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25 December 2013

A Burqueña Listmas 2013

Samantha Anne Carrillo

I know it's been a while since I've written, dear reader. All apologies. I've been a busy, high desert honeybee: working as a freelance writer and full-time+ as managing & music editor at le Alibi, keeping up with the Carrillo canines and a husband (you know, Rudolfo, the backbone of TiL's present content creation engine).

So, I created a hashtagged slideshow of 30 photos I nabbed from my Instagram stream. And there are some shout-outs to be shouted out.

In order of appearance:

Free Art Friday Albuquerque
Samantha Glass (whose work soundtracks this slideshow)
El Sabor de Juarez
• Marrakech Kasbah Mediterranean Cuisine
100 Thousand Poets for Change
Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
The Tannex

Happy soon-to-be-2014, y'all. Keep watching the skies.

21 December 2013

Three Winter Trips Away From Here

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

One of the things I'd do in the eighties and nineties was to make sure not to be around Burque during the last week of the year. Places I went in the winter to avoid La Natividad in town included exotic locations in the United Kingdom and the Caribbean. But I had the best time in Mexico and made use of a variety of land routes and methods to check the place out. Sometimes I would drive and go as far as I could get, on a quest for an authentic holiday experience. Back then, that vaguely translated into looking for a party. The outcomes of all those trips varied from rousing to precarious. You can try going there if you like. After I got sick eating a cut of Argentinian beef in a seaside restaurant in Puerto Vallarta during the summer of 2001, I gave the country up for good. I heard it got dangerous after that, but has calmed down some these days. 

I took a short flight to Juarez on Boxing Day. Phil Collins was piping through all the headphones and it was one of those older jets, like a 727 or something. I grabbed my bags and walked over to the train station. I ended up on a commuter train to Chihuahua and stayed at a rundown hotel near downtown. The cabbie whistled and laughed when he dropped me off.

The next morning some dude was standing in the alley boiling ears of corn to sell later and I bought a hotdog wrapped in bacon from a street vendor. I found out from standing around the train station minding my own business that there was a train to the coast. It went through the mountains, and supposedly was an engineering wonder. It was cool alright, with a old fashioned observation car, but the electricity onboard was fucked up, so there was no hot food or lighted toilets for 12 hours.

On the other side of the mountains was a jagged and lush jungle with fruit trees and birds that were brightly festooned. The town of Los Mochis wasn't really memorable but there was a town further out where Chinese merchant ships docked and the sailors wandered drunkenly through town with red stars on their hats and hookers on their arms. I lost my glasses in the surf out by Topolobampo, but they mysteriously drifted back up and into my hands when the tide came back. I stayed at a hotel called the Santa Ana and ate scrambled eggs and corn tortillas in the restaurant next door.

Another time I drove a smashed up Datsun B210 down to the Sea of Cortes. I started out on Stanford Street and Lead Avenue. I took the freeway down to Las Cruces and crossed over in El Paso, headed straight for the mountains. This was back when you got a sticker for your front window when you made the border. About half an hour into the ride west I came to the conclusion that the sticker was a probably a good idea. The two lane road was twisty and the trucks coming the other way were constant. The sticky tag would probably survive a cascading trip down the mountain side, hooked to some window or its remnants.

Along the way there was a mining town all painted and lit up for Christmas with big colorful electric lights while the copper smelter down the road fumed and roared along though the night as we passed. A military patrol stopped the car in a town with a peculiar English name, but other than a brief and cautiously friendly question and answer session with ten heavily armed individuals on a dark road in a foreign country, and suicidal truckers pouring through the gates of hell and headed in the opposite direction I was driving, the ride was uneventful.

I checked into the Holiday Inn Hermosillo about one in the morning. They had a decent breakfast buffet with atole and everything, so I hung for a while and then headed for San Carlos. There was a Pemex station about half way.  After that the sea crept up and met the desert. I thought about how that scene might be what Mars looked like a million years ago, except without the half finished and long ago abandoned condos and occasional oyster shacks that dotted the horizon. Somehow I got sunburned on that trip and had to eat lobster, too.

Near the end of 1998 I rented a blue Dodge Neon in Chula Vista and decided to drive as far down the Pacific coast as a week would permit. Tijuana felt chaotic so I blew the place off after stopping at a pharmacy to pick up something to calm my gut. The pharmacist was friendly but kept wagging his tongue around a gap he had between his two front teeth. I stopped in Ensenda and got a stamp for my passport. There was a cruise ship parked in the harbor with lots of big sea birds swooping around the fancy boat. Passengers in white cotton disembarked and I put the car into second and zoomed south.

