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“Do you smell it? It’s the smell of millions of pennies.”

It was the first thing that I noticed after pulling the car off the road on our way to Truth or Consequences.

We’d seen the mines on the way into Silver City but with our pending lunch reservation and sputtering tank of gas, didn’t feel that a close inspection of the mine would be a good use of time.

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Now, there we stood, facing a magnificent expanse of copper and stone, the Santa Rita copper mine; a mine used by Apaches, Spaniards, Mexicans, and Americans since 1800.

There’s something eery about a mine of this size. There’s the smell – familiar yet different; copper tinged with the industrial smell of truck exhaust and smoke. But more surprisingly, there’s a stillness in the air. There are no people, no visible machines, just a few trucks, the size of ants, groaning imperceptibly beneath their heavy loads.

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We took in the immense view, squinted at the Kneeling Nun rock formation at the northern tip of the mine, and then climbed back into the Beetle. Next stop, Truth or Consequences.

After the popular NBC Radio program of the same name promised a yearly festival to the town that would change its name to Truth or Consequences, the town formerly known as “Hot Springs” made the switch.

Our destination in Truth or Consequences, or “T or C” to the locals: the Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa, a property recently purchased and renovated by Ted Turner Enterprises. Although the natural hot springs have always been the main event in Truth or Consequences, the town and surrounding areas are readying themselves for a new frontier in tourism: space exploration. Spaceport America, home to Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, lies 20 miles to the southeast.

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The hot springs in Truth or Consequences are known to be some of the best in the country, without the distinctive sulphur smell that accompanies so many other hot springs locations. We arrived at the hotel and booked private tubs – each one situated in its own soaking room. Some of the hotel’s soaking rooms are minimalist while others are designed like Turkish baths, with extensive tiling and wall murals.

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grapefruit_FeedMeDearly

I was 24 when a Mexican bird pooped on my face.

How did I know the bird was Mexican? Because we were in Mexico. In all fairness, he could have been an ambitious American bird who’d flown too far south for the winter. But for the purpose of this story, I’ll assume that he was Mexican. And that he was a he because aim was a factor.

It happened during my first trip to Mexico with the man I now call my husband. We’d been on a family vacation with his parents, and had made the last-minute decision to extend our stay. Both of us were in the midst of job transitions and were lucky enough that our calendars overlapped.

Initially, our spur of the moment hotel/apartment search was a flop; nothing was available. His parents weren’t happy that poolside Margaritas had been replaced by a frantic search for a strip mall hotel or kindhearted landlord who would take us in.

Towards the end of our planned vacation, we found ourselves apartment-hunting in downtown Acapulco when a bird, possibly a Condor or a Falcon, pooped on my face.

We didn’t actually see the bird, but Rodney, combining his high school biology and college-level math skills, made some rough estimates based on the poop surface area. Thankfully it had missed my eye, but covered a broad swath of my right cheek. Although I never actually saw the wreckage, I distinctly remember the sensation. Like a mug of hot chocolate had been splashed in my face.

These discussions happened after the fact of course. Rodney’s immediate reaction was to slip into a mild shock, recover, and then attempt to clean it off. A little too quickly I might add, because instead of wiping it off my cheek sideways, he barehanded it down over the corner of my mouth. Our Cat 4 problem had now escalated to a Cat 5.

We needed water. And not your standard issue garden hose as that would have increased the likelihood of a second gastrointestinal flesh-eating disease.

The hunt began for a bodega and bottled water. It wasn’t long before we found one and in that same back alley where the Condor had made me his personal latrine, we washed our tainted bodies.

cincodemayo

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