I meant to blog something on the San Diego trip (week before last) before heading out again, but it didn't happen. Maybe those notes will get written up sometime, just as a personal memory entry.
Anyway, this week I'm in Albuquerque for a meeting Tuesday-Thursday, the annual get-together for the user group for the USGS groundwater database. San Diego was the meeting for the water-use user group--I'm crazy enough to try to sit on both groups. I'd first thought to come to ABQ on Saturday and have a couple of days for sightseeing, but the amount of travel I've got right now made that less attractive and I changed my flight reservation.
I flew in last night around dinner time, and met up with others from the user group at the airport (after returning my personal rental car) this afternoon at 3. Not much time in the middle, but it was lovely. With very little lead time I emailed idiotgrrl
to see if she might be available for a MiniLoisCon of sorts, or failing that, just offer some recommendations for half-day sightseeing that wouldn't stress my bum ankle. Indeed, she was available, and in the end chauffeured me around all morning.
We started out with breakfast (huevos rancheros) at the Frontier Restaurant
, right across from one of the main entrances to UNM. We made a quick swing by idiotgrrl
's house for me to meet the cats, but only Spot and Shadow were At Home--I'd so wanted to meet Dufus Claudius, too. However, both Pat and I were amazed that Shadow let me actually enter the doorway of the room he was in before deciding to leave by the cat window.
We then headed off to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
, which turned out to be a nice little museum with two primary exhibits--one on life through geologic time with emphasis on New Mexico's geologic history (and lots of dinosaurs), and a smaller exhibit on space exploration, again making the NM connections. They had a really great exhibit/art piece/don't know what to call it in the main lobby, a backlit piece that was a desert scene. What made it unique was the collection of polarized filters in a little holder for you to grab, then view the piece through a filter while rotating it. The scene went through several shifts as the light changed: the mountain lion in the foreground appeared, then showed in fossil form. An eagle flying over with a rattlesnake in its talons appeared and disappeared. Just a really neat idea, well executed.
We didn't do the planetarium show or the nearby exploratorium, but wandered through the gift shop and then sat and chatted in the little snack bar. It was nice that the museum let us both in for free on my Fernbank Museum
membership card, too. After that, Pat ran me back to my hotel by the scenic route, giving me a little more orientation to Albuquerque on the way.
After saying goodbye to Pat, I made a quick grocery store run before returning my car, then met up with 2 of the other user group members at the airport to get a ride back to the hotel. Another 3 members appeared while we chatted in the hotel lobby, and the group decided (surprise!) on Mexican/New Mexican cuisine for dinner, at Monroe's
. I had a bowl of Cream of Green Chile Chicken soup with a house-made flour tortilla--good, though the flour tortilla at the Frontier had Monroe's beat by a mile.
Meeting starts tomorrow, so any additional sight-seeing will have to be in the evening after work...