Columbus Wuz Here Columbus Lighthouse, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

There is controversy whether this is a lighthouse and whether Columbus’s bones are really inside the not so small ornate iron box in the center of this ornate display.

Columbus found this island on the first of his four voyages to the New World. Interestingly enough, he never set foot on America’s soil but set up his family  comfortably in the Dominican Republic to give them a good life and claim to  lands he discovered for the King of Spain.

He was a visionary, as well as a businessman, and having audience with Kings and Queens is no easy task because, being important people, their time is worth more than ours. Mounting an expedition that was going to the ends of the world was a dangerous  enterprise.

This memorial is not really a lighthouse, and,not attractive. I’m guessing the great man would have rather remained in the Cathedral in Parque Colon, but, he had no choice. His bones couldn’t stand up and speak up for him.

The big things I learn today are that, when walking, things you see are much further to get to than they look. Whenever you get lost, call a taxi and pay a few bucks to get where you want to go so you don’t  spend your entire trip walking in  circles.

It seems odd to celebrate a man who discovered America, and odd I’m standing here taking a photo of what we are told is the explorer’s final resting place?

He and his beloved Santa Maria , right now, are most likely somewhere north, northeast of Mars navigating under celestial lights on dark dark seas with only a compass and telescope. He is doing in the next world what he did in this one.

His bones might be here, but he doesn’t need them for his new discoveries.

 

 

Getting Around Tour Bus, Santo Domingo

If I were on this tour bus I wouldn’t have been able to take this picture.

There are a myriad of ways to transport yourself on a vacation. This tour bus, as it goes by, shows faces inside glancing at me as the tour driver describes thIs area with a microphone in his hand. Inside a tour bus you can’t stop a moment, poke around, talk to someone, have a bite to eat, try to understand a sign in a foreign language. You are moving quickly and if you are thinking about your security system back home you miss a Presidential Palace, or the church where Columbus attended his son’s wedding, or a great cafe where locals eat.

You can’t know a place by listening to a driver tell you what you are passing after you have already passed it.

I’ll know this place like a tour guide before I leave and take some of it home in postcards and memories.

The tour bus passes me and I can hear the driver talking to the whole block on his microphone, his facts sounding garbled and out of sync.

His words sound, to me, like the clouds in your coffee.

They wouldn’t be words I would use to tell about this place.

 

Love Machine Squeeze the Handle

 

In the lobby of the County Line Barbecue, there is a special love machine for testing your love potentials.The machine is right inside the restaurant’s front door, and, as you wait for your table to open up, is hard to ignore.

This ” Love Machine ” costs a quarter for its diagnosis, and, for your quarter, you can see how you measure up on the love chart by putting your hand firmly around a special handle, squeezing firmly, and waiting for your diagnosis to shoot off like firecrackers, fireworks, or duds.

We humans like to measure. We hook up our cars to diagnostic apparatus, we use dip sticks to check oil and transmission fluids, we use IQ tests to measure intellectual ability, we use polls to decide who to elect to be our next President.

Whether this ‘Love” test is really accurate ,or scientific, is a different test.

Most of our science isn’t as true as we think it is, and, even when it is true, we often don’t believe what it tells us .Humans tend to be more superstitious than scientific. Wearing lucky socks when you watch your favorite team’s basketball game, for a championship, isn’t very rational.

Most of the stuff we should be measuring, we don’t have the instruments to measure anyway.

For those in love, people don’t need a machine to tell them how they feel.

A better sign of whether you are in love, or not, is to look at your credit card statement.

Be Happy – Stay Happy.

 

Lucky Chair Horseshoes for luck

Under the ” Home of the Big Rib ” rib, as you walk towards one of several back dining rooms at the County Line Barbecue, is a lucky chair.

We all have our favorite chairs. Yours might be an old recliner that you found on the sidewalk with a ‘ Take Me ” sign pinned to it like a donkey’s tail. It might be an ancient folding chair you drag out of your garage and open up on your front porch like folks did in the old days. Your favorite chair might have a hard back, torn cushions, scratched legs where your dog or cat wanted to get your attention.

My favorite “LUCKY’ chair, this evening, is made from horseshoes. I sit down in it to improve my luck as I listen to the ” Radiators ” slip into a blues tune in the bar.

Some artisan has collected these worn horseshoes and has welded them into a quirky,quite comfortable chair, and, as I sit ,and tap my right toe to the music, I feel my luck coming back in spades.

Barbecue, horseshoes, cattle, branding irons and the Old West go hand in hand and those old time cowboys sure didn’t live on just jerky, pitching horseshoes and playing poker.

You can’t tell me they didn’t fix themselves an occasional barbecue dinner in the middle of a long cattle drive across wild and hostile Indian country and blame Indians for the lost steer.

On reflection, if my new luck starts to weaken, me and this chair are going to have another therapy session.

When I come back next time, I’m going to try this chair again for a luck recharge, eat all the ribs I can, and ask for a sarsaparilla root beer.

Luck, these days, is hard to come by, and the Sandia Indian Pueblo Casino is just down the street.

 

Barbecue Blues County Line Barbecue

In the shadow of the Sandia Mountains, the County Line Barbecue is packed this Friday night. I am on the band’s e mail list, and got my invitation via e-mail. Judging from a plate of ribs on another patron’s plate, on the bar counter next to me, the barbeque doesn’t sound shabby either.

