Do you know the way to Santa Fe?*

Today, I left Albuquerque for Santa Fe. I traveled on the Rail Runner, a commuter train between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, for the quite inexpensive price for seniors of $3!

I’m already settled into the International Hostel in Santa Fe. Scare stories about this particular hostel and its “eccentricities” have so far not panned out at all.

In just one afternoon, I’ve met the following fun folks:

— a lovely older woman from Bryan-College Station who works at Texas A&M, here for a buddhist ceremony (staying in my same dorm room of, so far, 4 people);
— a whole class of college kids and their teacher/chaperones here for a semester to learn all about the high desert area and local arts;
— hostel staff all quite nice; and
— a young French boy who’d been at the Albuquerque Route 66 hostel traveled on the same train to Sante Fe today; we linked up for the #2 city bus ride to the Santa Fe Internaitonal Hostel (having separately learned how to get to the hostel by which bus).

I took a long nap upon arrival. I was up most of the night before trying to “map” out and arrange the next parts of traveling.

By 5 a.m., I just said “what the heck” and decided to stay up all night since I had to take the Rail Runner at 9:30 a.m. or wait on a late afternoon schedule.

This afternoon, it rained in Santa Fe, complete with a bit of thunder! It was so nice to hear the rain that I went outside for a bit to experience the ozone-laden air, cool winds, and big-splat raindrops.

I napped a few hours and, afterwards, went to make some tea in the huge communal kitchen. Some of the college kids were already there making supper for their whole group.

The kitchen is supplied with cast-offs from a local Whole Foods and other places. There’s a whole bank of glass-doored refrigerated cooler units similar to those you’d see along the walls in any 7-11 Store. The coolers are filled with milk, soy, produce, eggs, drinks, and all manner of strange health foody things. Shelves are stocked with dry goods. Plenty of bakery breads, bagels, etc., etc. Definitely not going to starve here! ; )

Partly because this hostel is bigger, and the hostel clientele is more numerous, it’s also not quite as “sanitary,” though everyone is expected to clean up after themselves as in most hostels.

One thing I objected to is that heir kitchen garbage cans are lined with plastic, but without lids, and the kitchen doors are left wide open to the outside. It invites flies in. Not good.

A staff person said the garbage lids just got broken and/or too grungy. That seemed like a poor excuse. I wiped the long wooden prep table and other areas to keep them clean to help out a little.

Some younger kids left things out like open bags of carrots and other food, also attracting flies, so I put them back in the coolers.

Everyone is expected to do specific chores in the mornings. You get to choose what you’ll do.

I think there are free van rides from Santa Fe up to Taos. I’m not sure yet. I paid to stay two nights here. I might decide to stay an extra night, I might do “Couch Surfing” (the name of the organization). I signed up for this and contacted several people and heard back from one so far. This would also give Carole a chance to recover from her own travels. She’s supposed to be back in Taos Wednesday, I think.

It’s so nice to be at the even greater elevation (around 7,000 feet). It is cooler yet than Albuquerque and feels so refreshing to this parched Texa– as you could imagine if you’d experienced this super-hot Texas summer!

After a nap, I sat outside the kitchen area in a “lawn chair” on the parking lot “courtyard,” drank tea, ate a simple supper of green peas and yoghurt, and felt the cool wind on my face.

There are two campers in the parking area which is also a kind of courtyard (and there’s another, more private courtyard to the side). More exploring tomorrow.

There’s also a walking trail that runs parallel to, but well away from, the main road out front. It’s a way to avoid all the traffic and take a pleasant 2-mile stroll to the Plaza or main square in downtown Santa Fe (town center). There’s also the #2 bus if you don’t feel like walking. And at least one bike to “borrow” from the hostel.

That’s all for tomorrow. More just resting this evening–doing a crossword puzzle, drinking tea, eating some chocolate, and reading some local magazines and brochures about activities, trails, museums, etc.

No dirth of things to do!

The bunk beds are hard, flat beds. The ones in Albuquerque weren’t quite hard enough for me, thought I found a good enough one. Those were also covered them with an awful plastic lining that made the sheets slip. Here, the lining is another cotton sheet.

A few minor things to put up with at hostels–in Albuquerque, there weren’t enough plugs in the dorm rooms. Here, there aren’t enough lamps for reading. I’m having to use one lamp set down temporarily from a desk onto the floor between the two beds.

It’s been fun taking pictures along the way and from the train today.

I was a little worried about disturbing the buddhist monks’ sand painting ceremony at UNM with picture-taking. But other people were taking photos from their phones and small cameras. The official prohibition was not using flash cameras.

Today, the train rode through a section of Indian lands. Taking photos was prohibited for the duration of those miles. I’ve found it’s often good to ask before taking a photo as well.

*”Do You Know the Way to San Jose” is a popular song written for Dionne Warwick by Burt Bacharach (music) and Hal David (lyrics) for which she won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

The title lyrics are also referred to in a line of “Santa Fe”, a song from the Jonathan Larson musical Rent.


About jillscherb7

Retired intercultural educator & speech/English faculty; traveller to China, Europe-France, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Mexico (who's lived in China & Bulgaria); lover of books, poetry, film, narratives, music & art; sometime book reviewer; and Austinite (Texas, U.S.A.)
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2 Responses to Do you know the way to Santa Fe?*

  1. Leslie Hughes says:

    I also found out the no picture taking thing the hard way in France. The French people do not want to accidentally end up in any tourists photos. : )

  2. Joe Ontiveros says:

    Love Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Taos. Stayed in the Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos hostels. The Taos hostel was just OK the others were fun. Did the train thing too. Have fun.

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