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ANTHONY BOURDAIN PARTS UNKNOWN
Parts Unknown: New Mexico
Aired December 21, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: Since I was 14 years old, I always wore cowboy boots. Maybe because my little boy role models were always the men in the black hats. Richard Boone in "Have Gun Will Travel," Robert Vaughn in "The Magnificent Seven." "Silent Killers." Men with pasts. Men from somewhere else who found themselves in the great American West. A place where reinvention, a new life was always possible. As long as you were willing to kill for it.
The Western myth has pretty much captured the American imagination. None of us can escape it. For ages, we identified ourselves with the image of the lone cowboy, the perception of frontier values, self- sufficiency, rugged individualism, the freedom of wide open spaces.
Few places in America still manage to embody that mythic landscape of the imagination like the state of New Mexico. What does freedom mean? It's different things to everybody, it seems, but something about this place manages to catch the overlap between a whole hell of a lot of very different cultures.
Old Route 66 runs through New Mexico like a collapsed vein, right through Santa Fe and Albuquerque. It must have seemed like magic once. Families loaded in a massive chrome and steel chariots with powerful V8 engines and took off down that black hop highway. They swept in whimsical motor lodges and bungalows, swam in kidney-shaped pools. Then it all went redundant.
Route 66 was decommissioned, chopped up, largely forgotten, except by desperate and lazy travel show hosts.
Does anyone else at CNN do this, like drive around at like 10:15 at night looking for tacos? Yes. Probably.
I'll say this. The strip takes on a much more interesting look at night. You can imagine Dennis Hopper huffing nitrous and dismembering somebody over an unrolled tarp in any one of those sinister-looking motel rooms. Cool.
Hopefully the tacos first, because after you do the meth you really aren't going to want to eat. In ancient times, really drivers would hang the testicles of their enemies on their rear-view mirrors.
Best-case scenario around here, in my humble opinion, taco truck, of which there are quite a few. Parking lot, the smell of mystery parts on a griddle, yes. Knowing my love of all things Mexican, you might expect me to be eating tacos for the next hour.
It's good without the live stance. Damn you, tacos village. Come for the vistas, stay for the tacos.
Thirty rounds per magazine of steel jacketed destruction as fast as your finger can pull the trigger. You might well ask yourself, why the hell would anybody need a weapon like this? The AR-15 is one of the weapons most reviled by gun opponents. It's also America's favorite rifle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never thought I'd say that a guy from New York is a natural when it comes to shooting an AR-15 in New Mexico, but I'm impressed.
BOURDAIN: As a nation, we love them. There are about four million in circulation. Those are the facts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, AR-15 is a semiautomatic civilian version of an M-16. And the funny thing is, is that in relation this gun is almost identical to this gun, but this is the one that's evil. Shoots the same caliber, the same magazine capacity, just looks a little different.
BOURDAIN: I'm an East Coast guy. I'm a New Yorker. But I come from a place where a glimpse of a weapon on somebody at a bar in the street is reason for panic. Here, and in much of America in between New York and L.A., you walk into a bar, you see somebody with a weapon, it's like, you know, that's my neighbor, you know, maybe he's going hunting. Maybe he's -- who knows? Most of the people you know own guns?
Most people you know own guns?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty much everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a rifle before I had a baseball bat.
BOURDAIN: Meet Jesse, Bill, Bo, and Daniel. Pretty much who we are talking about when we see the latest stats on gun purchases in America and shake our heads uncomprehendingly. That cultural divide, much more than policy, is what's kept the issue of gun control so polarized and so, frankly, hopeless.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had a gun before he had a baseball bat. I'm in the same situation. I was shooting a BB gun when I was 5 years old and I knew at that time it wasn't a toy, it was a weapon, and I was very well-educated by my father on the responsible use of that piece of equipment. And that's what's critical to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I shoot all the time and I'm always trying to shoot better than I did last week. It's relaxing. You're out with friends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's fun.
BOURDAIN: There's a dark little Genie in all of us, I think, that wants to pick up a gun, point it at something, and blast away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a new Springfield Arm nine millimeter with 19 round clip.
I like guns. I don't own a gun, but I like holding them. I like shooting them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a Glock .22. It's cheaper than a 40 caliber.
BOURDAIN: There is something compelling, an eerie rush, an unholy sense of empowerment feeling the warm glow of these heavy iconic shapes in your hands.
Get off my lawn, you kids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a 357 Magnum. It's an eight-shot revolver.
