The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

NM/AZ 2009 Vacation: Taos to Santa Fe

Our last day in Taos — which was only our second day in Taos, as this was a very “jumpy” trip — had us leaving Gordon, Maggie, their pets, and their lovely B&B and starting off to see the Rio Grande River Gorge. It’s deep, and scenic:

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From there, we visited the Taos Pueblo, which is just on the edge of the community of Taos. In fact, according to Gordon, the Taos Pueblo sold some of their land to the community, with the stipulation that should any member of the Taos Pueblo tribe be accused of a crime in Taos, that person will be turned over to the tribe for discipline instead of being subject to local laws. The day of our visit, the pueblo was only open to visitors for a few hours due to the fact that there had been a death in the tribe. While guided tours were an option, Dave and I chose to wander around ourselves in the limited area that was open to visitors.

From what I understand, the Taos Pueblo people keep their religion and language secret. Only a few members of the tribe live in the old pueblo buildings, which lack modern plumbing and electricity. I believe those tribal members feel they have a calling to live there, whereas most Taos Pueblo live in more standard homes. Here are some pictures; the dog appeared to be the “rez dog” that dominated all the other dogs in the area.

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We then hit the road, heading south to Santa Fe along the High Road to Taos (which is what it’s called even when you’re taking it from Taos). The High Road is scenic:

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But the fun part of the High Road was discovering the Sugar Nymphs bistro in the small town of Penasco. What a delightful place for lunch! And it is housed in the same building as the Wise Fool theater, which appears to be a kind of arts theater, educational center, and community gathering place.

Once in Santa Fe, we landed at our inn of choice, the Pueblo Bonito, where we were warmly greeted by Strelsa and Phyllis, two of the innkeeping staff. Dinner that night was unspectacular, and the next morning we decided to take it easy. We began by perusing the jewelry for sale by various Indians on the plaza. I had already decided I didn’t need anything, but if I saw something I felt I couldn’t live without, I’d at least inquire as to price.

You know what? I can indeed live without that necklace I wanted, being that it cost $3500. In my world, that’s not a necklace, it’s a big chunk of a car downpayment. Beauty has its limits. On the other hand, I was massively disappointed by the redecorating at La Fonda, where we had lunch. The beautiful turquoise trim around the windows has been replaced with white, which looks fine from a distance but weak close up. As I said to a staff member who also intensely disliked the change, yes, it’s only a building, but it’s also a matter of beauty, and beauty has value. I think the recent redecorating diminished the value of the place, and I look forward to a restoration of the much lovelier turquoise. When we later went out to dinner at The Shed with our friends Bonnie and Pat, they agreed, as did some people we spoke to at Pueblo Bonito. Fortunately, The Shed has not changed. It’s perfect as it is, and its owners know not to mess with it.

One of the highlights of the visit to Santa Fe was the New Mexico History Museum, which opened just a few months ago. This is where I started to feel like I might someday understand New Mexico, to the extent that it’s possible. As I said to Dave, you can make a visit to New Mexico almost like a visit to another country, what with the Indian and Hispanic influences. An important thing to keep in mind is that the Hispanic culture in New Mexico is home-grown, coming from Spanish settlers (or invaders) centuries ago rather than being imported from a Latin American country. The museum’s Telling New Mexico exhibit brought that all together for me. I left feeling like I was just beginning to get a sense of what I didn’t know, and where I needed to go in order to learn more.

The next day, that process moved forward with the subject of my next post, the Acoma Pueblo.

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November 17, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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