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New Mexico

2015-04-06

For spring break I went to Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Los Alamos, New Mexico to visit family. Here are some pictures from New Mexico.

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Rock Climbing

My brother, father, and mother are avid rock climbers. They can climb all sorts of hard shit. I can't, but they don't mind setting up some relatively easy stuff. Cool! Also, my parents are in their sixties but will happily rock climb all day. How cool is that?

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Food

I love Mexican food. In Tokyo you can find lots of foreign food, but it's very hard to find passable Mexican food. I tried, and it took me three years to find a restaurant worth visiting twice: Junkadelic. In the five years since then, I found another decent place: Happy-Go-Lucky. Imagine that — Tokyo is a city of, what, thirteen million people, yet there are only a handful of decent Mexican restaurants. To my knowledge, anyhow. Surprisingly, there are more decent Mexican restaurants than there are decent hamburger shops. Right now I only know of one decent hamburger restaurant in Tokyo: Martiniburger. New Mexico is a good place for Mexican food, and I took advantage by eating as much of it as possible.

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Chaco Culture National Historical Park

It's a scenic three hour drive from Los Alamos to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Chaco has awesome thousand-year-old Native American ruins. It also has a giant cliff and you can walk up top, stroll around, and take panoramic photos if you like.

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For all the wild beauty of Chaco Canyon's high-desert landscape, its long winters, short growing seasons, and marginal rainfall create an unlikely place for a major center of ancestral Puebloan culture to take root and flourish. Yet this valley was the center of a thriving culture a thousand years ago. The monumental scale of its architecture, the complexity of its community life, the high level of its community social organization, and its far-reaching commerce created a cultural vision unlike any other seen before or since.

The cultural flowering of the Chacoan people began in the mid 800s and lasted more than 300 years. We can see it clearly in the grand scale of the architecture. Using masonry techniques unique for their time, they constructed massive stone buildings (Great Houses) of multiple stories containing hundreds of rooms much larger than any they had previously built. The buildings were planned from the start, in contrast to the usual practiced of adding rooms to existing structures as needed. Constructions on some of these buildings spanned decades and even centuries. Although each is unique, all great houses share architectural features that make them recognizable as Chacoan.

The Center of Chacoan Culture. National Park Service. 2015-04-05.

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Hiking

On my last full day in the country I went hiking. George dropped me off ten miles north of town and I walked back. Later, we had a cheeseburger and nachos. It was a satisfying day.