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.
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.
Golf carts are standard equipment at most courses. They speed up play,bring revenue to the course, make the course more accessible.
This one is parked by the Paradise Hills Clubhouse while it’s owner-operator fills up with hot dogs and cold beer before tackling the back nine.
This chariot would have been the cat’s meow in San Pedro Town, Belize where golf carts are a preferred, and much used, mode of transportation.
These golfers are also obsessed, ostentatious Denver Bronco fans.
Bronco football hasn’t been up to par the last few years but they will turn it around if they can find another Elway type quarterback who can throw the football with accuracy,the entire length of the field, and shake off hard charging linebackers with mayhem on their minds.
If people weren’t in such a hurry we could all drive golf carts, save gas and a few lives, and let everyone know what our favorite NFL team is.
Golf, as invented in the Scottish countryside, used sticks and a ball.
Those old guys hit for a distant hole dug in the ground and added traps and water and hazards to make the game even harder than it is.They created a rule book and came up with tournaments and prizes to keep competition interesting and playing the game seem more noble than it actually is. Hitting a small ball with a stick with a club head, and getting it to go where you want it to, is a devilishly difficult skill.
Frisbee golf, as invented in our time, has recently become popular. There is a frisbee golf course around this Fountain Hills Lake and it features eighteen designated holes, some par three, par four, and par five. There are no traps but the goal is the same – get the ball around the course in the fewest amount of strokes, or throws.
These guys are practicing this morning for a Sunday tournament, and, by empty picnic benches, competitors are stretching, taking their frisbees out of Wal Mart tote bags and wiping them down with a clean rag.These two contestants tell me there are different sized frisbees for the different shots they have to make in a round. They let me try my hand and toss one of their frisbees at a close by basket they are using to practice for their ten o clock tournament.
I give the frisbee a toss and manage to land it inside the little upright basket.
There is room in this world for ” frisbee golf. ”
After a round of ” frisbee golf ” I expect everyone will easily be found at their ” nineteenth hole. ”
Drinking predates golf by thousands of years, and explaining why your score was so high is easier with a cold beer, chips and dip.
Whether it is real golf, or frisbee golf, GOLF is still a four letter word.
At night, when it is cool, Santo Domingo neighborhood people, in the Colonial District, congregate in front of the local mini market and watch sports on a big screen television, or sit outside on their balconies or front porches and visit over what happened to them during their day.
This group of grown men and women, on the corner, down from the LaPuerta Guesthouse, are watching an American basketball game on television this evening. Some grown men are on their cell phones, others are talking about something other than the game, the rest are watching equally grown men in under- shorts running up and down a court, tossing a ball into a basket, and getting paid millions.
Anything that gets people out of their house and visiting their neighbors can’t be all bad.
Sports and competition run deep within all cultures.
We all like to be entertained and mildly challenged.
When things get too serious and/or too hard, lots of us take our ball and go home.
Games of choice on the neighborhood streets seem to be dominoes and chess but I have also seen checkers and card games with money on the table.
This street corner game, in progress,even has an official scorekeeper who shouts out the score at the end of each game and visits his cell phone regularly. Some of us pedestrians stop to watch. This is likely an ongoing game between friends who have money and/or bragging rights involved.
The men don’t talk much. They slap their dominoes on the board when they make a play. When they shuffle the dominoes to start each new game in the series, it sounds like feet hitting the floor in a salsa dance.
It is quitting time, with darkness starting to move in, and the most conspicuous thing missing is rum.
When this tournament is over, the players and onlookers will go into the nearby colmado and take care of drinking business.
It doesn’t cost much to sit on this corner, as night falls, it gets cooler., and play dominoes. When one tournament is over, different players take seats at the table and start another. There is luck involved as well as skill. You can have good dominoes but it you don’t play them right they aren’t worth a damn
No one says anything about my picture taking, and, I wouldn’t expect them too.
These guys wives, and girlfriends, know where they are.
We follow our hiking trail early this morning ,before gnats wake up to bother us, both of us turning and twisting, pushing past granite boulders, cactus, and junipers to take ourselves further up a sandy, small arroyo up into a little canyon in the Sandia mountains.
It is Saturday and most hikers are still not out of bed yet.
Charlie and I follow our small arroyo up into the canyon and finally stop after a mile and catch our breath. This is as far as we are going today and gnats are are already diving into my ears and buzzing around deep into my ear canal..
On our way back down, moving more easily than going up,we meet a stranger playing with his miniature, battery powered ATV, a small Suburban that he runs up and over rocks and around obstacles, much to our delight. He holds the Suburban’s controls loosely in his hands, like a surgeon holding a scalpel, and he turns his body gently to match the direction his vehicle goes.
” There’s plenty of power with these guys, ” Rigo tells us as he works his controls. ” I can get parts on the internet. ”
” Nothing to them, ” Charlie adds, looking closer at the engine that is just a battery pack with a computer chip for brains.
” I belong to an off road club, ” Rigo volunteers. ” We are going to have a national competition here in a couple of weeks. ”
We admire his hobby and then Charlie and I continue our back to the parking lot and the last part of the hike back to Charlie’s house.
What catches my eye,further down the trail, is another enthusiast flying his drone.
Surveillance and weapons have become a bigger part of our future than I want to admit and the man flying this little baby doesn’t seem in full possession of his wits. Having watched the Jack Ryan series on Netflix has shown me drones in action, the next war weaponry to come to our neighborhoods.
This little hobbyist’s drone is so far up I can hear it but I can’t see it. It is still capable of watching me, filming my movements, even if it can’t eliminate me in a quick explosion.
This is how a rabbit must feel every day of its life.
Reaching the parking lot, I am glad to be alive and feel much healthier even if the world is losing it’s way much quicker than I am finding mine.
This morning, in the rough, I don’t look for my errant drive. One of our foursome’s little dog, Winston, was bit by a rattler and died on another course a few weeks ago. A golf ball,even a new one, is not worth coming face to face with a poisonous viper.
Winston 1 never barked while we were putting though he sometimes ran up to the cup and looked down inside it to see what we were all looking at, then gave us a funny look when he didn’t see anything.
We all miss Winston 1, but Gary has already found Winston 2, a little bigger than his predecessor, looking much the same, but with a different personality..
Winston 2 spends most of his time, on the golf course,sleeping in his carry cage and exploring only when Gary lets him out on a leash.There are plenty of predators on a golf course and some of them have two legs.