1012 Central Avenue Southwest
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Marcus and I arrived in Albuquerque late in the afternoon. Checking into our hostel entailed a 20 minute welcome speech by the front desk clerk, a large bearded man named Tom. He was brimming with information about the city, the hostel and the merits of various local bars and which ones served stiffer pours. He delivered this information between curses at his computer and two fingered pecking at the keyboard. He abruptly ended the speech by opening the desk drawer and pulling out a pack of Kools which he went out onto the porch to smoke.
We went up to our room, through a hall that was icy cold from ac and into the sultry heat of the bedroom. Air conditioning was apparently reserved for the hallway only. We opened the windows to allow in the wind and any curious flying insects then went into downtown for dinner. After 8pm, they close off the main drag downtown, and large groups of teenagers and almost teenagers gather at the entrance of clubs and under the streetlights. As we walked after dinner, we realized the downtown was closed not for pedestrian enjoyment but to prevent cruising. The streets were flooded with flashy customized cars, trucks with spinning rims and candy colored beds, low riding corvettes and Cadillacs with suicide doors added on. The cars swam though the traffic like sharks, their drivers darting dark heads out the window to catcall. We walked down a street velvety in the night, sticky with the smell of garbage, to a 7-11 where a Luna moth lay placidly dying on the walkway and a woman withered by meth use charged through the parking lot, arms outstretched. We headed back to the hostel, up the cool stairs, tom nodding benevolently to us like a Buddha from his desk, back into the bedroom still hot from the day and filled with curtains waving hellos to us sweetly.