Jeff arranged for a pick up in the morning to go rock climbing and was away for the bulk of the day, so we took the opportunity to see Taos Pueblo, the oldest dwelling in North America. They make you pay for a camera permit, which is totally worth it in terms of capturing the memories, but it makes you feel a bit dirty. You aren’t allowed to take pictures of any people without their permission, and you need to be careful in some places (like the chapel, where cameras are not allowed). This wasn’t much different than some of the protocol we saw in Rome.
You could probably spend all day at the Pueblo if you really wanted to. I couldn’t help feel that it was too exploitative. Either I was exploiting them, or they were exploiting me – maybe a bit of both? There was just something forced about the exchange. Some people were very nice, some were less so.
We snacked on “fry bread,” a native specialty. We tried blue corn bread first, drizzled with local honey. Then we sampled some white corn fry bread with honey and as an “Indian taco.” I preferred the blue corn, and the taco of course had meat – a turn off for me. While the bread was tasty, it left us a bit unsatisfied considering we still had a lot of time to kill before dinner. So back in downtown Taos we went to the Bent St Cafe just to chill. Not far away, a street musician with guitar was playing songs like “Puttin’ On The Ritz” and “Handle Me With Care.” After his set, I saw Hambone again, and he invited me to play, so we did Morning Blues together.
Supposedly there was something called “Taos Happening” going on at the Sheepskin Complex at 1405 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. It was listed in Tempo as a “multicultural, multimedia market” all things of interest, but it wasn’t what we thought when we got there. In fact we questioned if we missed the whole thing, though it was supposed to be an all day event. Instead we found more shops and some interesting artwork. Maybe that’s all there was to see.
We met up with Jeff in time for dinner. We took the long drive to Angel Fire again and ate at their visitor’s center restaurant, which was actually pretty good. The Angel Fire Ballon Festival was supposed to end with a balloon glow finale, but the wind had kicked up too much so all we got to see were the streams of flame coming from their gas engines. Still, this was something I’d never seen before, and I just tried to make the best of it.
A bit wind worn, we returned to the hotel and crashed early for the 5AM wakeup call to get on the road. Kim and the Caballeros blasted us through the last night of our stay in New Mexico, but by that point I think we were all ready to get back home.