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New Mexico, USA

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White Sands National Monument in New Mexico

'The Land of Enchantment' or 'the Land of Entrapment' are two phrases often used to describe New Mexico. It's often wondered what people mean when they use one of these appellations. Despite the fact that much of New Mexico is desolate and barren, these phrases probably refer to the fact that it's a very pleasant place to live; so pleasant, in fact, that you'll have no desire to leave. Or perhaps, they could refer to the fact that if you do leave, you'll find yourself with such a deep craving for the beautiful scenery and the green chilli peppers that you really have to go back.

The Wild South West

Like most of the south west of America, much of New Mexico is made up of desert land. It's a remarkable place with an amazing environment. It's also the case that New Mexico has a lot of great food too - there's nothing quite like the green chilli enchiladas you get at Chope's restaurant, where it seems time itself has stood still. Or then there's lunch at La Posta in La Mesilla where you can indulge in excellent salsa and sapodillas1, well-made frozen margaritas and enjoy stories about Billy the Kid and cowboys from the true wild west.

The beauty of the landscape surrounding Las Cruces is outstanding; the Organ mountains are like gigantic guardians presiding over the Mesilla Valley. Then there's the stunningly beautiful White Sands National Monument. Here, it's very tempting to hop around in the snow white sand dunes, or to drive a four-wheel truck across the wide barren desert. An incredible sense of freedom; of being in complete touch with nature is what you get at the White Sands National Monument.

Another thing way to enjoy the special New Mexico environment is to go hiking, in the throbbing heat, looking out for every-day marvels such as a cactus in bloom, roadrunners, or tumbleweed and tarantulas.

If you do happen to be in a four-wheel drive vehicle, you can sit and wait for the afternoon storm to brew. And then you can watch truly wrathful lightning tear up the blackening sky. These fork lightning storms are as violent as you'll ever see; at once terrible and beautiful.

New Mexico truly is the Land of Enchantment. It's also the Land of Entrapment, holding firm in its grip the heart of many a traveller.

Our thanks to Tav's Dad for the photograph.

1The sapodilla is among the sweetest of all fruits. The brown flesh has the juicy texture of fruit, but tastes like sweet jam.

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