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Denver, Colorado

Skies bluer than berries by the same name and rays as strong as Hercules on steroids; a friendly face is not difficult to find here, and hostile temperaments are few and far between. The interactions are almost painstakingly polite. A bird’s-eye view of the Rockies lends itself well to post-travel reflection as the snowy tips of the mountains fade to fluffy clouds hovering beneath the massive Boeing-747 aircraft cruising through the air. Hovering in between two places is peaceful in a way– neither here nor there, left nor right.

Belief in the goodness of humankind is stronger than before the Colorado trip despite significant evidence to the contrary via newscasts and word of mouth. Not only have the best people I’ve met been random, but their karmic additions balanced whatever negative karma I acquired living in the beloved cesspit of Chicago. Every place is not the same, but no place is exceptionally different from any other, as we’re all “bugs in amber” according to Kurt Vonnegut, the late fortune-teller and social visionary. Just like revisiting a book after several years can lend one a new perspective, so too can revisiting a town or city change the way one interacts with familiar surroundings. Chicago may be flat and humid, but at least it has skyscrapers, great public transit, and racial diversity.

Denver and the Red Rocks Amphitheater reconcile charming quirk with haunting beauty to lure adventurous spirits and outdoors enthusiasts alike. A slower pace of living leads to more creative pursuits, less spending, and an overall higher quality of life. The hustle and bustle of big cities lures socialites and the likes of many a traveler, but the appeal of the West is different. Denver feels more like a big town than a small city, and it combines breathtaking scenery with downtown nightlife and a budding art scene to please even the most skeptical savant.

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