Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Inside the Land of Enchantment
Well, we are back from our spring vacation to New Mexico; as a friend of mine reminded me, "You're not really going on vacation; you're just having a change of venue."
With a 2-year-old, that is certainly true. Actually, Veeka was a real trooper the first day of our trip when Southwest Airlines decided to bump us from our flight. I had been up to 2 a.m. getting ready but I had NOT printed out our boarding passes, thinking that we'd be at the airport (BWI) in plenty of time. Well, we were there in plenty of time, but Southwest overbooked and everyone except 4 of us had boarding passes already in hand. I was so furious having to stand there and watch my direct flight to Albuquerque take off without us. As I sat there and argued with agents (who eventually booked us on a flight going out the next morning but connecting in St. Louis), Veeka happily played with people and had a lovely time. That night, some friends from Baltimore (where we were stranded) picked us back up from the airport and lodged us at their place close by.
Finally by late Saturday afternoon we were in Albuquerque but the delay had caused me to miss a highly desired day of skiing at Ski Santa Fe, the mountain directly behind the city. Sigh. Spent Sunday following a Palm Sunday procession around the town plaza, shopping at my favorite art galleries and then relaxing at the spa of spas: Ten Thousand Waves right outside of the city. Pictured here is Veeka dressed in her cute little kimono by the outdoor hot tub. Snow is somewhere in the background. We splashed and played for about an hour, sipping the cucumber water provided by the spa.
But something went wrong either there or at the Italian restaurant we had dinner at because at midnight, I awoke to a full-blown case of food poisoning. Was up all night emptying my stomach. Was so weak by the morning, I could hardly stand up. Somehow I managed to get packed and get us both to Taos, about an hour down the road. Collapsed at the home of some friends who are doctors in Taos. Veeka loved the balcony of this cool home plus walking in the sagebrush with Alan, our host. His wife, Gillian, is the only cardiologist for miles around. They live on the mesa just west of town, which comes with some gorgeous views.
The scenery at this city 7,000= feet up is so stunning with mountains simply everywhere and the clearest light imaginable. Perfect for artists. By Tuesday, I had recovered enough to go skiing at Taos - a great resort - while Veeka cavorted in the Kinder Kare program where of course she was a hit. However, my friends' home was NOT childproofed, so I was continually watching Veeka to make sure she did not pour something awful onto their carpets.
Wednesday we left for Farmington. A blocked mountain pass meant we had to go north via Antonito, then south through the Cumbres pass into Chama, then west on Highway 64, all of which are my old haunts from the time I lived there in 1995. We stayed at the home of my friend Kathy, whose farm fascinated Veeka to no end. Will try to include a photo of her trying to feed a goose. She thought the hens, dogs, cats, pet rat and cockatoos were pretty cool too.
We spent Thursday shopping around the Navajo reservation for just the right handmade rug (they are not cheap) made out of wool from the old Spanish Churro sheep. The weavers spin their own wool and the weaver from whom I bought a rug - pictured here - had appropriately calloused hands from the rough wool. She took 4 months to make what you see here in her spare time. If you are fortunate enough to meet the weaver of your rug, it's OK to ask lots of questions as to what went into the making of it. She - her name was Shirley - was so happy that I chose her rug; apparently it was a nice financial windfall for her. There are lots of weavers competing for this luxury market but then again, they are unique. I bought mine at the Two Grey Hills trading post. Two Grey Hills is a type of weaving whereby you use only the natural colors that come on sheep: Browns, whites and blacks. Other Indian styles employ dyed colors. Anyway, it'd been a longtime dream of mine to get a Two Grey HIlls rug. We also dropped by the nearby Toadlena trading post which also had great rugs costing more than $10,000 - with incredible craftmanship.
The next day, I hung around with the Exxons - my former neighbors in Farmington - and we had a picnic by the Animas River. Because of the spike in natural gas sales, Farmington's economy is doing real well these days. All of the Four Corners area is profiting from that. Then it was a four-hour drive back to Albuquerque, then an uneventful (thank God) flight back to Baltimore. I so enjoyed the beauty everywhere we went: the oranges and blues on the reservation; the blues and greens of Taos and the full moon over Albuquerque.