This is original. Bye Bye New Mexico. After four years at Ohio State, I transfered to NMSU for a year, trading Olentangy river for the Rio Grande. No comparison, Olentangy is way bigger. By May I'll be back in Ohio. I'm flying so I'm mailing most of my stuff, big, clunky boxes, finally got to use that Elvis stamp, awright. New Mexico State is the exact opposite of Ohio State, the stadium is an oval and the park in the middle of campus is called the Horseshoe. I'm an asian Indian, often get mistaken for a hispanic, first day this guy walks up and starts jabbering away, I say I don't know spanish, he says "I said, give me your wallet". Las Cruces is a beautiful town, up north of El "We will rob you" Paso and its mexican sister city accross the Rio Grande, Cuidad "We will rob you too" Juarez (OK, OK, guess what happened to us when we went down there. Twice.) The culture is amazingly different, real cowboys and American Indians and hispanics who have lived here for centuries. I asked a plaid shirted, stetson wearing, high-heel-booted student of mine what he did, he said he worked for Las Cruces Dairy, 30,000 cows. I asked him what exactly, he said he wrote software. The vehicle of choice is the pickup truck, State Law requires a minimum height times length ratio, so if its not a full sized, beer can encrusted, sixties Chevy but a small truck it has to have monster tires, with a little rope ladder hanging out the driver's side door, gun rack and "Gun Control means Being Able to Hit Your Target" bumper stickers. Mind you, this is just the chairperson of the Wildlife, Ecology and Environment department we're talking about here. One thing people from back east should never do, is order a bowl of chile. You'll get an incredulous look, a shrug and "Red or Green?". The local Wendy's has a tub of chopped jalapenos beside the ketchup, they'll put chili on your fries if you want. The ranking system runs from a 1 for the lowly green pepper, through a 1,000 for the jalapeno, upto 300,000 for these little things called habaneros. Put that on your pizza, Bobby Knight! The desert countryside is wonderful, Las Cruces sits in a little valley under the shade of the 9,000 foot Organ mountains, source of so many pickup "Named aftuh me pappy, wanna beer?" lines. You have to see them to believe them. All those pipe shaped spires (O reader, you have a dirty mind :-). The local scenic drive is called the Journada del Muerto. One must-see that is only an hour away is Whitesands National Monument, my friend from New York City had his nostrils full of sand before I could tell him it was gypsum. They say that it is a unique geographic formation, but he swears that there is one just like it in Columbia. One thing you learn in New "But its a dry heat" Mexico is to hate Texas. Most of NM voted for Bush in 88, 'cause of his "Read my lips, No new Texans" pledge. Unfortunately the state economy depends heavily on Texas, 20% coming from "Tourist Visa fees" charged at the state border. You can recognise the Texans easily enough, they're the 10-gallon hatted, cigar-chomping people who have reins on their skiis and yell "Yahoo!" as they crash into the pines at Taos or Sierra Blanca. And thats just the women. Shopkeepers will often ask for two pieces of ID even if they pay cash, just to see if they show a driver's license and a belt buckle. Belt buckles are big in the southwest, often made from an entire old fender. Lest you think there is no culture in New Mexico, you should drive up north to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, to see the magnificient galleries, pueblos and the Plazas. Its 225 miles up to Albuquerque, I once did it in under two hours, the cops pulled me over. "You need a car to be on the Interstate", said the first. "I am sorry officer, but I ate a habanero back in Las Cruces," I wheezed. "We know, Sir." he replied, "How do you think we caught you?." J. R.
(From the "Rest" of RHF)
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