BOURDAIN: Bigger kick on this guy. Yes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little bit.
BOURDAIN: You just can't help silently mouthing, "Make my day" or "Feeling lucky, punk."
You could do this all day.
Whatever your opinion on the subject, fact is, gun culture runs deep in this country.
This is what I grew up with, yes. This is -- I shot my very first turkey with this gun at 12 years old, actually. That's a 22 rim fire cartridge. And that is probably the type of firearm that most kids start off with.
BOURDAIN: These guys, I'm guessing, are not people I should be worried about. They are nice. And exceedingly patient with a city boy who wants to play with their guns.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That there is a 338 Winchester magnum. That's a big cartridge, heavy bullet kind of for very large game like elk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a target up on that hillside. Can you see it?
BOURDAIN: Now watch Mr. New York City liberal shoot that target out there from 244 wind-swept yards.
Oh, wow. Now am I accounting for windage dropping, and wind distance -- what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you want to aim 13 millimeters to the left, four millimeters high and you'll hit dead-center.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, hold it right on.
I'm just making a joke.
BOURDAIN: Taking advantage of the city boy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That wind's got to be 20 miles an hour.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Holding the rifle in this wind without a brace is tough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All eyes are on you, no pressure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty close, huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He may have been a hair left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little high that time, I think.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shooting real good, though, tony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, you're not missing it by much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're real close. You'd be hitting them. Exhale. Squeeze.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest thing is just let it surprise you. As you're pulling the trigger, squeeze it slow. And every time it goes off, it should surprise you, that way you don't flinch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That looked right on. That looked right on to me.
BOURDAIN: I got to tell you, I'm proud of myself. I was like, somewhere in the neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a natural.
BOURDAIN: You think that, like, people who just don't like the idea of guns, if they had a day out here shooting targets --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely.
BOURDAIN: -- I suspect a fair number of them would at least temper their views somewhat. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A thousand percent. Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you definitely get a respect for the power of it, for sure.
BOURDAIN: Generally speaking, me and these guys I think should feel free to buy all the guns we want. It's the rest of you I'm not so sure about.
I know how to shoot beer cans.
If the zombie apocalypse comes, I'll be ready. As long as they're holding beers.
BOURDAIN: So, when I grew up, when I was a kid, I played cowboys and Indians. The cowboy myth had such a grip on Americans' self-identity.
DAVID MANZANARES: I remember. Playing cowboys and Indians, it was just part of the culture. You looked up to John Wayne, you know, Steve McQueen. My kid, 12 years old, wouldn't even think about cowboys.
BOURDAIN: This is David Manzanares. His family has lived here for generations, tracing their roots all the way back to the Spanish conquistador.
MANZANARES: You know, those cliff walls out there, Tony, are 160 million years old. And the ones at the bottom, about 220. They're all the way back to the Triassic era.
BOURDAIN: And this is Ghost Ranch, next door to David's spread. This is the area where Georgia O'Keefe spent the last and most productive decades of her life.
MANZANARES: Now you've walked through her painting. This is what she called my country. You know, it wasn't until I was in my early 20s that I even knew who Georgia O'Keefe was.
MANZANARES: Grew up with her was being like a grandmother. It took me going into a L.A. and going into a gallery out there, I saw all these paintings. Like an idiot, I said, why did you have pictures of my house? And she said please, take a step back. That's Georgia O'Keefe's.
It's just going to get prettier. It's just going to get prettier.
BOURDAIN: One of O'Keefe's biographers infamously described this landscape, which had so captivated the artist, as garish, vulgar, and in poor taste, which if you look around is pretty hard to comprehend.
This is such the other side of the universe for somebody who lives like I do. Who live in cities, for whom a backyard this big is inconceivable. The idea that there's a certain type of personality who's drawn towards open spaces like this.
MANZANARES: You know, this country, it either embraces you or within a year it spits you out.
BOURDAIN: We reached the end of our trail at a place called Valley of Thieves, once said to be a haven for infamous cattle wrestlers, of course.
They call it the rabbit. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about. Jesus, I'm in my 50s. Everything sits still with -- find a distinguished segue into adulthood one of these days.
Three generations of Manzanares are here with me this evening. Herman, David, and Max. We'll do our best to put together a little meal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody want some coffee?
BOURDAIN: I'll take some of that. Who am I kidding? I'm a city boy. Yes. Trying to get all Jack Palance here. Come on. Who am I kidding?
