Thursday, June 12, 2008

Santa Fe

My trip to Santa Fe was more fun than I expected. Friday night we walked through the town & were lucky to hit the monthly gallery stroll. The town has virtually no chain stores (though we did see a starbucks, chicos & coldwater creek on later walks). It is one huge tourist area & has a city layout similar to Jackson Hole, WY. Every other shop sells something "handmade." The problem I saw was that a lot of the goods looked mass produced rather than authentic Native American arts. There is a section of town where authorized Native American vendors are allowed to sell their wares. Their works are pretty, but more expensive than I thought.
On Saturday, we drove to Bandelier National Park. The park was created as a result of volcanic activity. It was very unusual landscape and I am very glad I was not among the ancestral people living there. It did not look like forgiving land. I was surprised at the topography of New Mexico - more like southern Colorado than Arizona. It wasn't very colorful, though you hear a lot about how inspiring the land is for artists.
After a little guided walk through the park, we headed to Los Alamos. It was a little creepy to me. A town built in the middle of nowhere upon fingerlike mesas. It was strange to see the difference between Los Alamos & Santa Fe. In Santa Fe, the building codes ensure that you are transported back in time - all brown adobe. The short drive to Los Alamos produces a normal looking town. I think the tour guide said that the high school graduation rate in Santa Fe is about 50% compared with 100% in Los Alamos - obviously a huge difference in cultural make-up of the two communities. The Native American culture values education through life experience with their elders as compared with the scientists in Los Alamos who are raising their families to value traditional education.
Saturday evening we took a train to Lamy for BBQ - bit of a switch from our southwestern fare. We ate way too much food this weekend!
Sunday morning, we were up bright & early for a guided tour of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. Then, off to the airport.

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