An Encounter with the Police/Night at the Opera

Trip Start Jun 27, 2010
Trip End Jul 16, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Friday, July 2, 2010

I started the trip to Santa Fe from Amarillo with a touch of sadness at leaving Texas. The Texans were so friendly and helpful and their manners were outstanding.  The first place I stopped at was the Cadillac Ranch just on the west side of Amarillo.  Ten Cadillacs with their noses buried in the ground all spray painted with graffiti.  I left my mark there saying "LeaveKat woz 'ere".   I'm not sure what the purpose of these cars sticking out of the ground but it provided a nice little break from the road.  Some miles down the road (I-40) I decided to pull off at Vega which I heard had been one of the places to stop at on Route 66.  There’s not much there now – a couple of gas stations and a few other businesses.  I got gas (petrol) at one of the corner stations and the nice young man (!!) helped me with the bowser.  Next stop a bit further down the road was Adrian which is supposedly the half way mark on Route 66 between Chicago and Santa Monica.  The Midpoint Café provided some yummy food and good ol’ Texan hospitality.  The Midpoint Café is said to be the inspiration for Flo’s Café in the animated movie Cars.

I decided that I wouldn’t make any more stops until I got to Santa Fe as I had no real idea how long the trip would take.  Very soon I was over the state line and into New Mexico.  The terrain became hillier and as the road rose and dipped I felt like I could drive for infinity.  I had such a strong sense of freedom.  I was having a Thelma and Louise moment went I noticed there were some flashing lights in my rear vision mirror.  To my horror I was being pulled over by the New Mexico police.  I not going to use the policeman’s name but Officer XX got out of his car and walked up to my window.  The conversation went something like this…

“Do you know how fast you were driving just back there?”

“I’ve no idea.  I’m sorry.”

“Well you were going 72 miles in a 55 mile zone”

“That’s no good”

“Can I see your licence and insurance papers?”

The officer declared that my licence was just about the furthest he’d ever seen.

He went to his car to check my plates and let me sweat a little.

When he came back he explained that the fine should be $225 (?) but he would fine me as if I was going only 6 miles over the limit – a $71 fine.  Yippee!

I made it to Santa Fe by about 5pm had a shower, some tea and got ready to go out.  I was really looking forward to opening night at the Santa Fe Opera.  I had bought the tickets for Madame Butterfly on the internet about 3 weeks prior and had got the third last seat.  The Santa Fe Opera theatre is an open air one with a roof but no side walls.  The view looking out the side of the auditorium and at the back of the stage is quite stunning.  The mountains provide the back drop.  As the production commenced there was a small amount of lightning and thunder which was a nice touch to the al fresco feel of the theatre.  However, as the production wore on the lightning and thunder became more intense and the rain started coming in sideways onto the seats at the edges of the auditorium.  As I had a seat at the end of the row I started getting quite wet.  By interval it was apparent that the storm was over us.  In the second acte the rain just kept coming and I was drenched.  Towards the end the rain was so intense that it was flying right across the auditorium from one side to the other.  It was an extraordinary sight.  All I could do was laugh at the situation.  Patrons started leaving and some of us moved in towards the centre.  But it just kept coming.  Now I was just waiting for Madame Butterfly to commit hara kiri.  As soon as she stabbed herself I left and it finished 1 minute later.  I was so wet that the mascara had run down my cheeks and I could hardly walk in my shoes which were soaked.  It was an amusing night – one that I will never forget.  My admiration goes to the performers who at the end were surely getting drenched too.
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