Are you afraid of the dark? Maybe of spiders? Or perhaps your fears stem from
unknowns, magic, mortality, or other mysteries of the terrestrial world?
If you’re like us, a little loony but adventurous, you might get an
adrenaline rush from fears especially those unexplainable fears. Fears
that stimulate your mind, and make you ponder the cosmos. Appetites for thinking tinker with time, space, and even life outside our precious Milky Way galaxy. Nah, could it be?
Out there is space, in Captain Kirk’s final frontier, are there galaxies
full of alien beings? Some say they beam us messages or even visit us. Is the cosmos a club-med for aliens? Do these Martians fly in spaceships or unidentified flying objects or UFOs for a closer look at us peewees?
Questions like these pique curiosity seekers from young to old, and from all walks
of life And the one place they go to get definitive answers—the most scientifically valid answers is
none other than where alien study has become a booming tourist industry.
Welcome to Roswell, New Mexico.
You may be wondering, like I was, why
visit Roswell? After all, Roswell is four hours south of Albuquerque, in
an oasis among the arid, flat tundra stretching for miles without a blimp
of civilization. A one-time incidental town to the notorious Walker Air
Force Base, a WW II boiling room for A-bomb research. If
only a speck on the map, why does this city hypnotically compel the
average person to hit the dusty trail and make annual pilgrimages there?
What are its attractions? It’s no New York, Paris, or Rome. You
go to these hyperactive metro-cities for roaring excitement,
microbreweries, and late-night carousing. You go to Roswell if you believe
what Fox Mulder from the X-Files believed in—the truth is out there.
Ever since that 1943 headlines in the Roswell Times read, “Spaceship
Crashes" Roswell earned an indelible place on the New Mexico map as
the central leader in UFO intelligence. The controversy stirred about a
crashed alien ship, inspired by first-hand accounts, radio broadcasts and
a botched Air Force investigation, has turned from urban legend to fact.
Skeptics and believers alike, flock to Roswell
for the cerebral challenge, or pure amusement of witnessing a city in love
with its symbolic mascot—the alien—seen in store after store on
T-shirts, mugs, key chains, posters, mouse-pads, and even the food. Is it
that addictive? You better believe it.
And in Roswell, unlike any other place on Earth, you can experience a
close-encounter of the first-kind about the government cover-up, and
burgeoning UFO technology.
We’re not rustic, and really hated the idea of traversing the empty desert
without ample gas stations, an accessible bathroom or places to eat. Call
us Holiday-Inn people, if you must, but we figured the fun is arriving,
not the journey there. So, we booked a 45 minute flight on MESA Airlines,
the only commuter jet service from Albuquerque to Roswell.
For a reasonable price, you too, can enjoy the intimacy of the co-pilot
doubling as flight attendant for us 20 or so passengers. You land at
Roswell airport, a stone's throw from Main Street, the artery that runs
through town. As obvious out-of-towners, loaded with cameras and luggage, we clumsily moved
along to the car-rental counter, and experienced the first of many
yet-to-come hospitalities from the Roswell people. The Avis agent went out
to the parking lot and drove the car up to us at the curb. As a frequent flyer from Portland, Maine, to
Portland, Oregon, I have never had an Avis agent cater to me that way.
Where to eat and sleep
There are plenty of great places to sleep with two more inns under construction
when we were there. The Holiday Inn Express where we stayed posted a Yahoo
weather map in the elevator everyday to inform tourists of the anticipated
Popular fast food restaurants featured alien menus with
alien faces on their signage out front. The natives swore the Cattle
Baron's steak house was the best place to eat in town. For those who want
to save money, there is Cici's with its combination pizza and salad bar
with prices so low you'll be able to feed the whole family without blowing
your souvenir budget.
The UFO industry
Reminders of the UFO industry abound everywhere around Roswell. Storefronts feature
alien faces. Street lights are painted with menacing alien eyes that
follow you up and down Main Street. Some of the UFO shops sold treats or
desserts to famished visitors.
Real estate offices and government buildings have alien signs as well. Many UFO
stores do double duty by selling food and souvenirs in order to earn your
Probably the most visited landmark is the Roswell International UFO Museum with its
free admission to a host of fascinating things you may have read about or
always wanted to see. The adjoining bookstore caters to the enthusiast as
well as the family wanting to buy T-shirts or alien glasses for the kids.
AAER meets Guy Malone of Alien Resistance.org
Across the street is the ever-popular Alien Resistance Organization which pulls
double duty by renting computer time for natives to access their e-mail or
surf the web via a rapid cable connection. Proprietor Guy Malone has many
stories to share with tourists regarding alien visitors.
The biggest event of all in Roswell is the July 4th anniversary
when the town gathers popular international speakers for its holiday
festivities. The downtown district relies heavily on tourist traffic to
support local businesses. Some of the shop owners retired from other parts
of the United States and came to Roswell to sell souvenirs and hang out
with other Roswellians intrigued with the subject of aliens and UFOs.
Street lights with alien eyes watch Roswell tourists, so pack the camper or motor home and plan that
next super vacation to Roswell, New Mexico. Everyone in Roswell has
something to sell or stories to tell. You'll never know who or what you may meet around
the next corner.