Friday, July 23, 2010

Acoma Pueblo

Okay, another awesome field trip. This morning I got in the Bread Loaf van with four other people and we drove to Acoma Pueblo and had a wonderful adventure together.

The Drive: Acoma is just under two hours from Santa Fe, so we prepared for quite a trip. Outside of Albuquerque out trusty driver Eileen decided to pull off for gas because we were running on empty. After driving around and trying to chase down a guy in a golf cart to get directions to a petrol station, I pulled out my handy-dandy VZNavigator. I look up stations and see one is only .8 miles away. We follow the direction to a frontage road that looks sort of lonesome but keep going. When the voice in my phone says, "You have arrived at your destination" we look around and see nothing. Not even a lonesome tumble weed blowing across the desert. We keep driving until we meet a sign that says: "Pavement ends" HA! That's awesome. Luckily a local was on the side of the road doing something to his truck and we ask for the nearest gas station. He tells us to go back the way we came, but we see a dirt road that leads to what looks like somewhere. He told us we could take it for about 10 miles and drive through a tunnel under the freeway to get to a gas station on the other side, but the road is rough. No problem. We take our rent-a-car on the rough road. It's not ours right :) We drive for about 10 miles and pass this drainage tunnel under the road but keep driving, no one really thought that was the tunnel (except me, I've seen such things in Utah plenty). We drove until the road literally ended at a creek. Although each of us contemplated our chances of fording the river and making the incline on the other side, we decided to go back and chance the tunnel. It wasn't so bad, but it was really funny. Long story long, we make it to a gas station on the other side after at least a 30 minute detour. Too fun :)

The Tunnel and Dusty Van

The Pueblo: We made it to Acoma just in time for the 12:00 tour. We hopped in the bus and followed our knowledgeable tour guide around faithfully. I learned so much. Acoma or Sky City is on top of a mesa. It is the longest inhabited pueblo in the U.S. You know Mesa Verde and parks where you go to see all the ruins of ancient Native villages? Well everyone asks where those people are or what happened to them. Apparently, they are still around, living in Acoma. I never thought of it that way, but I felt enlightened. Old villages might be abandoned, but the people aren't gone. They are still around preserving their culture (thanks heavens).
It was a really cool place. No electricity. No running water. The place is reserved for pueblo and clan members. Every clan has a house or area that everyone comes back to for religious times or feast days. Our guide was a pumpkin clan member and he showed us where he grew up. A lot of the Acoma people live in towns nearby or all over the world, but Acoma is still home.
Also, there were vendors with tables outside their homes selling famous Acoma pottery. Most of them wouldn't let us take pictures, but you would know what I'm talking about if you saw one. The traditional pots are pretty expensive, hundreds of dollars in fact. I bought an ornament and might save up for a few years to buy a pot someday.
The pueblo has a view of Enchanted Mesa. (Yes Lori and Kassie, just like in Fablehaven). That is the mesa with the legend that all the people were in the valley tending their crops when lightening struck and destroyed the stairway to the top, the only access. A woman and her daughter were trapped on the top of the mesa, so rather than starving to death, they jumped off the mesa together. The people were displaced, but lots of them just transferred to Acoma. Pictures below.

So that is my story. I saw a place where Hopi people have been living and preserving for almost a thousand years. Oh and I ran into Lee Marmon again in the museum cafe. We chatted and it was amazing. He says Utah is the prettiest state in America. That means a lot coming from someone who takes landscape photos and who is from Acoma.

P.S. Sorry this is long, but I'm done with all my homework. I'm heading home this time next week. Can't wait to sleep in my own bed, and see family. I'm missing a heck of a weekend in Pine Valley.

The mesa with Acoma on top (it's camouflage)

Me in front of the valley

Enchanted Mesa (I totally believe fairies and other magical creatures reside on top, and that if I wanted to go on top a distractor spell would lead me away hehehe. Thank you Brandon Mull)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Isotopes Baseball

Okay, I know I love the Salt Lake Bees. I mean, they're my team. But, last night I went to see the Albuquerque Isotopes play the Round Rocks. It was a pretty awesome game. The smell of kettlecorn. The taste of a ball park hot dog. Cracker Jacks (and prizes inside). The smell of grass and dirt. And of course the look of the players in uniform on the field (wink, wink, gotta love a uniform). All of it is magic to me. The game lasted 4 hours and it was only 9 innings, which is insane. The final score was 16-14 for the Topes. With such a high score, you know it had to be intense and it was. There was a grand slam and several other home runs. The fielders made some incredible catches and plays. I love minor league baseball :) Oh and there were fireworks after. I loved that part because I missed 4th of July fireworks. Pictures below.

Today I turned in a paper worth 60% of my grade. I feel a little sick, but hopefully I can fool my professor into thinking I'm brilliant. We'll see. Cross your fingers for me.

