Exploring New Mexico


At Ground Zero, Trinity Site

Our big outing this week was to New Mexico with a group from the Consulate to visit the Trinity Site and the Very Large Array. It was a long day trip with an incredible amount of dust and wind, but well worth it, plus we got to visit with co-workers along the way.

The Trinity Site is where the first nuclear bomb was tested in 1946 – it’s open to the public two days each year. There’s not a lot to actually see because it’s such a desolate place, but it’s very interesting and thought-provoking.

The Very Large Array is an astronomical radio observatory that consists of 27 huge radio antennas that look like big satellite dishes -it’s pretty incredible to see. You can see how big the antennas are in the photo below – those are humans next to it!

We did a lot of visa interviews this week, although the Consulate closed at noon on Friday for a party. The Ambassador from Mexico City came up to help celebrate a success in the Immigrant Visa section – we had a party outside with fajitas and beer, followed by a meeting for the entry-level officers (like us) with the Ambassador. He’s pretty entertaining – he is a political appointee of Pres. Bush and is married to the wealthiest woman in Mexico (she owns Corona beer).

We also went to an event Thursday night at our Consul General’s house to hear a reporter from El Paso talk about issues in Juarez – pretty interesting. Right now, the Mexican government has sent in 2000 Federal troops to patrol the streets and combat the drug traffickers. It’s startling to see three or four tanks or trucks filled with uniformed, armed and masked Federal soldiers driving down the main streets.

The rest of the week was pretty low-key. I think John and I are both suffering some from allergies, so we haven’t felt 100%.

The good news is that we found a housekeeper that I think will work out. I went to a friend’s house for lunch on Thursday to interview her, then brought her to the house this morning to show her around. She has worked for Consulate families for the past eight years, so that gives me a level of confidence in her – it’s tough to just hand over your house keys to a stranger here!

We had a bit of a scare with Mom this week – she drove herself to the emergency room one night because she lost some vision in her eye, and stayed in the hospital a couple of days while they ran tests. Evidently, a piece of plaque broke loose and went into her eye – luckily it didn’t go to the brain instead. Tests didn’t show evidence of more loose plaque, so hopefully everything is OK.

This week was also scary for a lot of friends in Little Rock and Hot Springs, due to all of the tornadoes and flooding there.

One of 27 antennas in the Very Large Array

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