Today I discovered that the roadrunner is actually a real animal and not just a cartoon character. Apparently it’s a type of cuckoo that resides in these parts. Hence the local train service is called the Rail Runner. Some bright spark even came up with the idea of a beep beep noise to signify that the train doors are about to close. Rail Runner’s terminus is in Santa Fe, the state capital of New Mexico. The train ride takes you further up into the mountains, ending up at over 7000’. From the main plaza in Santa Fe you can be on the ski slopes within half an hour of driving.

Prior to boarding the train, a young lady asked me to keep an eye on her bike while she used the facilities at Albuquerque Station. We then got talking and it turned out that she’s also been travelling since June. I’ve forgotten her name but she was from the Bay Area and was riding around the United States on a push bike. Without wishing to sound patronising, travelling alone as a woman is not always straightforward so to do it lugging your gear around on a bike is pretty amazing. Naturally, with Santa Fe being a one hostel town we ended up staying in the same place.

The hostel in Santa Fe hostel was quite interesting. It’s quite unlike some of the chic modern establishments that have sprung up. This one is more of an old-school sort of place. I’d imagine that it’s not run much differently than hostels were back in the 1970s. To confirm a reservation you had to send an advance deposit by either cheque or money order. This wasn’t much use to me but at least they’re on Airbnb so at least I could get around this slightly archaic rule. Credit card payment was not possible. Extra was also charged for WiFi, something else that’s old hat nowadays. Oh and you also had to do jobs. Each day guest were required to pick a cleaning task to undertake. However to be fair though, the hostel was very reasonably priced. A private room here costs less than most dormitory bunk beds in the US.

In tonight’s bar of choice I was unfortunately sitting next to Geoff/Jeff, originally from Dallas but had moved up to Santa Fe for work purposes. One of the first things Geoff said to me was,“It’s fairly cosmopolitan down in Dallas. We have Newcastle Brown.” This is the first and possibly only time I’ve ever heard Newcastle Brown Ale used as a measure of sophistication. Geoff had a fair few pints of broon ale, each one accompanied by a chaser. To be fair though he finished off with a water so that he could sober up prior to driving home. That was sarcastic “to be fair,” just to make it clear! Geoff was also a proud Trump supporter as he liked to mention. Quite a lot too. He’s also a big Brexit fan as he didn’t think it was fair that Italy should be bailed out or UK jobs be stolen. I try not to engage with pub bores even though I really wanted to ask what Italy has be bailed out of and who did the bailing out. Instead I just said, “OK, Geoff.” It was also tempting to mention something about people from Texas coming up to New Mexico, stealing jobs and then drink driving around their streets. However Geoff was a big lad and I doubt he’d have been amused by the irony!

On a brighter note there was a Heineken promotion taking place in the bar. The ladies organising the event were more conservatively dressed than their Colombian Heineken counterparts from the other week. This time there was no stupid game to play, no spinning of a broken wheel, nor posing for photos. They simply asked if I like Heineken. I replied that for the purpose of the promotion if I say that I do, will I win some sort of prize? They said yes. I’m willing to say almost anything for a free beer!

The Rail Runner
Scenic New Mexico
Santa Fe sunset