One-day visit to Albuquerque just to rest and regroup after my long ride in Southern Utah. Thought it would be fun to do my own Breaking Bad tour, and miraculously, most of the locations were near my hotel in the Uptown area. It was pretty cool to see Walt and Skyler's house and Jesse and Jane's tweaker palace, in a not so nice area. No one really gave me a second look when I was photographing these spots, guess they're just used to it. Tuco's place is this really cool coffee house with great coffee, and resident philosophers complaining about the man and commercialism. There were some interesting characters walking around, eventually becoming belligerent, but the coffee is worth the risk. The coffee house is called Java City. I saw that there are some organized Br Bad tours, but why spend the money? Use Google, IMDB (which, by-the-way, lists out the street addresses for the major sites), and your GPS (Google Maps), and you're on your way! Very easy, and also a great way to see the city. I went to the wrong address to see Saul's office, so pay attention to streets vs. terraces. It was a fun way to spend a hot, sticky Albuquerque morning. I have never liked a show enough to ever do a tour of any sort, but since Br Ba is the best TV drama ever, one is naturally drawn to anything Heisenberg. Incidentally, Guerilla Graphix has great T-shirts, postcards, and aprons if you're looking for Br Ba memorabilia. They're located Old Town, and are total nerds, like me, about this show.
After the tour, I visited the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center for the remainder of the morning. Each of the 19 remaining pueblos is represented throughout the museum. Maria Martinez' pottery making is captured in a documentary film in the basement. The documentary was incredibly detailed footage of her pottery making starting with her and her son gathering the clay and sand in the desert to, well...okay, I left when she was on the potter's wheel, so I didn't see the finished product. (Film was a little too long). Well, there are beautiful artifacts and artwork in the museum, but honestly, I was a little bored. There was way too much to read, and some of the exhibits weren't all that interesting (like the one on the Indian school). Sorry. Maybe I just caught a bad exhibition period. It's worth a look, but don't expect an exhibit like you would see in Santa Fe.
After the pueblo museum, I went to Sophia's New Mexican Restaurant. There is a restaurant in the Pueblo museum, and I nearly ate there, but I couldn't stop thinking about the fish tacos at Sophia's. It's a hole-in-the wall, but the food is amazing. Fresh fish tacos are delicious. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and there are two eating areas, inside and out on the patio. Depending on the heat, you choose. I took a nice long break there, and no one rushed me out.
Then, I ended up in the Old Town for the remainder of the afternoon. I walked around, shopped, went inside San Felipe de Neri Church, and tried to stay in the shade. It was close to 100ºF--In early June!
Afterwards, I went to the new Target Uptown. It's huge and a great place to replenish sun block and other necessities, and ice, for the cooler where I was carrying water in the trunk. I always buy a cooler and fill it with water when driving through the desert or even up north. It's a good way to stay hydrated in dry climate, and in the higher elevations. Beware of becoming dehydrated in the higher elevations. It's not a good look!
So to sum it up, I like the ABQ! It was the perfect backdrop for Br Ba, and the perfect gateway for points north, south, east and west in New Mexico. I find the people to be friendly enough. It is a pretty big city, so people aren't as friendly as in Santa Fe or other little towns in northern New Mexico. There are a lot of good restaurants, and I did start this New Mexican vacation at Las Cuates on Menual. Not sure why my GPS took me to Lomas last fall, but the location on Menual is definitely better. Love the Chile rellenos with green chile!!
Parting advice: visit the ABQ, slow down and relax.