…In Taos are beautiful, but not only beautiful. They keep evil spirits out.
Our door at the historic Taos Inn was not strong enough to keep the demon out of the heater though. Full speed ON or completely off. Most full on. Combine that with near blizzard conditions predicted and we are fleeing south.
We enjoyed Taos…maybe not in the normal tourist way. We did have chilis for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I did have the famous cowboy buddha margarita at the Adobe Bar. That is almost a reason to stay. We didn’t go to museums and, although we shopped more than I liked, we didn’t buy anything in town.
What did we do? Traveling with Rollo, you KNOW we met people. First, some locals at breakfast. They live just over the mountain and one them is a rancher with a small cow/calf ranch. Just 100000 acres. The other runs a 50s diner and Ice Cream Parlor.
After that, on walkabout in town, three guys we hauling construction stuff into a tarped off building. They asked us in to see what they were doing. Remodeling is not the word for it. They called it art. We agreed.
Beams carved by the grandfather in 1800s are restored and in some cases replicated. They have been at it four months and hope an art gallery will be in the space by spring. They called the work an amazing journey.
After more chilis with our tamale and rellano lunch platter -Christmas style (both red and green chilis)-and a little rest, we went to visit Taos Pueblo.
The Red Willow people have lived in this adobe community for at least a thousand years – making it the oldest continually inhabited community in North America. A visit to this special place was one of the reasons I wanted to come to Taos. In the last weeks of planning, though, I read some reviews on Trip Advisor that almost changed my mind.
I take Trip Advisor reviews with a grain of salt – or a whole shaker – particularly the ones where the poor traveler is complaining about the lack of English-speaking wait-staff in say…Mexico. In this case there were enough negative reviews concerning the rudeness (bordering on hostility)of the residents of the Pueblo that I did take notice.
I am so so glad we decided to go anyway. The people could not have been more gracious in welcoming strangers into their home on a holiday. And, IMO, they had plenty of reason not to be. There had to be close to 5000 of us visitors and I saw and heard some behaviors that would get you thrown out of my house in a heartbeat.
We had good hot coffee, frybread, lots of big smiles and Merry Christmas greetings. The residents build huge, I mean HUGE, bonfires in the plaza. After services at San Geromino (St. Jerome) chapel, we were lucky enough to witness the procession of the Virgin Mary. With snowflakes falling on the bonfires at the base of the moutains, Mary is carried from the church and paraded (with gunfire!) around the plaza. Quite a sight…Thank you Red Willow People and I’m sorry about those rude (bordering on hostile visitors).
ps. If you are in Taos and are looking for jewelry or pottery, go to the Pueblo. Buy direct from the artists. Not only will you get a good deal, but you will support the artists and learn the tradition behind what you are bringing home. Thanks, Sonny Spruce for making my beautiful Christmas present.