There are places that provide memories for a lifetime. Such life-changing experiences of beauty and love that take your breath away. Then there are places that you remember for the rest of your life, that leave their mark without perhaps actually having been so fantastic. Roswell is such a place.
Space has always fascinated me. When I was a teenager, the X-files TV series was one of the scariest things on TV. I remember how my friend and I sat under our own blankets in each of our armchairs and screamed in terror when supernaturally long fingers suddenly appeared in the door mailbox on the big screen TV. The X-files was filled with aliens and unexplained events.
My fascination with space is more on the scientific side these days. One of the things I love most when we travel is to lie on the beach in the pitch black and look up at the starry skies of the Southern Hemisphere. Think so many stars and constellations that we never see here in the Northern Hemisphere. The whale, the swordfish, the unicorn and the little water snake. Incredibly beautiful names of constellations of stars and planets so unimaginably far away. "The truth is out there” was the X-files slogan. But what is actually out there?
On our way north to Albuquerque from Alamogordo, New Mexico, we could choose to take a little detour and visit Roswell, the most fabled UFO city in the entire world. A temptation that was hard to resist. So we went to Roswell. Determined to meet at least one alien.
Roswell's connection to extraterrestrials began as early as 1947, when a craft is said to have crashed in the city. The US authorities dismissed the wreckage as a crashed weather balloon, but conspiracy theories abound. Was this really one big cover for a crashed UFO, was it a cover for a super secret military experiment, or was it actually just a weather balloon? The stories were many and the answers are still few. Regardless, it was the beginning of Roswell's notoriety in the UFO world.
Even as we approached Roswell, we understood that this is no ordinary small town in New Mexico. The outskirts of the city were lined with shops selling incense, billboards advertising fortune tellers holding hands and men in pickup trucks wearing brightly colored, speckled batik sweaters.
It wasn't long before we encountered our first aliens in Roswell. Actually, we met four of them at once. On a harvested field lay a crashed saucer. A woman wearing an embroidered apron smilingly offered pie to the waiting green alien. Her husband had put down his rifle and greeted the alien with a nod of his wide-brimmed cowboy hat. Another man tried to help the aliens launch the spaceship with jump cables. All while an alien inside the craft sat and read about people in a guide book. Behind the spaceship was a panel with solar cells. Did the spaceship run on solar power? Maybe something for our aviation industry?
At the gas station we met our fifth alien. She stared at us as we refueled. All aliens so far have been green. "Little green men" seem to have four fingers and three toes and big eyes. We didn't get any help from the alien to refuel. Perhaps she hadn't yet received her work permit?
It was getting to be lunch time. Where would we eat? We passed a cafe with a welcoming coffee-drinking green alien with antennae – wearing jeans and cowboy boots. In the next window stood two aliens waving cheerfully. However, there was no available parking nearby, so we drove on.
The next green alien meets us at Roswell Space Center. Inside downtown Roswell, there are tons of shops selling space-related souvenirs and gadgets. The most common purchase seems to be a T-shirt with the print "I want to believe"Or"I believe". I don't see any shirts with the print "I don't believe". If you are in Roswell, you simply belong to the team"believer".
We drove past a sign advertising Fat's Burritos. Not an alien in sight. Maybe this would be something for our lunch? A really good New Mexico Green Chile is a nice hot experience. We tried once again to find a parking space, but failed. By chance, we then pass Cowboy Café.
Cowboy cafe is a classic American hook, the kind of place you almost only see in movies these days. We parked outside the restaurant, next to the large "Guns and ammo" store. The restaurant signs beckoned with "Homestyle cooking" and in the window we were met with paintings of cowboys mixed with a picture of a large American eagle. We settle down in a booth with gallon seats. It can simply be a medium-fried Cowboy burger on Angus beef. I think we've had enough aliens for today.
How do I get to Roswell?
Roswell is located in New Mexico in the southwestern United States, 30 miles southeast of Albuquerque or 30 miles northeast of El Paso. In the city there are as many as five museums with a UFO focus - one crazier than the other.
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