I liked Denver the first time I was there and, at the surface, it has changed little. There are however three major changes that I was going to appreciate in fullness in my two days there. The first it’s me. Last time I was here it was in the autumn of 2012 at a EDUCAUSE conference, Tarn was waiting for me home after the end of the conference and on line in the intervals of the proceedings. The second is marihuana. It was during my stay last time, which coincided with the US election and, in Colorado, the referendum for the legalisation of cannabis, that the use of marihuana was made legal in Colorado.
At first I thought I was imagining, but, chatting with the other people at the hostel, it is evident that you encounter many more people around town that are obviously intoxicated. I am, for many reasons, a strong advocate of the legalisation. The thought of a city of semi zombie creatures, however, leaves me a me a little disconcerted. Am I getting older?
The third and more striking difference this time round was was certainly my choice of company and accommodation. Last time it was conference people, academics and hotel, this time it is junkies, un or underemployed peoples and a hostel. I was looking forward to my two days in Denver in a hostel as a easy way to catch up with my technology and enjoy the company of fellow travellers, what I discovered was that hostels in US cities are rather different places to what I had encountered in other places in the world. The Denver International Hostel was a rathe run down place where the majority of people were US citizen divided in three main categories: ex homeless people that had put together just enough money to swap the street with this better accommodation, underemployed people that cannot afford a standalone rent or young people that have just landed into town and are searching for work and this is the only thing they can, at the moment afford.
My disappointment was only momentary as I quickly discovered that these people are among the best of us. I could not detect in any of the people that I spent time with an ounce of greed or envy. They were happy to share the little they had and happy to engage in rather more educated conversations than I have enjoyed in the days in the country with the “settled” Americans.
Of course the star of the show was Ramon, a second generation Dominican from New York that worked part time as a translator and had very strong left leaning views on the world. Aside from having a blast talking to him and the others, he also gave me the opportunity to shed some of the rust on my Spanish.
The second night I temporarily left the have not and rejoined the the have. I went downtown and had a $100 meal at Ruth’s Chris Steak House and then off to the movies to see Suicide Squad on a luxury reclining theatre chair. #thisisamerica
Only one thing was left for me to do before leaving Denver, it is one of those novelty locations, like Nebraska which I like to throw into the mix of this trip. on the 5th of June 1983 U2 recorded a concert in Denver Red Rock Amphitheater that went on becoming both a feature film and an album with the title: Under a Blood Red Sky. I have listened to it many many times growing up and watched the video too. Now I was going to go to the very venue.
And this is it with cities for another while, it’s back to the mountains and some hiking now.