New Mexico’s secret weapons

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By David Whitley

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Spaceport America.

On a road trip through the New Mexico desert, David Whitley discovers that secretive military projects have created fascinating tourist attractions.

The mountain ranges stack up in neat waves on the horizon, there’s little but sand dust and cactus for the foreseeable future. But we’ve got company. Overhead, two sleek black planes shoot past, seemingly chasing each other at a disturbingly low height. If they’re the stealth fighters I think they are, they’re not doing the creeping up on tippy toes thing all that well.

Such disturbances of the peace are not that uncommon in New Mexico, possibly the most defiantly unbland state in the US. One moment if feels strongly Hispanic, the next the enduring influence of traditional Pueblo Indian life hits home. Then the vibe’s all artists and hippies who’ve come to set up galleries and live in mountain towns, which is flat out contradicted by the huge military presence. A lot of things get tested in this part of the world, and it’s safe to assume they’d prefer it if we didn’t know what.

Weirdly, that military skulking in the shadows has led to some unexpectedly fascinating tourist attractions. And the story of Los Alamos is the most gripping of them all. Around an hour’s drive from state capital Santa Fe, up a frankly terrifying canyon rim-hugging road, this is the place that created the most devastating monster ever unleashed.

From 1943 onwards, some of the world’s greatest physicists were smuggled up to the Pajarito Plateau. A former ranch school was swiftly turned into a town, known only by its Santa Fe postcode. Everything was strictly need-to-know, and subsequently most people working there didn’t know what they were working on.

They found out at the same time the rest of the world did on …read more

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Book Review – Dining Out in Paris by Tom Reeves

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By Jim McDonough

Review of Dining Out in Paris: What You Need to Know before You Get to the City of Light, by Tom Reeves. Available as an e-book from Amazon. Tom can be reached […]

The post Book Review – Dining Out in Paris by Tom Reeves appeared first on Amateur Traveler Travel Podcast.

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