “You’re in Texas now boy!” Then, he passed me. I visited Guadalupe National Park for a few minutes just to see what it was. I didn’t have time for a thorough investigation. It was very rocky and dry with spectacular views of patchy colored flat ground for hundreds of miles in any direction. There is a particular look that the ground has in West Texas. It is littered with black leafless bushes that look dead. It is a harsh environment, and merely staying alive seems like a challenge. I drove through the flat terrain. There were mountains in the distance. Many were unusually shaped pointy rock mountains shaped like triangles. I stopped at a cafe that had to import its water from El Paso. Each flush cost them 64 cents according to the sign, so I felt guilty and ordered some food after I went to the bathroom. I drove to El Paso after that. Lots of monster trucks tailgated me there. Maybe they are bigots and didn’t like my California plates on my Toyota. Who knows? El Paso is one of the safest cities in the U.S., but it has a very disturbing vibe. You see those typical El Paso (taco bell) type arches everywhere in the Mexican style architecture. 80% of the population there is Hispanic by the way. I drove a little further and saw lots of border guards with pick up trucks keeping an eye on the river to make sure nobody swam across.

Welcome to New Mexico!
It was a relief to see the Welcome to New Mexico sign in the distance. West Texas is a harsh and uninviting environment. New Mexico is a friendly land of enchantment, mystery and magic. I drove straight up the 25 all the way to Santa Fe. I stayed at a Comfort Inn. Nothing was unusual about this hotel. I watched television and went to bed.

Whoosh
After I went to bed, I heard this loud “Whoosh” sound. I looked in the bathroom. I opened my door to look outside, but there was nobody out there. It sounded like a door had bee quickly shut. But, no door had actually moved. It was very mysterious and peculiar. I shrugged my shoulders and went to bed. The next morning I woke up and it was time for my customary Starbucks double shot. There was a horizontal slit in the can and half of the liquid was missing, yet there was no mess either. Bizarre. The spirit who hovered above me back in Carlsbad had followed me all the way up here. He cut a slit in that can to make his presence known. I talked to my psychic about that incident. She said that spirit was very interested in me. He was a Native American who lived in the 1800’s. He was strangled to death by another Native guy for making trouble. The spirit was fascinated by me because I liked to travel all over the place. When he was alive, he apparently traveled by horse all over the place too.