I'm headed into my last full week of school. I only meet in my classes three more times before my summer education is through. I'm a little sad to say goodbye to my friends here, but it will be nice to relax a little. I know I've been having fun, but sight seeing is different when the whole time you are away from your computer or book the worry center of my brain is exploding. So, meditation and relaxation will be much needed. One paper and two books to completion. I can do it!
Santa Fe has some of the best sunsets I've ever seen.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Taos Pow Wow!

Okay, today I went on a super cool excursion. A few of us drove up to Taos to watch the Pow Wow take place. The Taos Pueblo was closed to visitors for religious purposes. I am sad I didn't get to see the pueblo, but you gotta respect the religion. The Pow Wow was held towards the outskirts of town. We got there at 12ish and watched some dancers and listened to the drummers. The color guard brought in the flags and all the dance contestants (yes they have competitions). The leader of the colors was a really old man who was a warrior from the Taos tribe who fought in WWII. He was ancient but kicking.

While some of the tribal elders and representatives spoke, my friends and I walked around the sellers to look at their wears. I ended up with some white buffalo turquoise earrings and a piece of art. I am happy.

But by far the coolest thing I've ever seen was the dancing and the costumes. We had to pay $10 to register our cameras to let us take pictures of the events, but it was well worth it. I think I took about two hundred. I don't know if I've ever seen anything so beautiful. I'll post a few of the better pictures so you can get a sense of what went on, but I don't know how much permission I have to do that. I also have a video (without sound because of my ancient camera) that is pretty cool. I wish I could describe this, but it's one of those things you just have to see. I'll never forget it.

On the way home we passed over the Rio Grande. The gorge had a pretty cool look out so I posted some pictures of that as well. I bought a nice pendant of a stone that looks like turquoise but isn't. I asked him the name but I forgot it. It was cool, about 20 people (most of them hippie-like) were selling stuff at the pull out for really cheap. Some of the jewelers had the rocks they chip things out of in the back of their trucks. Felt like four-corners. :)
Enjoy the slide show above. I'll post a few pictures below that will stay on even when I remove the slide show.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

T-shirt Contest

Every year, each Bread Loaf campus hosts a t-shirt design contest for their campus. I entered one for the Santa Fe shirt, and I won. It should be a pretty cool shirt. I don't get anything for winning but bragging rights I guess, but that's cool. the shirt will be turquoise blue and the lettering will be rust colored (even the cowboy). Very Santa Fe. Very cool. :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Santa Fe Opera/Rafting/July Fourth

Well as usual things are crazy. I am halfway through my time here in Santa Fe and I have no idea how to get all my homework done with all the playing I'm doing (hehehe just kidding, sorta). I turned in my first papers for each of my classes last week and am happy to report that I got an A on one and an A- on the other. Not too shabby.

I also had fun this week. I'll try to keep it brief:

1. I went to the Santa Fe Opera on Friday night. It was opening night of the season and the show was Madame Butterfly. Tragically beautiful. It was a gorgeous venue because it is partially open to the environment. There was a ceiling, but no sides or back to the stage. The whole production we could see the sun set, and even cooler, the thunder/lightening/torrential down pore going on during the show. Madame Butterfly was amazingly performed, but I will never forget the storm as it raged on outside and around us. It perfectly accentuated the performances as the wind blew across stage and wrapped Butterfly in Awe-ful power. It was awesome. I wasn't allowed to take photos. Sorry. But we had a tailgate before the production. It is a Santa Fe tradition. People brought tables, themed spreads (mostly sushi and Asian type dishes), and plenty of wine. It was definitely not your average football player's tailgate. Very classy.

2. I went river rafting with two of my girlfriends on Saturday. We put in just south of Taos on the Rio Grande and floated 5 miles of the river. Our river guide Ben was freaking amazing. He used to be a metal work artist in Washington until he sold his business and traveled the country rock climbing for 3 years (yes, he spent plenty of that time in Moab). This winter was the first time he's worked in those three years. He was a ski instructor at Ski Santa Fe and now he's a river guide. What a life! Anyway, the rapids were fun and the company even better. Definitely an experience I want to have again.

3. I studied all day Sunday, except for church and fireworks. At duskish the crew hiked the mountain nearby and watched all the fireworks in the valley, but the major show happened about 10:00. It was beautiful. Again, good company, good view, equals good times. I missed Gunnison and all its celebrations. I can't believe it will be another 3 summers before I can spend a 4th with family again. But don't worry, I'm not homesick, not at all . . . maybe a little . . . but only sometimes. . . :)

Things are good. I submitted a design to the t-shirt contest here on campus for our summer shirt. We'll see how that goes. Voting is going on now until Wednesday when the winners will be announced. I'll keep you posted.