Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

How to Tell a Santa Fean from a Tourist Part I

If at a stop light when the light turns green, Santa Feans will not attempt a left hand turn before the oncoming cars. Those drivers are from Pittsburgh.

If your refrigerator stops running in Chicago, the owner will call a repair person. A Santa Fean will shake her head and say, “Damn, Mercury must be in retrograde. I hope the milk won’t spoil before  it goes direct.”

If you are  in a grocery checkout line in Santa Fe and you live in Santa Fe, you and the clerk will chat, saying, “Hi, how are you? What a cute dog! Is your mother feeling better today? Ohhhh, what a pretty dress! Are you making salsa with the tomatillos?” The person standing next in line pounding her fist on the counter is from NYC.

If you are walking around Santa Fe in shorts in summer, you are a tourist. If you are a man walking around in shorts in the winter, you are a Santa Fean.

If the host of a party says “dress is casual,” men in Atlanta will wear chino pants, a blue oxford cloth shirt and navy blazer; the women will wear a floral print dress with strappy sandals. In Santa Fe, the men will wear a tee shirt without a logo as will the women.

If you are visiting Santa Fe and mindlessly reading a map as you cross Canyon Road without looking out for traffic, let me say in all seriousness, don’t. The passenger in the car coming straight at you is saying to the driver, “Five points for the man in the chino pants.”

Now, your turn. Write me. How can you tell a Santa Fean from a tourist?


  1. Betsy says:

    Here’s two more:

    Tourists will pronouce the “L”s in “Cerillos”. Natives will say the “Y” sound.

    Tourists who want to try both red and green chili will ask for red and green chili. Natives will just say “Christmas.”

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