Archive for the ‘New Mexico’ Category

They say chili, I say chile (I swear!)

November 15, 2011

Green chile peppers roasting

Update: So apparently there’s a big debate about this east vs. west and the Associated Press stylebook says “chili.” But food publications use chile and so does anyone west of Missouri. So I guess we’re both right. But since I’m writing about New Mexico, I’m writing chile!

ARGH!!!!!!!!! So I wrote this story for the Boston Globe about New Mexico chiles. Green or red? Yep, that’s the Official State Question. And I even pointed out how New Mexico barely recognizes the concept of East Coast “chili” stew. And I talked about the differences between chili and chile. The  peppers are chiles. The dishes they make are chile dishes. The class I took at the Santa Fe School of Cooking was about chiles. The photos in the paper are of chiles. Unfortunately, from what I can tell, and I couldn’t even see the whole story because of the paywall, the story has “chili” every place it should be “chile.” The text is wrong. The headline is wrong. The captions are wrong. First, I let the copy desk know, and they informed the online folks. Then I RAN to my computer to make sure I’d used the correct spelling in text and captions in the version I sent in. I had.  From what I can tell, it’s all been fixed online, but the printed version is out. And it’s wrong. And, wow, do I feel like an igit.

Am I mad at the Globe? Well, no. I used to work on that copy desk. I know how difficult — and thankless, too — the work can be.  And mistakes happen. And, guess what? An editor called me last night with a question on that story. I’d made a bonehead mistake, and she saved me from myself. So, no, I’m not mad. But I’m sure not happy! This is a pretty bad mistake, but the good thing is that it didn’t hurt anyone or damage their reputation. Well, other than the Globe’s and mine, but that’s the newspaper biz.

Onward and upward. I’m going to go chili, er chile, I mean, CHILL OUT!

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Starry, starry nights amid Indian culture in NM

November 1, 2011

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is in a remote region of New Mexico

We’ve been home from our eight days in northern New Mexico for a month now and I have two strongly lingering images – our meals and our night of camping at Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

I’ve already written my piece on chile peppers, with a recipe, for the Boston Globe food section (to be published soonish), but could not sell anyone on the idea of a story on Chaco. Which is crazy! But it was just as well because that meant I could enjoy myself instead of run around interviewing people and taking notes about everything I saw.

Instead, I inhaled it all in slowly – the history, the breathtaking terrain,  the up-close petroglyphs, the unbelievably intact Indian ruins and, oooohhhhh, those dark star-saturated skies.

See the blue dot straight ahead, near the canyon wall? That's where we camped!

Thanks to Southwest Airlines’  humane luggage policy, we each got two bags for free, so used our extras to stash camping gear for our one night at the park, at Lina’s urging. (Thank you, my ever-adventurous mate!)

We loved almost every minute of our 20-hour blitz. We arrived midafternoon, enjoying the minor thrill of the eight-mile-long dirt road that leads to the park. (Take the north entrance if you don’t want to get stuck.) First we picked out at campsite in the tent-only area, amid boulders and backing up against a cliff. Heaven!!

Pueblo Bonito is famous for many things, including its intact walls and doorways

Next we high-tailed it to 2 p.m. tour of Pueblo Bonito, a Native American “great house” that was lived in from the mid 800s to the 1200s. It once towered four stories high, with more than 500 rooms and 40 kivas and is one of the most excavated and studied sites in North America, as well as one of the most intact. Although our guide went way over the scheduled time, he was fantastic and brought the history alive, and the archeology history was as interesting as the Indian history.

We toured a few other sites and then reached the petroglyphs just as the late afternoon sun was spotlighting them. They were the most intact and closest I’ve ever seen!

Up close and personal with petroglyphs

We had just a little time to set up camp and share a beer before we zipped over to the visitor’s center for what we thought would be the dark-sky talk and a chance to look through the telescopes. Chaco is the only national park with its own observatory. Well damned if the astronomers weren’t at a conference – um, thanks for letting us know? A ranger gave an interesting presentation on the Civilian Conservation Corps’ involvement in the park in the 1930s and ‘40s, but we were feeling very pouty and whiny about the whole star thing. Until….

