Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Roswell New Mexico’s UFO Museum and Research Center.  Display modeled after rumored extraterrestrial visit.

You have to think if we’ve been visited by extraterrestrial life, it was like a zookeeper walking into the chimp enclosure: He looks around, takes some pictures, then leaves without interacting significantly with the environment. Meanwhile the chimps have no idea what the fuck just happened.

― J. Richard Singleton

Roswell is perhaps best known to it close proximity to “Area 51,” a top secret spot where at one point, crashed extraterrestrials were brought for secret study, or so the story goes.

While I do believe there’s a lot a hoopla and a lack of sufficient proof that Earth’s been invaded by extraterrestrials, it’s hard for me to believe we’re the most intelligent life out there. Given that, it makes sense to me that more advanced beings than us might be interested in checking us out or seeing what treasures earth could offer them. 

Some of what Roswell’s UFO museum displays is campy, like this movie poster.

While Alternative life’s provided plot grist for many a book or movie, there is a more serious side to the UFO Museum & Research Center. Per their literature
The International UFO Museum & Research Center at Roswell, New Mexico was organized to inform the public about what has come to be known as “The Roswell Incident.” 

Cartoon at UFO Museum and Research Center.
The majority of the museum are more  serious displays detailed audio and  visual conspiracy theory
-detail about the purported cover-up of a 1947 alien aircraft crash.

The Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the collection and preservation of materials and information in written, audio and visual formats that are related to the 1947 Roswell Incident and other unexplained phenomena related to UFO research. The Museum endeavors to be the leading information source in history, science and research about UFO events worldwide. The International UFO Museum’s constituents are committed to gathering and disbursing to all interested parties in the most qualified and up-to-date information available. 

This fun image at the UFO Museum playfully hints that 1947
isn’t the only time aliens visited earth.

In any case, the UFO Museum and Research Center only costs $5 for admission. It’s not big or fancy, but it’s still easy to spend an hour and a half or so to get more details in the form of a compelling argument that there was a government cover-up of an alien crash. 

Mural on the side of Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center building.

Besides, I like the idea my museum dollars support at group whose purpose is to neutrally evaluate reports on whether or not the earth gets visited from beyond.

While the reporting on “The Roswell Incident” portion of the museum is very well done, I would’ve liked to see the most credible incidents better outlined on a timeline and also on a map.

Any life-form advanced enough to travel light-years through interstellar space would have nothing to learn by probing the rectums of farmers in Kansas.
― Dan Brown

If you’re more cynical, and see aliens and nothing more than a ruse to rake in dollars, there’s plenty in Roswell to reinforce that view.

Our hotel, chosen on-line by price rather than this billboard.

Most businesses featured “the aliens” prominently in their graphics in Roswell New Mexico. This restaurant was no exception.

The notion of aliens wearing a sombrero and serape seemed particular comic to me. Roswell, New Mexico.

Given the prevalence of franchises and their normal dogged insistence of consistency in brand image, it was fun to see such a notable exception in Roswell, at Dunkin’ Donuts / Baskin Robbins. I did not see evidence of that at other chains, such as McDonald’s, next door.

Dunkin Donuts / Baskin Robbins, Roswell New Mexico. It’s different. Yay!

Aliens, aside, it was time for us to move on.

Throughout our trip, we passed many abandoned homes and businesses, the latter nearly always independent businesses. We wondered what happened, and mourn the loss. What does the future hold for these kinds of endeavors? How can we recover a sense of place when we see mostly the same businesses wherever we travel?
Ranch House Cafe was one of many quirky abandoned businesses in Vaughn, near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
There were a few motels still in business with rates as low as $38/night.
I was excited for Wayne to see Santa Fe, a place I visited many times before I met him. and he’d never been to. I love the clean, high desert plains air, (elevation is nearly 7200 feet above sea level), tinged with smoked mesquite and in fall, roasting chilis. The food, the art, the rich cultural mix of Pueblo Indian and Spanish draws visitors from around the world. 

We made our way to Santa Fe’s famed square, across from the Palace of Governor’s, where the local Pueblo Indians still set up shop on its sidewalk to sell their native, hand-crafted jewelry.

There was an antique car show.
I loved the period touches on the dashboard of this classic VW van at the square in Santa Fe

Antique cars are not what I normally associate with Santa Fe, but it was a fun diversion on a cold day when most of Santa Fe’s shops were closed for Sunday. That and with no home to furnish and limited space on the boat, I was not as interested in looking at acquiring much of anything.

This VW surf van was not the oldest or showiest in the car collection, but it was my favorite.
There was also a beautifully preserved “unsafe at any speed” Corvair, which brought back special memories for Wayne, but that’s his story to tell.

Flames were the most popular show motif, when collectors chose something other than solid colors.

Seeing a Saab with flames just struck me as funny.
Santa Fe and Albuquerque’s food inspired my cooking. Coyote Cafe’s thick tortilla soup is one of many Tex Mex recipes in my cooking repertoire. I once, pre 911 days, returned on the plane with a burlap sack full of Hatch green chiles picked up at farmer’s market that morning. I roasted them all at home that eve.

Many years ago, I followed my nose to a wildly popular cart at the edge of Santa Fe’s square where they doled out world-class carnitas for a pittance. That cart was a regular stop on my visits since then. It was a longshot to expect that cart to still be there, and, alas, it was not.

However, carts are much more popular now than they were then. There were three in the square amidst the antique car show, serving. The first cart’s scents were not sufficiently fragrant. 

Tamales! the red chile pork was good. The chicken green chile was bland, though
the Suarez family’s chili cheese tamales were my favorites when I was in California.
For me, tamales are the signature dish of Mexican cuisine, a gauge of whether its makers truly cut the muster. I’ve you’ve made them, you’ll know they are truly a labor of love. Besides, tamales are small, cheap and hot — the perfect hand food for a cold, leaden day. The scent of these and the crowd surrounding their booth sucked me in. That must’ve been the red chile pork, which I’d give a B, but the green chile chicken I’d rate C- for it blandness and texture. Ah well.

Balam’s was the most fragrant and the best food cart. I wish I’d waited… though it’s hard for me to resist trying tamales as the exceptional ones, which are few and far between, are truly sublime. Balam from Guatemala, was very pleasant to talk to and the complex seasonings in his lamb taco were worth every calorie. I would definitely seek him out if ever back in Santa Fe.

Balam offered six taco fillings to choose from and they all smelled delish!

Who could resist checking out a place with as incongruous a combination as Cashmere + Chocolate? Alas, as intriguing as all their merchandise was (including and intriguing selection of essential oil perfumes), only the chocolates fit my miniscule budget. 

Chocolates from Cashmere + Chocolate, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The flat brown one was chai and bland.
The blue was Earl Grey with a delicate floral essence. The red, a raspberry balsamic and
 the green pistachio caramel were recommended. My sister-in-law needs to tell me how they are.

Santa Fe passing through, on a cold, cloudy day is not as the same experience as my prior visits. I was sorry Wayne did not see the Santa Fe I remember from prior travels, though it did make it easier to stay on budget and move on. Despite this somewhat lackluster visit, I still hope to return someday.

Location Location
We arrived at our boat in Portland Oregon on Saturday afternoon, May 25th of Memorial Weekend. We are currently in the midst of boat triage and waiting to connect with our possessions, which were bussed from Space Coast Florida and sitting in Portland’s Greyhound depot.