Saturday, February 07, 2004

Saturday 31st  

On Saturday we were to set out on a quest across New Mexico, via Taos Pueblo which I felt compelled to visit, that would eventually end, on Monday, in Mesa Verde which I’ve been longing to see. We stopped en route in one of many Casinos built on a reservation; gambling is a main source of income (and troubles) for many tribes. It was a bit grim, and very dull, despite the fact I won a whole 75 cents on my $3 gaming…

Taos Pueblo was one of the most fascinating places I’ve been (I feel like I’m running out of superlatives) It was beautiful but, for fairly obvious reasons, kind of disturbing too. There’s an element of it being a cultural theme park which made me squirm; the voyeurism of tramping into other peoples lives, people who have made strong and important choices and who deserve respect not tourists…but I went, and I loved it, and was happily exploited. We had a really interesting local guide, but as he told his tales of colonisation and torture I felt guilty as Hell and ashamed to have the (national) history I have. Wandering around, looking at the arts and crafts and soaking up the history was incredibly moving and I lingered a long time.

When we left Taos we planned t o drive through Carson National Forest to Farmington, (crossing the Continental divide, and enabling us to go to the four corners en route to Mesa Verde) It stared well; more breathtaking mountain scenery, this time almost made too cute to be true by a smattering of snow…but the smattering got bigger and bigger and turned into a blizzard as the roads got slipperier and slipperier and I’ll admit I got a little scared. Signposts were almost buried – meaning 7 feet or so of snow – and after turning one particularly nervewracking corner there was a White out, couldn’t even see the end of the bonnet, and we had to turn around. I was pretty relived, and I’d like it noted that Kellie is an excellent driver. Unlike many of the wankers about, especially in SUVs.

On the way back into Taos we stopped for a bit the Rio Grande, you will be pleased to know I did indeed have a full blown I’m in Duran Duran fantasy moment (Was this indeed the eponymous Rio? curiously the official site of special interest sign didn’t say. I’m looking quizzically in Kirsty’s direction as I post this, of course).

Most of the sign posts had been shot at – one gunsmiths offered a dozen red roses with a purchase and a two hour lesson to get a license – and we passed a solar village before we ended up at a very nice motel. I guess this was compensation for cutting the trip short; we stayed in a really nice suite.

I sat in the bar drinking G and T, trying to have a Scarlet Johannsen moment, but the place was empty except for a sullen looking woman who I think was in drag and a group of jocks; everyone was talking about the superbowl. The bar tender gave me change for a fifty dollar bill; I had given him a ten so I returned the money and then went back to the room to watch TV and have another drink in peace. Cliché 58: Life isn’t like the movies. But you really should see Lost in Translation, its ace.


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