Apparently there are mountains in Albuquerque.
I caught a glimpse of them out a window whilst rapidly clip-clopping from one symposium to another.
(In case you hadn't guessed, the past few days have been busy.)
It's funny how every city looks identical when you fly in at night-- the same rows of orange lights. Yet you still peer frantically out the window with the hopes that you will get a glimpse of something a little more telling than those splattered lights. The taxi ride home from the airport is no more illuminating. It seems every plausible road from your arrival gate to your hotel is dotted with the same exits and billboards you see in every city.
I try to escape this sense of sameness as soon as possible. My usual tactic is to spend my first day merely wandering, armed with nothing but a map and a bottle of water. In this way, the city's idiosyncracies gradually reveal themselves, and it starts to feel less generic and more genuine.
Despite tucking into bed on my third night here, Albuquerque still feels generic. I know nothing about it except for its penchance for an oversaturation of peach and turquoise southwestern decor. And this feels wrong to me. Eating at restaurants and holding standard interpersonal interactions in such a place without having even a sense at its essence feels almost like an invasion of someone's personal space.
I'm not entirely sure I understand the purpose of flying thousand of miles away to sit in the same pastel printed chair that every convention centre has and to eat the same turkey sandwiches available at any restaurant and to sleep in the same double bed beneath some tacky but non-offensive wall art. Not that I don't enjoy a lot of the things I am learning about, or the people I am reconnecting with-- I do-- I just wish I didn't travel so far to feel like I could just as easily be 15 minutes away from home.