We're also joined by Dan Flores, respected authority, professor of history, author of the book "Horizontal Yellow: Nature and History in the Near Southwest."
How Spanish is New Mexico still? I mean, how powerful are the echoes from Spain?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spain was in control of New Mexico for far longer than Mexico was. I think a lot of these New Mexican families are 10 generation and 11 generation. When they look back on themselves, they think of themselves as Spanish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those traditions, they've continued to thrive in these little pockets. We're cut off from Spain. So I once worked with people from Spain and they kept cutting up, snickering at me. What they told me was OK, you can knock it off with the Don Quixote phraseology.
The equivalent of me today talking -- top of the morning to you, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they're like stop making fun of us. And I said you know what? I'm not making fun of you. That's the way we speak. You know, we go see grandpa, that's all he knows is 500-year- ago Spanish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe if we're lucky enough, we'll have grandpa play his harmonica the way he used to on the cattle drives. BOURDAIN: But I have a plan here on this meat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, the meat is yours.
BOURDAIN: All right, good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just call me cooky. Some good local beef, glowing hot coals, cast iron pan.
Want to puree the green chilies here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: Beautiful. Yes. I'm going to throw those chilies in, a little -- stew it for a few minutes, and it'd be good. I just need a few splashes of like an open beer. Beautiful.
Check it off the chuck wagon greatest hits, we've got some beans, some potatoes, some corn bread. We do our best.
This is just about ready.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's eat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dig in.
BOURDAIN: We done good, gentlemen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No kidding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, tony. This is excellent.
BOURDAIN: I'm wondering, you guys have been here for so long, your family, could you live anywhere else?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not me. No, not me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is home. I always get called back here. You know, I visited Paris and lived in L.A. for a while.
And, you know, Paris is pretty great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty great. It's pretty great. But it's not here.
BOURDAIN: Dan, I'm curious to know why you chose -- why you came here initially?
DAN: Open space. Because I had grown up in a circumstance where you couldn't see 50 feet. I mean, the forest was so dense. I used to climb up into the top of the tree on the highest hill just to be able to see over the forest. So it was something about the idea of being able to see the landscape that really compelled me so.
BOURDAIN: The big empty makes a real deep, deep sense to a certain type of person. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BOURDAIN: Since before 1598, when Santa Fe was established as a province of New Spain, grizzled frontiersmen and hearty pioneers have come to this unforgiving landscape to eke out a difficult existence.
Welcome to Santa Fe today. Where we can all live the Western dream and even buy a little piece of it to take home. You got to love it. We pretty much eradicate the Native American culture, and now in newer, more politically correct times, we decide we love Indians and all things Native American. And we're kind of, but not really sorry. But how much is that (INAUDIBLE). That's not all. The new West is inclusive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to Santa Fe.
BOURDAIN: You've got a whole spectrum of new age crystal types seeking spiritual purity and intensity in the harsh, yet beautiful landscape. It's the last place in the U.S. you can wear buckskin and fringe without irony. While holding a Buddhist blanket.
There is, very deep inside this ordinary-looking five and dime, something truly authentic.
Hi. Frito pie and a soda, please? This is the Frito pie. As American as apple pie or the Manhattan project, and nearly as deadly. Canned Hormel chili and day-glow orange cheese-like substance dropped like a deuce, another roller in the night, right into a bag of Fritos.
It feels like you're holding warm crap in a bag. Close your eyes and I put this in your hand, you would be very worried. (INAUDIBLE). Imposed everything this dish (INAUDIBLE), and yet, it is also delicious. Neither the Frito nor the Frito pie are indigenous to New Mexico. They were actually Texan.
New Mexico, you have many wonderful things. Let Texas have this one. I managed to reach a depth of self-loathing that usually takes a night of drinking to achieve. You find the Frito pie experience like you finished Tequila drinking and a strip club.
A warm, spreading glow fills my belly as I set out once more in my mighty Ford Galaxy. Yet I am also depressed.
Frito pie. I smell metaphor. Speaking of explosive diarrhea -- did you know that the first ever atomic bomb was exploded in 1945 in the desert of New Mexico? Sushi bars, galleries, wrecking massage studios. Crystals? We got them.
I think I need to adjust my vent or something because I just see dark portents in all of this.
DAN FLORES: Well, there are a lot of dark portents.
BOURDAIN: That today is Frito pie. FLORES: This food will lighten you up, I guarantee you.
