Small world, and a dramatic dinner, in Santa Fe

10/8/21

Another full day today! There were some pretty cool—and even dramatic—moments, amidst a visually lovely town. Yesterday I had stayed mostly on the outskirts of the city, including some strip-mall-heavy areas. Today I went into the “real” Santa Fe, and I can see why people love it. It felt almost unreal, like a movie set or an alternate timeline.

Around noon I said goodbye to my host on the outskirts of town, and cycled back in the way I had gone yesterday. I stopped on the way in a beautiful park along the riverfront path to make a few phone calls (transportation and lodging logistics, always!) and then found my way to my Warmshowers host’s place, right in the heart of Santa Fe and just a few blocks away from the co-op.

I needed to get a few groceries, so I thought I’d check out Sprouts first, then the co-op again if need be. As I was locking up my bike on a railing outside Sprouts (I have to say, I am not very impressed by the bike-parking infrastructure in Santa Fe, though I heard that is changing) I heard my name! I looked up, and who should I see but my host from the last two days, with a friend he had invited for dinner tonight; they were at the store picking up ingredients.

I chuckled at the small world, and went inside.

Afterward, I meandered to a beautiful small park outside the St. Francis basilica. As I rested on a bench, with my bike partially folded in front of me, a couple walked by and the man said, “I like your Brompton! I have one too!”

Wow, what are the odds?

His wife added, “But his is green!”

Haha, cute. Again, small world.

After that, I pedaled over to a local chocolate shop, arriving shortly before they closed. Wow: the selection looked delectable, and even just the vegan options were overwhelming! I finally managed to select a few, which I plan to devour very soon, perhaps on the train tomorrow.

Then it was getting to be dinnertime, so tonight’s host and I met up at a vegan Jamaican food cart nearby.

The food was delicious (banana pancake, atop four different savory dishes? wow!) and we were enjoying some conversation about our various bike travels as the sunlight was waning, when something very unexpected and jarring happened: the proprietor of the food cart pulled into the gravel parking lot in his car, and began trying to back into the area in front of the cart.

My host and I had sort of propped our bikes where we could find space, in the gravel lot that also served as the ordering and eating area. The owner, focusing on backing up without hitting the cart, accidentally ran over my host’s bike! We watched it from a distance, not really grokking what we were seeing for a moment. Then we ran over, while another employee of the cart had seen what was happening and had begun frantically yelling at her boss to “stop, stop!”

But the bike wheel was under the car’s tire by then.

It seemed to take at least five rather tense minutes of communication and triangulation to move the car sufficiently, in the right direction, to retrieve the bike. (The car was simultaneously in peril of hitting the food cart, as well as backing over some supplies that had just been delivered by UPS when I was placing my order. A good solution was not obvious.)

My host—whom I had already found to be a very easygoing guy—stayed remarkably calm during the whole ordeal. I marveled at this, as I was horrified for his bike, and all that this might mean for him.

But amazingly, the bike emerged seemingly unscathed. Not even a scratch! The rear wheel had been pinned under the car’s tire for several minutes. But the wheel seemed to turn just fine, and the tire was not damaged.

Amazing.

The driver/owner got out of the car and surveyed the scene, apologizing profusely. My host assured him everything was OK, and we all chatted for a few minutes before setting out for home. His bike seemed to function perfectly fine, and the ride was pleasant, with a segment along that beautiful riverfront path again.

And now, I’ve got laundry in the machine, and I’ve had a few more logistical conversations with future hosts by phone, text, and email.

(Maybe this would be a good time for me to enjoy some of that chocolate…?)

Tomorrow, I’ll be biking to the tiny train depot in Lamy, New Mexico, about 20 miles south of here. I may stop at the farmers’ market on the way out of town, if I have time. Then I’ll hop on the train to Flagstaff, where I will stay with my first Servas host family.

Looking forward to all the new experiences!

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