We returned to the campsite around 8 p.m. and the sky seemed to go from dusk to black within minutes. I looked up and – WAM, BAM, LOOK AT THOSE STARS, MA’M! I told Lina, who needs astronomers? Of course I would have liked a walk-through of the skies, but wowie, zowie, they were amazing — Milky Way, of course, and shooting stars and dancing constellations. We each laid down on a bench of the picnic table, wrapped up in our blankets, and watched in awe.

Lina's "just one more," Kin Klatso great house

That night we heard the eeriest sound. The only reason I knew it was coyotes is because a ranger had warned me. Wow.

After visiting a few more ruins in the morning (“Just one more” is Lina’s motto in life), we were back on the long dirt road, headed back to the big city.

In New Mexico, sights and heights

March 19, 2008

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published March 16, 2008, in the Boston Globe)

From Di’s eyes: If you’ve never been to New Mexico, truly a “land of enchantment,” do everything this foursome did. You will not be disappointed! If you have only a few days at least make the drive from Santa Fe to Taos. The scenery is some of the most stunning on this planet.

WHO: John and Carol Carver of Winthrop, Mass., and Paul and Nancy Camposano of Naples, Fla.

WHERE: New Mexico.

WHEN: Two weeks in October.

Foursome did six hikes in two weeks

Foursome did six hikes in two weeks (Click to ENLARGE)

WHY: “We love hiking, and we love mountains, and it’s one of the few states we hadn’t been,” John Carver said. He and Paul Camposano grew up together in Watertown, Mass., and the couples have been traveling together since the 1980s.

THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE: Through Villa Rentals by Owner, they stayed in an adobe home near bustling Santa Fe plaza. “We were also within jumping-off distance of many mountains,” Carver said. “In the course of two weeks, we did about six hikes, and when we didn’t hike, we went to tourist attractions. And every day you breathe beautiful air.”

John Carver and Nancy Camposano sampling New Mexican cuisine

URBAN ADVENTURES: Friends in Santa Fe gave the group a walking tour, while the women, both runners, also explored the area while getting a workout. “Canyon Road is where all the galleries are. You can browse, but keep your checkbook in your pocket,” Carver said. “Santa Fe has a farmer’s market on Saturday and Tuesday, and you can smell the roasted chili peppers a mile away.” A favorite spot to eat was the Shed. “They have the usual spicy foods, with a lot of fried beans and rice. We liked the food a lot, but it took a little bit to get used to it. Whenever they say, ‘green or red?’ they’re talking about chili peppers. If you want both, it’s ‘Christmas.’ ”

FEAST FOR THE EYES: A scenic 90-minute drive took them to Taos. “It’s surrounded by mountains. The main business is art. It has its own little plaza and all the T-shirt places you could imagine,” Carver said. “When we were there the aspen trees were turning yellow, and there was snow in the mountains. Take a blue sky, white-capped mountains, and yellow trees, and you’ve got a feast.” Then they drove the 84-mile Enchanted Circle loops through villages and mountains. “It’s as gorgeous as any place I’ve seen in the country.”

Carol Carver and Nancy Camposano at Puerto Indian Caves

Carol Carver and Nancy Camposano at Puerto Indian Caves

HIKING HEAVEN: The foursome went on several hikes at Bandelier National Monument park. “We hiked along Indian trails up into Indian ruins, where you have to climb ladders. On one, we climbed a half dozen ladders and up into caves where we could walk around.” Another hike was in Abiquiu, where artist Georgia O’Keeffe worked and lived. At the nearby Echo Amphitheater, they stopped for a holler. “It’s a natural chamber where if you yell, it yells back, and it’s beautifully painted by nature.”

The foursome on one of several hikes in New Mexico

The foursome on one of several hikes in New Mexico

POINT TAKEN: Along the Turquoise Trail, connecting the high country of Santa Fe with the desert of Albuquerque, they stopped at wineries and soaked up the scenery, especially at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. “It’s very rugged landscape, with these jagged formations. Some are as high as 30-story buildings. We took a hike there following a riverbed and then up to a bluff with a beautiful lookout.” In Albuquerque, they particularly enjoyed the adobe-styled University of New Mexico campus and the area’s highest point, Sandia Crest, at about 10,600 feet. “It was beautiful but chilly.”