Roswell says it’s the Dairy Capital of the World, not, like you might assume, the Crazy Capital. And though I searched and searched for true weirdness – people in aluminum-foil hats, cow mutilations – Roswell seemed pretty normal. Especially if you think normal is a Wal-Mart big enough to supply the entire town and a whole colony of aliens. Seriously, I considered one of those electric carts just to get to the auto department.
Maybe I was sheltered from the truly bizarre because I stayed at a bucolic campsite in Bottomless Lakes State Park, about ten miles south of town. I like lakes – they’re still, serene.
You know who else like lakes? Mosquitoes. You know what else they like? Me. I am biting-bug catnip. And though I had to stop myself from telling total strangers that the red bumps on my chin and forehead weren’t pimples, they were BUG BITES, because, you know, I WASH, I didn’t. I just walked around looking like a teenager in dire need of Clearasil and tried not to scratch.
You’ve probably heard of the Great (Possible, Maybe) Alien Visitation of 1947. Something silver crashed in the desert outside Roswell, which may have been a spaceship with real aliens, or maybe it was a weather balloon. No one knows for sure. But boy oh boy, do people want to believe it. (Me, included. No foil hat required.)
Believers and naysayers alike seem to agree there was a government cover-up of something – though it seems strange that The Government would feel a need to cover up a bad balloon landing.
No matter. Decide for yourself at Roswell’s International UFO Museum and Research Center, which has lots of official-looking documents and testimonies, grainy photographs, even dioramas and models to show what might have happened. (Admission is $5, and they’re open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Even alien hunters need time with their families.)
I can’t remember what this had to do with aliens, but it scared me:
And like any good town known primarily for one thing, Roswell business owners plaster those aliens everywhere, like this music store:
The parking lot:
The check-cashing joint:
This store was closed, but the window display remained:
But not Taco Bell. You’d think it’d be a prime advertising opportunity to have a poster with a cute green alien noshing on some nachos, but nope, this Taco Bell rebelled. Their posters featured the Endangered Rainforest and cuddly koalas, taking the “Make a Run for the Border” motto in a totally different direction: Costa Rica and Australia.
Arby’s nailed it though:
And what about Roswell being the home to the renowned New Mexico Military Institute, a training ground for men and women who would happily cover up evidence of extraterrestrial life? Mere coincidence? I don’t think so.
But I’m wondering: Are they training soldiers, or medieval knights?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t document the dilapidated:
And I’ll leave you with this, which sort of says it all:
More on Wednesday. See you then.