BOURDAIN: Horseman's Haven Cafe sits next to a gas station that is about as far away from the plaza as you can get without leaving the Santa Fe city limits.
FLORES: It has a special feel of chilies grown specifically for this restaurant and nowhere else.
BOURDAIN: I meet back up with Dan Flores for a little historical perspective over some of Santa Fe's most beloved New Mexican fare.
FLORES: I've known people who have journeyed 300 or 400 miles to come and eat at Horseman's Haven.
BOURDAIN: Enchilada with carne. Cubed pork in red New Mexican chili sauce with beans and rice. Got to have that. Some pasole, a stew made from soaked hominy and pork. And sopapilla. A fried bread like a spoon bread or a Johnny cake.
Did the early Spaniards, early cattle, railroad men, and -- you know, the people on their way to making this America, were they romantic about this part of the world?
FLORES: They thought of it as a hard place. For one thing, it was exceedingly remote. When you were here, this seemed like one of the farthest reaches of the globe. I mean, initially, Americans began coming here because they perceived that Santa Fe was so remote from the rest of the Spanish empire that it was possible for the United States to pluck it. I don't think anybody becomes a romantic about it probably until the Taos painters arrive.
BOURDAIN: Starting a long-running tradition of artistic pilgrimages to catch the spiritual groove, every kind of utopian dreamer, eccentric, new ager, they all came here in search of whatever. Mmm, chilies.
All right. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Level three.
FLORES: That's level three? All right. We will be careful indeed.
BOURDAIN: New Mexican chilies come in two varieties, red or green.
FLORES: That's the, by the way, the state question in New Mexico.
BOURDAIN: Red or green?
FLORES: Red or green.
BOURDAIN: Ordinarily, I like green. It's like Yankees or Mets. You've got to pick one. This green, however, is not ordinary green.
My face is burning off.
This ain't normal. Oh, god. This hurts.
FLORES: I'm going to join you. Faith lies right here.
BOURDAIN: Def-con one, two, three. It's a slow roll. First you think it's going to be OK. Then it's not. There's nothing you can do but wait it out. I believe they use the same peppers in pepper spray.
FLORES: Or repelling grizzly bears if that tells you anything.
BOURDAIN: Yes. A shot glass of that will put you in the hospital.
FLORES: No kidding. Everybody in the restaurant seems so calm. Maybe they're not eating this.
BOURDAIN: They're all just trying to muffle their screams.
BOURDAIN: History, they say, belongs to the victors. And here, where the myth of the American West took root, where so much romantic lore began, history was being rewritten almost as soon as it happened. This was never the big empty. As Dan Flores writes the idea of a wilderness is itself a cultural construct.
As early as 1539 when Marcos De Niza, a Franciscan friar, reported sighting from a distance what he called the seven cities of Cibola, these were interpreted as tantalizing outposts of wealth, possible cities of gold. Coronado, the famous Spanish conquistador, quickly dispatched an expedition and there were indeed cities.
Thank you for having us.
The home of community leader Ivan Pino in Zia Pueblo. I'm here to join him and his nephew Robert and family in a traditional hunt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we'll be carrying our shotguns. We'll be carrying our rabbit stick. Do this in a bar, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's harder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always good to get a prayer going so that the animals can be willing to take their life. (Speaking in Foreign Language)
BOURDAIN: The Pueblo who lived here continuously since around 1250 A.D. had long before the Spanish or anyone else arrived a highly organized society. They built multi-level adobe apartment blocks. They farmed the land. Irrigated crops using intricate water diversion systems. All this in what sure as hell looked like a harsh and unforgiving land.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is good weather, though, for hunting because it's a nice breeze, overcast.
BOURDAIN: Yes. The breeze is beautiful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not too hot.
BOURDAIN: Pueblo long ago learned to adapt to hard times, dry seasons, war, incursion. There were years where there was nothing. And they had to deal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found a pack rat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our first pack rat.
BOURDAIN: In preparation for the summer solstice ceremony, game like rabbits and pack rats are collected for the medicine man as a payment for his services.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How you notice is there's some droppings, fresh droppings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the droppings, you know there's one around. At this time of the day, they're going to be inside their homes. There's too many predators around.
BOURDAIN: It's not easy. Once you find a nest, you got to dig after the little burrowing bastards. You hack, you dig. You dig some more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of work for a small rodent.
