Denver Colorado

| August 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

In 2016, a work assignment brought me to Denver, Colorado. It was Nov 8, the day Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.

I arrived in Denver after a long flight from London, premium economy, one of the perks of work travel. I collected my rental car and, thanks to the wonders of modern satellite navigation, I found my hotel. I was tired after the flight but anxious to explore my new surroundings. I had a quick shower, changed into some fresh clothes and felt ready. I asked at reception about where to eat and they suggested a Mexican restaurant nearby called Hacienda. In the United States, my experience has been they expect you to drive everywhere so I had to clarify that it was walking distance, which it was. After sitting for nine hours, I needed to stretch my legs.

Leaving the hotel, I felt excited, the way I always do in the first hours after arriving at a new destination. What would it be like? Would I meet interesting people? With a tingle of anticipation, I walked in the direction of the restaurant. It was late evening and the moon glowed high above my head. I wondered if my family at home in Ireland looked up at the same moon. So far apart yet joined by that heavenly orb.

My hotel was located near an industrial area with very little residential homes. A busy highway ran nearby, carrying a flow of ceaseless traffic through Colorado. Considering the surroundings, I didn’t have high hopes for the restaurant. As I approached Hacienda, I was pleasantly surprised. People sat around fire pits outside enjoying a drink while inside, many others waited inside for a table. First things first, time to sample some of this Colorado beer I heard so much about.

I asked a couple of guys standing at the bar for some local beer recommendations. They pointed me to a local IPA from Fort Collins, a small college town just north of Denver. Citradelic was brewed by the New Belgium brewery there and had a lovely zesty, lemony taste. I don’t normally drink IPA but it was lovely. As I toasted their good health, they asked me what brought me to Denver. I told them work and hiking in the Rockies.

‘Then of course, you’ll need to bring some bear spray,’ one of them informed me. Bear spray? I thought he was joking but he insisted it was a real product. ‘It’s a bit like the pepper spray that women carry,’ the other guy said.

‘So you have to spray it into a bear’s eyes when it’s attacking you,’ I joked.

‘Pretty much,’ they said as they took a slug of beer.

I listened politely but felt sure this was a gag they played on gullible travellers. Bear spray, really? I doubted anything could be so repulsive to deter a starving bear from using my arse as an appetiser. Now if they could weaponize Guinness farts, they might have something.

‘So, how do you feel about your new president?’ I asked. One of them glanced around quickly before punching the air with delight. ‘Thrilled but I can’t say that too loudly,’ he said. ‘I’m ex-military and he’s exactly what this country needs right now, a guy who can get things done.’

The two guys left soon after, possibly to stock up on their supplies of bear spray. I sat at an empty seat at the bar and discovered I could order food there instead of waiting for a table. The prices were cheap, about fourteen dollars for most meals. I ordered a plate of three fish tacos with rice and beans – delicious! Along with a constant supply of excellent beer, I was in heaven.

I got chatting to a couple seated next to me. They told me they were recently married and I bought them both a beer to congratulate them. We hit it off right away and spent the evening trading jokes about bear spray and Donald Trump.

‘We’re actually here to cheer ourselves up after Trump’s election,’ Shirley told me as Tom nodded glumly.

‘It shows what an unpopular candidate Hillary was,’ Tom said. ‘The ordinary people felt they had been ignored by the government and wanted change.’

We agreed that even Trump must have been surprised by his victory.

I returned to my hotel with the happy glow of good beer and new friends. The moon shone over me, lighting my path. It was liking Denver, liking it a lot.

Category: colorado, usa

About the Author ()

John Dwyer is a travel writer and blogger. His first book High Road to Tibet: Travels in China, Tibet, Nepal and India became an Amazon best-seller. His latest book Klondike House: Memories of an Irish Country Childhood recalls his years growing up on a rural farm in Ireland.

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