Albuquerque has around half a million people – or about half the population of Perth.

However, Perth acts like a small town: stupidly short shopping hours, everyone knows everyone, people tell you they live in a small city.

Albuquerque, on the other hand, has the grace to at least ACT like a big city, atleast for the most part. Shopping hours are extended, and many shops are 24 hours. They have lots of big freeways/highways and I can walk to most of the places I want to go.

Having said that, Perth trumps Albuquerque in one area: public transport. Transperth is generally safe and pretty reliable. ABQRide is scary as shit, there is no local train and you have no idea when the next bus is going to drive by cos there is no nifty website or large, legible timetables to be seen.

But enough about the differences in city set up, let’s talk about Albuquerque on a deeper level:

New Mexican’s have the most palatable American accent, coming from an Australian perspective. This is because it isn’t harsh like the New York accent, doesn’t drawl like the Southern accent and doesn’t make you wonder if they are jacked up on speed or high on pot like the Californian accent. This means that my ears aren’t bleeding at the end of the day. Thank you New Mexico. 🙂

Another thing about New Mexico is that it actually looks like Mexico and Spain. The architecture is very VERY Spanish/Mexican and the cuisine is heavily Spanish/Mexican influence – which suits me for the most part, because I love cheese and I love spicy foods.

Albuquerque sits approximately 1.6km above sea level, which means that the high altitude takes some serious getting used to. The flatter parts of Albuquerque are actually not far off being as high up as the highest point of Australia – if that helps at all. The air is a little thinner than my coastline-raised self is used to, and you tend to wear yourself out faster exercising at this height.

However, the dry desert plains remind me of outback Australia, if Australia had lots of mountains in the background. The desert grass is similar to that of the sunburnt country I call home, and there is red dirt and desert flora abound – which is comforting at moments of homesickness.

The sky has been almost consistently blue since I arrived – and like much of Australia, New Mexico experiences much longer summers than most of the rest of the States. Having said that though, it’s summer does not get nearly as hot as what I’m used to, and apparently it actually does snow in January – which is still a relativel foreign concept to me.

The University of New Mexico, located on the old Route 66, epitomises everything the state is. The buildings are Spanish/Mexican adobe architecture, all in various shades of off-white and terracotta, and many of the hall names are in the Spanish language. The plants around campus are generally trees that can survive in the dry heat, and the campus has its fair share of cacti.

However, as unique as the buildings are, the university itself is everything an American university should be: big college football teams, cheerleaders, large student residences, the Greek system (sororities and fraternities) and far too much homework, all set in an area of town that caters specifically towards the student population: cheap food and cheap beer.

Unfortunately, UNM is a DRY campus! WTF! What kind of real uni students put up with this? I want a drink and I want it now! (Honestly, I’ve never drunk so much in my life… Because it’s not allowed on campus, I’m desperate all of a sudden.) I can’t even have wine for cooking, which is detrimental to my food!
Good thing booze is cheap and the taxi fare downtown is even cheaper! Otherwise I think I’d go insane.

Anyways, more on ABQ later!

I have… 1 billion essays to write. Gah! It’s like being in year 12 again!

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