There are certain sights and experiences that New Mexico natives never question and that transplants quickly accept. However, visitors to the Land of Enchantment are sometimes intrigued or baffled by these 15 things:
1. New Mexicans associate this sight with scrumptious bread.
Hornos are traditional domed ovens that are constructed from adobe bricks. If you've ever eaten anything baked in one, the experience will be cemented in your memory.
2. Some people look at this and see a muddy mess. New Mexicans see potential.
Dirt and water are the literal building blocks of adobe structures. Straw is usually added to strengthen the bricks.
3. Does this look like a still from a horror movie to you?
Nope? Then chances are you're a New Mexican. Every year, Zozobra (also called Old Man Gloom) is set ablaze in a huge festival in Santa Fe. This is a symbolic act. As Old Man Gloom burns, misery is supposed to be erased, allowing hope to return.
4. Okay, so signs like this one between Santa Fe and Taos strike us as weird and amusing too...
...But at this point we're immune to alien stuff.
5. Given that the McDonald's in Roswell resembles a UFO, it takes a lot to make a New Mexican raise an eyebrow.
6. Visitors might be puzzled by the giant mesh barrels that occupy parking lots in fall.
Locals recognize these objects as chile roasters and immediately start drooling. Or lining up.
7. Meep Meep. The closest many Americans will get to a roadrunner is watching the cartoon version.
Spotting a roadrunner is a treat even for New Mexicans because these skittish birds can move at speeds of up to 17 miles per hour. Did you know that roadrunners eat scorpions and rattlesnakes?
8. Can you identify these footprints?
They're actually dinosaur footprints in Clayton Lake State Park. Dinosaurs definitely left their mark on the Land of Enchantment.
9. During spring, New Mexican drivers face a unique threat...
10. At sunrise, at sunset, at night, and even during the day, New Mexico's skies always wow.
Witnessing a double rainbow is special but not that uncommon here.
11. There are times when it rains over a very specific spot and is perfectly sunny a half-mile down the road.
One word: microclimates.
12. In the summer, during monsoon season, lightning storms are an almost daily event.
And they're always dramatic.
13. The shells of old cars and abandoned buildings are typical sights in New Mexico's many ghost towns.
14. Even if they haven't been there, most New Mexicans have heard of El Santuario de Chimayo.
Often compared to Lourdes, the sacred earth here is believed to have healing properties.
15. This is an iconic New Mexican image if ever there was one.
A ristra vendor transports these decorations, which are made from dried chiles. You'll see them hanging outside buildings throughout the state.
What images scream “New Mexico” to you? If you live here, you’ll doubtless also recognize these