Loving the Alien: Roswell – New Mexico Part 2: Departure

In which our travel columnist  concludes her attempts to experience a close encounter.

You left us as we finally landed, unscathed, at Roswell airport.

New MexI’ve just searched for Roswell Airport online. I’ve been doing it an injustice: it’s Roswell International Air Center. But it looks much the same as it did that snowy day when we finally kissed the ground and successfully readjusted the bonds of earth. That’s to say it has a small terminal building looking rather like an office block and not much else.

Here’s what its official website has to say about it: “The Roswell International Air Center (RIAC) is located five miles south of the central business district of the City and is the core of southeastern New Mexico’s industrial activity. Prior to 1967, these 4,600 acres was the home of Walker Air Force Base, one of the largest installations operated by the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command.”

That’s no slouch of an airport; it’s served its country well. But it wasn’t exactly designed as a gin palace/entertainment centre/relieve you of all your cash kind of airport.

So we patted ourselves down, checked to see that our brows weren’t sweaty and strode purposefully to the hire car desk. A bored woman chewed the end of her pen, and looked at us in some amazement. ”We got cars, but we got no snow chains honey. Unless you got your own…” as she eyed me up and down, taking in one small bag and nowt else “…I can’t do nothing for you.” We stepped back and mustered Plan B. No drive into the desert, just the museum. We arrived at the taxi desk. A somewhat more harried man gave us an unfriendly look. ”I got no cars.  Have you seen what it’s like out there?” We had. Both from several thousand feet, and rather less happily at close quarters.

We walked to the door and looked outside. A small tunnel had been dug leading up the path to the terminal. Its borders rose way past my knees. Walking was clearly out of the question.

So it was back to the desk. All flights were currently suspended. ”Have you not seen…?” Er, yes.

Roswell boasts a small cafe, currently known as the Cappuccino Grill. We settled down with a couple of coffees. Then a coke an hour later. Tea after that. At some point our two pilots emerged and dumped two copies of Flight International in the empty magazine rack. We read both, cover to cover. Grilled cheese followed at some point. A rather meagre apple pie. A somewhat ironic “I saw the aliens at Roswell” badge.

Finally the sun came out. In the distance, the glorious sound of a small prop plane became clearer. At 5pm, some eight hours after our arrival in Roswell, we finally took off for Albuquerque. And in the distance, I swear I could see a small grey being thumbing whatever orifice passed for its nose.

The Travelator is Bernadette Jackson, travel business owner, avid traveller, blogger and lover of the absurd. You can reach her at bjackson@cruiseholidays.co.uk  and on Twitter at @BJacksonCHUK. Her Facebook page is here And her website is here