BOURDAIN: I was just thinking that. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what our ancestors had to do sometimes. You know, when times got hard. Right now there's this drought going on. And if we didn't have the grocery stores --
Then hopefully you flush one cleanly --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got it right here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
BOURDAIN: And give him a good whack on the head.
The ratio of work to protein is not a hunter's favor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's whiskers. A little bit of his tail. And plant it back in here.
BOURDAIN: To ensure regeneration of this once vital source of food, tradition and ritual requires returning a part of the animal back to the nest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will never go hungry.
BOURDAIN: Going for pack rats is really an homage, an acknowledgement of an important earlier time when that was all there was. The 25-year great drought.
As a city boy, I am greatly relieved these little critters are for the medicine man and that we won't actually be eating any of them. Instead, Linda, Ivan's wife, is preparing a pretty traditional menu.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing is wasted when our game is brought home. You know, we dry up and dehydrate the bone.
BOURDAIN: Deer bone stew, red chili stew cooked with dried elk and potatoes, pinto beans with chicos, that's roasted dried corn, and tortillas. And of course, more chilies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We call this, this dish, pusharound chili because you gather and push around.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Push around until you see the one you want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: The chilies in this state are magical.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). And the seeds have been passed on from generation to generation. They stay within the families.
BOURDAIN: What percentage of young people leave and don't come back?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not too many people will leave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. There are people who leave, but eventually there's this yearning inside you that you want to go home, you want to learn your culture, you want to be a part of everything.
BOURDAIN: It would be an understatement to say that the first Europeans who came into contact with Indians was destructive to the culture. And given that history, how American do you feel?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This village is unique in that we can easily just, you know, ignore everything that happens out there and just keep to ourselves here, and we do that sometimes. We close the road and we take care of our own business here. But it really varies by individual. And maybe even by generation. We have a veteran, a veteran, a veteran that all served in our armed forces.
BOURDAIN: A big tradition of serving in the military.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We continue to be outdoorsmen. And we are survivors. I've dealt with the elements of the dust, the rain, the hail. But it made a better person out of me. We are who we are. We're still going to be here.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BOURDAIN: Look up in the dark. The night sky. Uncontaminated by the light of any nearby cities, you can see things. And of course, you've got a rich tradition of actual, real-life spooky science fiction stuff. The Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, nuclear missile silos hidden deep beneath the desert floor. It's out there.
So where are we?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ground zero of where everything seems to have started.
BOURDAIN: Submitted for your approval. Norio and his friend James, two men associated with the New Mexico UFO and paranormal forum.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is where America's rocketry actually started.
BOURDAIN: At the end of World War II, classified units of the CIA and army intelligence were busy sandbagging and sneaking away from probable prosecution, cadres of the world's best rocket scientists. Did I mention they were Nazis? Oh yes, many of them were sent around here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other very mysterious things even took place, allegedly, in 1947.
BOURDAIN: 1947, Roswell incident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. That's still a mystery.
BOURDAIN: Some say. You notice how they always say that in those dubious cheaply reenacted doc shows. Some say it was the remains of an alien space craft. Any who, back then they were working on some pretty cool stuff. For instance, a Mylar-like weather balloon designed to carry high-resolution cameras across the Soviet Union.
When they got way up in the atmosphere they pancake out like a flying saucer.
Might that explain the excessive zeal and mysterious behaviors? I mean, if one of these things crashed in the desert, you can well understand that a whole bunch of sinister-looking bodies would show up and start telling people never speak of this incident and --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it's hard to say, but any military could create a cover story for anything.
BOURDAIN: Any possibility of like, cyborgs or aliens?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you know, I've heard that there is and then I've heard there isn't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're taking you to a place, an undisclosed location.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's known as Albuquerque's own Area 51.
BOURDAIN: There will be no probing involved. You know, because every time there's, like, alien stuff, there's always probing. Always with the probing. I don't understand. It's like, if they've been coming here for years, haven't they done enough probing?
Well, if you were like on ghost adventures, you'd be really playing this up.
Some say this area was used for sinister experiments, German-speaking cyborgs. We need to find some crack pot science. This is even better than Area 51. This is like Area 61.
Area 61 turns out to be a fenced off view of essentially Kirkland Air Force Base.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The leading edge of military research development and testing. At night, there's a lot of lights. It's a huge complex.
BOURDAIN: Fact is, there was and still is some pretty cool stuff being tested out there in the desert. Maybe for DARPA or NSA or the Air Force. Who knows?
