Sunday, January 28, 2007

Burquenos: Poquitas Bromas Del Dendro de Nuestro Pueblo

Ladies and Gentleman:
Welcome to the new arrivals here in an ancient city named for an obscure Spanish Duke. Please attend: the following are vital tips on how to survive navigating in Albuquerque.
Pronunciation Key: Learn to pronounce the city name is easy; much easy than, ay, 'nuclear.' It is “Ahl-boo-KAYHR-keh” not “AL-buh- kirky” or some variation of that. Many of the street names are also of Spanish derivation. Juan Tabo is pronounced 'Huan tah-BOH', San Pedro is Sahn PAY-throh, Candelaria is Cahn-deh-LAH-ree-ah, Griegos is Gree-AYH-gohs ( NOT "Graygos"), etc. When in doubt, listen for a native Burque-speaker's pronunciation.
BTW: If asking directions in SE or S part of town, you’ll benefit from a working knowledge of Spanish. If on Central or in Tijeras ditto the above. If you stop to ask directions on Coors Blvd or S 4th, you’d better be armed.
All directions begin with: “Get on Central”. . . which starts in North Carolina and ends in Santa Monica; it therefore has no practical beginning and no end.

Rules of the Road: As to driving, it is well to forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. We have have our own version of traffic rules, the foremost of which is: ”Hold on and pray”.
There is no such thing as a dangerous high-speed chase in Albuquerque. We all drive like that, all the time already. We seen no need for hot pursuit to speed us on our way.
All old ladies with blue hair in Mercedes have the right of way. PERIOD.
The morning rush hour is from 6 to 10. The evening rush hour is from 3 to 7. Friday’s rush hour starts Thursday morning.

Road Manners: Albuquerque is justifiably called "The Town Too Tough To Signal." If someone actually has their turn signal on, it is probably a factory defect; or it was inadvertently activated by the dog or the child crawling around on the front seat and has been ignored by the driver for some blocks.
If you flip on your turn indicators to signal a lane change on the Freeways, expect the lanes beside you to close bumper-to-bumper immediately.
Car horns are actually “Inchoate Road Rage Indicators."

Stop-Light Etiquette
is vitally important. Actually coming to a stop during a yellow signal light is likely to be cussed-at; also, you may be rear ended, and and you might get shot. Yellow lights mean: Accelerate and beat the red.
When you are the first one in line at a light, ALWAYS count to five AFTER the light turns green before going, to avoid crashes with the drivers running the red light in cross-traffic, on the theory that the last guy gets to go anyway.

Street name Changes: Through some fell necromancy, crossing the railroad tracks causes many--though not all--major thoroughfares' names to change: Montgomery becomes Montano, Comanche becomes Griegos; Martin Luther King becomes Bridge. Ellison crops up in mysterious ways in otherwise inexplicable places, separated by many miles, but on different sides of the tracks.

Regional Travel: A trip across town (east to west) on surface streets, at any but the most deserted times of day will take a minimum of two hours, even though many north/south arterials have an unposted minimum speed of 75. The East I-40 is our daily version of NASCAR. It also ends in Edgewood. I-25 to Santa Fe is called “The Death Trap” for two reasons: “death” and “trap”. The minimum acceptable speed in the I-25/North corridor is 85. Anything less is considered downright sissy.

Meteorological Observations: If it’s 100-degrees, Thanksgiving must be next weekend.If it’s 10-degrees and sleeting/snowing, the Fourth of July is around the corner.If it’s rained 6 inches in the last hour, it is Fall. If it is Fall, the State Fair is on, and the Balloon Fiesta is coming; at least day of each event will be washed out by torrential storms/hurricane-force winds.

Tourist attractions: If you go to the Fair, pay the $5.00 to park INSIDE Fair Park. Parking elsewhere could cost up to $2500 for damages, towing fees, parking tickets, etc. If some guy with a flag tries to get you to park in his ‘yard’, run over him. All amusement parks, stadiums, arenas, race tracks, airports, etc., are conveniently located as far away from EVERYTHING as possible so as to allow for ample parking on grassy areas.

Construction work: Construction on Central is a way of life and a permanent form of entertainment. We had so much fun with that, we have added I-40 out to Moriarty, Montgomery/Montano and Lomas to the mix. To enliven things for the folks in the North Valley, both 2nd and 4th have been added, along with Atrisco in the South Valley.

Inexplicable sights/acts of automotive desparation: All unexplained sights are explained by the phrase, “Oh, we’re in--(or "They're from") Rio Rancho.”

With these simple rules in mind, you are now ready to try to survive travel and traffic in Albuquerque.

Please try to keep up.


Tena said...

That is just funny as shit and dead on perfect.

You write well, John - you have good comic timing.

charley said...

i lived on Calle Dulcinea in Sante Fe. cowboy street?

my observation about drivers in Sante Fe was that when approaching an intersection or crossroad, with no traffic in sight, the driver waiting at said crossroad would not enter your road until he/she could be assured that there was a good chance you'd hit them.

you have not seen lethal traffic until you've done miami. which is one giant 95 mile an hour death trap.

charley said...

When you are the first one in line at a light, ALWAYS count to five AFTER the light turns green before going, to avoid crashes with the drivers running the red light in cross-traffic,

also different in miami, after the light turns green you have precisely .2 seconds to floor it before at least 25 people behind you lean hard on their horns and i imagine scream horrible expletives. i say imagine because you won't hear them, those horns are freakn' loud.

Anonymous said...

one thing i have noticed about duke city is that during road repair or construction, it is sop to remove all the street signs from the streets beiong worked on. i have no idea why they do this.

Olaf glad and big