The music tonight comes from the  “Radiators”, and they sing and swing with an upright bass, mandolin, lead guitar and vocalist. They play blues, country, rock, and even do a bossa nova for folks in the audience still looking for the ” Girl From Ipanema.”

This restaurant is the home of ” The Big Rib” and a huge fake rib hangs on one restaurant wall with a big sign above it. The rib is way too big for anyone to eat, and, by itself, would feed a high school football team, if you could swallow the plastic.

I also like the real Texas longhorns on the walls, pictures of cowboys and horses, and acoustic guitars signed by musicians who have played here since it opened. In the men’s bathroom is a poster with pinups of the 50’s that is nostalgic for guys over seventy..There is an unusual horseshoe chair in a passageway to a back dining room, and, in the front entry of the restaurant, a  “Love Testing Machine” only costs a quarter to test the strength of your passion.

In the shadow of the Sandia’s, the County Line is the place to be on a Friday night,enjoying a Pabst Blue Ribbon, and listening to tight four part harmony and popular songs.

Live music is always a treat and good barbeque makes it sound even better.

Barbecue and blues go well together and even though their marriage has been tempestuous, they would take the ” Love Machine ” all the way to the Moon.

 

 

 

Albuquerque’s E scooters Albuquerque's newest transportation

Albuquerque has just introduced E-Scooters to the Downtown Civic Plaza, Nob Hill, Old Town, and, eventually, other well frequented locations in the city. These scooters are lined up across from the Albuquerque Museum of Art, chatting up a storm and telling scooter jokes.

Two ladies, I talk too, say the scooters are fun to ride but you need an App on your phone to use them. There are about 750 of them, to start, and a private company, Zagster, has exclusive rights to promote in our city.

The scooters are available from seven in the morning till seven in the evening, have tracking devices installed, go 15 miles per hour, and cost the operator fifty cents a minute, when riding. The rationale is to address climate change, provide other modes of transport the younger generation will like (18 and older), and encourage people to get out and eliminate traffic in high traffic areas.

One of the big concerns of the Albuquerque Police Department is people driving these scooters while intoxicated, something that has already happened.

One of my issues is grasping how large American bodies are going to balance on these small running boards while going fifteen miles per hour with hand brakes?

If the city was serious about climate change they would just make us walk in a transportation free zone.

Riding at your own risk, these days, has to be in all of our plans of the day.

 

Playing the National Anthem- Video LifeQuest Fundraiser Golf Tournament, Tanoan C.C., Albuquerque, 2019

The National Anthem is one of the most played songs in America. If you have played in school bands, military bands, marching bands, or are a musician who has performed at any sporting or public event, you have played the familiar melody since you were very young.

In America, individualism is worshiped, but so is big Government.

Most of us fall someplace different on the line that stretches from pure individualism towards the right end of the line to pure communism towards the left, in relation to how much government control of your life you want. It is no wonder that we shake our heads at each other, erroneously thinking we all fall on the same place on this  political line that crosses itself so often you don’t always know left from right. The tug of war between these opposing dreams describes our American dilemma.

After the National Anthem, some of us singing, the color guard marches off the putting green and we golfers all go to our assigned golf carts and roll out for a shotgun start to the golf tournament.

This golf tournament is a fundraiser for Lifequest, a group that mentors juveniles locked up in jail, believing that the Bible and good role models will keep juveniles from going back to jail after they serve their time and are released, often back into the same negative situation they were before they were incarcerated.

Regardless of where we are on any line, we all know mistakes are made and not every child has a home to come from, or a home to go too.

Listening to the National Anthem, I know where my battle line in the sand is drawn.

If politicians sons and daughters had to go fight in wars, we wouldn’t have so many of them.

 

 

 

Morning Walk Albuquerque's Embudo Canyon

Indian School is an east- west Albuquerque boulevard that ends at the Embudo Canyon Open Space at the far east side of the city..

The parking lot, at the roads end, is the beginning of a city Open Space area that moves into the Cibola National Forest Wilderness. The nature walks and trails, at the cities edge, open at seven each morning and close at seven each evening. If you are bold, you can hike back as far as you want into the wilderness and camp out under the stars.

This morning there are vehicles in the parking lot early, which is unusual. Along our hike, there are numerous Apache Plumes, cactus, mesquite, and juniper trees, a huge city deep water well enclosed by a chain link fence and government signs stating statutes that warn bad things happen to those who trespass.Wildlife has hidden itself but you see signs they are close by if you are observant.We can see Mount Taylor, tallest mountain in New Mexico, sixty miles away. A few hot air balloons are aloft..

There are other hikers out this morning, and, as we pass each other on the trail, we all say our hellos cheerfully. Nature lovers are glad to be out even if seeing humans is not what we come out for.

By the time we return to the parking lot,more parking spaces have opened up and the lot is almost empty.

You would think there would be more people hiking with a city of almost a million right below us.

Nature isn’t part of everyone’s vocabulary,but am pleased it is in my dictionary.

It is a bit funny that we put Open and Close times on the Wilderness.

Wilderness doesn’t run by our clock.

 

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