Do you think there are -- do you think there are other life forms among us who visited this planet?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do.
BOURDAIN: Who do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, personally, I have a different opinion. This whole alien concept is a cover story in order to conceal certain kinds of projects, but I could be wrong. But I try to be a realist but I'm open to anything.
BOURDAIN: What is for certain and has been authentically documented on film is that somewhere out there among the silos, underground cities, supposed nuclear waste dumps and alien burial grounds, there is a large animal and a hole in the ground.
What strange beast even now is being loaded into a grave size pit in the desert for me?
BOURDAIN: Well, since the beginning of civilization, I think one of the first things we -- any society learned to do is dig a hole, throw an animal in it, you know, cook it.
They call it around here a matanza.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three, up, up, up.
BOURDAIN: It's pretty much an old-school version of a barbecue in the sense that it involves burying a giant pig and the imbibing of much alcohol. About 20 minutes from the nearest paved road is a place called Dead Horse Ranch. People who help us make the show, their families, friends and no shortage of local New Mexican characters have gathered to partake in the festivities.
There is beer here. Plenty of it, local and delicious. And abundant. Did I say that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tony, need a drink?
BOURDAIN: There are very tasty and lethal as it turns out margaritas and I believe to the best of my recollection anyway that I soon made the classic error of moving from margaritas to actual shots of straight tequila. It does make it easier to meet new people.
Let me ask you. Why is it that any time an alien visits like America, there's always anal penetration involved?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never heard it before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ever. No. Am I into that?
BOURDAIN: But the pig, the pig. What about that body in the desert? Some say the tradition of the matanza dates back to Moorish times, when the eating of pig had to be clandestine. But a bit of history you can verify this pig has been cooked slow over hot coals for the last 17 hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I kind of peak on its ass. It looks delicious.
BOURDAIN: Frank here, he knows. He runs Poncho's Barbecue in Albuquerque.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just start sticking to a part of this.
BOURDAIN: Time to get slicing. I step in to help Frank break my piggy friend down into his constituent parts.
First off go the legs, what you call your fresh ham. Then your four quarter, your shoulders and whatnot. The loin and rib section, your pork belly. Nothing goes to waste. All those pig parts sent down the line to Harold who's been using them for a veritable rainbow of New Mexico specialties.
None of our 300-pound friend will go to waste. He's gotten shredded for tacos, added to the beans, cooked up with pasole, going into chili. Red or green.
Oh, yes, that's going to be beautiful.
The tenderloin I set aside for a little time on the grill. Everyone here has put in a lot of work. And they're hungry. Time to eat.
I didn't know the show was about this but I've been thinking about it a lot. This sort of cowboys, Mexicans, Indian, romantic idea. A lot of easterners came out and fell in love with this romantic notion of the West and wanted to come out here and sort of kind of create their own version of the West. Was that a good thing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what helps us as a people, as a native culture. As a culture that's been here for these years. We invite you to come and enjoy what we partake in. I mean the Indians have the beans and the chili and the corn. The Spanish people brought the pork. I mean, and we put that together and we have this meal here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People love the native culture, they love the Hispanic culture here. It wasn't always that way when I was younger.
BOURDAIN: You played cowboys and Indians as a kid. If there is one American iconic hero it's the lone cowboy. Does that have any resonance at all out here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every culture here, Mexican, Spanish, Pueblo, Reservation, white, we all are cowboys here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am a native New Mexican. I have gone through strange phases of, like, my ownership of this place. It's this weird mixed bag of everything here, all the time. And that's -- that is the identity. I don't know. It allows a certain freedom.
BOURDAIN: My desire to wear cowboy boots and put a hat on right now, you're sympathetic to that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm from New Mexico, and yes, I would like also like to put my purse word kicking boots and a hat.
BOURDAIN: Its very kind of you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tony, I got a question for you. What do you think of New Mexico? Kind of what are your thoughts?
BOURDAIN: I want try to boil it down to a simple statement. If you're an Easterner and you come out to New Mexico you start to see metaphors in everything but actually if you were to stretch a little bit you could say that New Mexico is a perfect metaphor for America.
It is a total mutation. It's got Spanish, Mexican, original American and add a tinge of radioactivity. This is what America really is. We're an immigrant culture, we are a gun culture.
The expression of American power and identity has always been the lone cowboy with a gun. That goes deep. This is the heart of the American dream, love it or hate it, this is it.