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We’ve been here in Las Cruces for two weeks now, and I’ve learned a lot. And what I learn, you learn, that’s just the way it is.

First, humidity matters.

I knew that.

You knew that.

Now I really, really know that. I mean I know that experientially. And to know a thing I experientially is to KNOW a thing.  Shall  I continue? . . . . I figured you’d say that.

Anyways, the air is cleaner, and the sunlight brighter. Sunglasses are a must, and I’m about to invest in some of those old people  sunglasses that slip on over your regular glasses. But they do block out all that light. I now know why Georgia O’Keefe moved here–well Sante Fe/Taos actually. (There is an art museum devoted to her work in Sante Fe.)

It’s hot here, in the mid to high nineties this week, but you don’t sweat, so it doesn’t feel as hot. The mornings are delicious however, being cool and dry, perfect for long walks in the foothills. Did I mention that our house sits just 3 lots up from the foothills of the Organ Mountains? The house we haven’t yet got of course.

To the Northwest are the Doña Ana Mountains, which are more rounded yet an impressive range. There is also a singular mountain called Picachu I believe. There are also the Robledo’s, but I’m not sure which ones they are yet. Skies are either clear or with light clouds.

People here get positively apoplectic when it rains. Annual rainfall is 9 inches and that was not met last year, so they fairly dance when it does rain. Last winter it got very cold–like -9 for three days (virtually unheard of here) and it damaged a lot of the plants. Some of the plants died, and some of the palms are just now coming back.

As you may have heard, New Mexico has always been tied with reports of alien visitation. I’ve always viewed such reports with a healthy dose of skepticism as you might expect, but now I have real evidence.

Real evidence that they have visited. They may still be here. If the are, they patrol the borders.

There are no bugs here, none, NADA, nary an ant. Aliens eat bugs, that is a well-known fact. The enlarge their favorite food by injecting it with some alien growth factor and they got enormous. This was reported in a number of documentaries made in the1950’s in black and white, and starring a number of less-than-B-grade actors who attacked them with military hardware to indicate their danger.

Apparently the aliens ran out of the growth factor, and were reduced to eating all the bugs they could find locally. They have swept the state clean, and are catching all bugs trying to cross into the state. Better than an Orkin Man.

 Sand burrs travel. I bet you were unaware. They travel from Iowa to New Mexico in droves. Our proposed new back yard is full of them. They stick to your shoes. They call them something silly here, like lamb heads or something. But they are sand burrs. I wrote about this some time ago, but I’m way way to lazy to try to find that post.

We are headed off to University today to go to their museum.

We are finding our way around Las Cruces quite nicely. We feel pretty much old hat now. It is a sanely structured place, and that’s all I ask of a city.

People slip in and out of languages here with ease. The checkout clerk is busily engaged in Spanish with the woman in front of me, and then turns to me and smiles, “good morning, did you find everything?”  I’m at least able to pronounce things reasonably well, the Contrarian needs a sign around his neck advising that he is a deaf-mute. He wrecks the language. It is a horrid thing.

Did I mention that food is wild? There is New Mexican cuisine, there is Tex-Mex, there is Mexican, and there is Taco Bell, which is a bad dream created to let middle America think that it eats “Mexican”. For the most part neither New Mexican nor Mexican thinks that sour cream is a condiment that belongs with enchiladas or tacos.

And if anyone has any idea about a chip dip that obviously has tomatillos in it, and green chiles, and possibly pureed creamed corn, let me know. It was delicious. I cannot wait to get back in the kitchen and start experimenting. Also a sour cream dip with green a chiles.

The most basic theme question at restaurants is “red or green”? meaning red sauce or green. One is made solely from chiles and the other with tomatillos. One is not hotter than the other, it all depends on the chiles used. And ordering “christmas” means you want both.

There will be a quiz tomorrow.