That night I stayed at a little ranch by the sea. It was off the main road, a crowded dusty thing crowded with wooden shacks and cinderblock businesses. They had been set up for continuous business; they were on the only way in and out of the peninsula. I got the name of the place from a Lonely Planet guide on Baja California. There were little huts made from stone and a lagoon with a couple of seals floating around in it.

Mostly the beaches on the west side were empty. I found a small dead whale walking around one day. There were a couple of hotels on the beach but they were empty. I wondered though one that was painted yellow and orange with buildings meant to resemble aztec temples. I finally ran into a bellhop. He had a thin mustache and was balding but just smiled and reached out to shake my hand when I asked about accommodations. I finally decided to stay at another hotel a few hundred meters further along the coast. The rooms were dark, cavernous, and air conditioned. The owners had a pet pig that walked around at night. Everything was painted pink and blue. There was a restaurant with decent enchiladas and a band that played tourist favorites like Jesusita en Chihuahua.

When the road got bad after a couple of days, I turned back. I stayed at a ridiculously baroque hotel in downtown Ensenada, but got another hankering for salt water and decided to cross the peninsula. There was a party town called San Felipe on the other side of the peninsula and I got there just in time for New Year's eve. I sat around in a bar looking at all the other humansm, ate flautas and washed them down with Tecate. The sea was really still, just ripples crossing its width, some boat shadows too. The moon was nearly full and was in the middle of the sky when 1999 was announced over the loudspeakers.

01 December 2013

Five Albuquerque Instances

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

I decided to assemble a collection of random memories about Albuquerque and put it down here, report fashion, for your reading pleasure. I have plenty of material. Maybe I'll do this a few times with some basic parameters, so it doesn't come off as tangential. Like tonight seems sort of long-legged and eighties style, except for one instance, if you happen to be concerned with topicality. I'll tell you though, sometime maybe I will unstring all this, make each paragraph into a different book like flowers coming out of the ground in springtime. But now it is just seeds and that is fine with me.

  • For a while I worked as a stagehand at Popejoy Hall, mostly before I was twenty. It was a helluva job and dangerous too. One of my duties was to climb up to the ceiling and drag around weights and pipes and scenery. The crew chief was huge guy who wore a denim vest over a variety of filthy heavy metal concert t-shirts. He chain-smoked Marlboro 100s and would yell, "You, up on the rail!" when he needed something from me. He hadn't combed his hair in ten years; his wife was named after a character on the Honeymooners. I think.
  • An automobile caught fire on the corner of Tulane and Coal one summer afternoon while I was trying to paint a picture of the apocalypse; staring at the Sandia Mountains for inspiration. A sky blue Dodge Colt rattled by and stalled at the curb. It was already smoking under the hood and the woman driving got out and started walking with a stiff gait, toward Nob Hill. Back then, a vicious Rhodesian ridgeback named Vincent lived on Tulane between Coal and Lead. As the driver of the burning compact rushed by, the dog leapt out into the street ready to bite.
  • During my freshman year at UNM the whole place was pretty much wide open. For instance, the basement of Castetter Hall was wrecked and abandoned but folks still went down there for the thrill, to make out, and to score broken lab equipment. The same with the labyrinth under the College of Fine Arts, dark and seemingly endless, with an occasional broken tuba or snare drum substituting for a distillation apparatus or busted autoclave.
  • I am sure as shit humans were living the Werner-Gilchrist whatever house as late as 1985, though media and historical reports seem reluctant to admit such. I lived three doors down the road that year. Whoever in hell was living in the dilapidated rancho  had a couple of late model chevys parked in the yard and a green house going that beat hell out of any other garden on that shabby road called after Cornell University. I'd hear the occupants playing the piano and carrying on late at night and wonder who they were. They did not come and go much.
  • I ambled in a very relaxed fashion around Johnson field twenty-three times while the three hippies I was with jogged and ran and threw themselves at the grass in great lithesome leaps, gamboling as they passed me again on that perimeter. It was just after dusk and the high intensity lighting array lent the action a dream-like quality that only dispersed after the outing, when the two women of the group began practicing astrology on guitars. I rose from the carpet and walked south toward the cemetery

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