Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Allergies, Pueblos and Folk Art

Another long day in the driver's seat. We left our lovely site at Enchanted Trails and drove a whole hour up to Santa Fe. We are staying at the Trailer Ranch RV Park. Sites are fairly close together but they are level. I also have full hookups, cable TV, sometimes WIFI and an incredible dog park. The dog park has a lot of trees planted in it and is big enough that you can make believe that you are walking a trail. The trail only takes about three minutes to walk, but it still feels big. And Miko gets to run. There is a big enough space in the center of it that I can throw a ball and Miko can tear after it.


Heading into the city. Right across the six lane street is the bus stop. Being a senior, I can ride all day for a dollar. The bus takes me directly downtown to the plaza area which is today's destination. I get on the bus, it is one of those smaller commuter buses. There is a mixed bunch of people on the bus, all different types. There is a guy(in his forties) on the bus who is asking everybody who gets on if they know how to tie a tie. Evidently his mother just gave him a tie and he doesn't know how to tie it. Somebody chimes in and tells him to watch YouTube – you can figure out how to do everything on YouTube. Pretty soon, the whole bus is trying to figure out how to get this guy's tie tied. Finally, this young guy, about 18 says he will give it a shot. He works on it for most of the trip, gets it tied and hands it back to the owner to great fanfare from all the bus riders. It is a good start to Santa Fe – everybody coming together like that.

First up is the Georgia O'Keefe museum. I am a huge fan of O'Keefe and this was so exciting to be able to see her paintings live. I rented the audio machine that tells about the individual paintings and also watched the 15 minute movie because I didn't want to miss anything. These paintings were more focused on her southwestern themed paintings – there were a lot that I hadn't seen before.

After the museum, I wandered around the plaza area. There was a lot of activity in the plaza – buskers, people playing on the lawn. Most of the shops I went into were sort of touristy – t shirts and little knickknacks.

I went into the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis and sat for a while. The altar area was a little more simple than most churches and the stations of the cross were very much folk art style.

I found a creperie and decided to have some lunch. I so seldom eat out when I'm on the road – I have a kitchen in the RV and a dog at home – I sort of hate to spend the time. I had a chicken and mushroom crepe with b├ęchamel sauce. Hearty, but with the crepe wrap it had the added sweet taste to it.

I went to the Loretto Chapel to see this miracle staircase that was there. Supposedly some nuns had prayed and prayed for somebody to build them a staircase to the choir loft (there was no way to get up there) and a stranger showed up, built a circular staircase and when the nuns went to pay him, he disappeared. (Who was that masked man?) It cost three bucks to get in – I wasn't that interested plus....

All of a sudden my nose started running big time. Major allergy attack. Did I have Kleenex with me? Of course not – what to do? I got a paper napkin from the creperie. I wandered into a shop and the shopkeeper had a roll of toilet paper behind the counter so she spared me a few sheets there. Then I found a shop that gave me a whole two pieces of tissue. I really wanted to spend more time downtown but I was really suffering. So back on the bus with my tissues, toilet paper and napkin. Barely made it home without embarrassing myself big time. They say that the allergens are huge right now, especially juniper and cedar. Maybe that is what I'm reacting to. I know that later that day when I took Miko to the dog park, she jumped on a juniper and a huge cloud of pollen went into the air.
On the way back to the RV, I see this guy sawing a huge log in the back of his truck.  Being the inquisitive sort that I am, I asked him why.  This guy was from Montana and he comes down and walks the desert looking for interesting wood.  He then sands it down - he said the sandpaper goes from 500 to 1500 grit.  He then puts different pieces together to form a sculpture.  He never knows what is going to happen, what shape the sculpture will take.  He showed me a finished piece where he had combines three different types of wood, sanded it and put a finish on it.  This was a museum quality piece.  He does this mostly for his own pleasure and back home in Montana, he has three acres filled with these pieces and people come from all over to see them.  He showed me a picture of one that was ten feet tall. 


Now that I'm heavily medicated, I can function in the outside world. Miko and I headed over to the Pecos National Historical Park, about a half hour drive. Another day, another pueblo. This one was a little different though. It was still just ruins, both of the pueblo and the attached church. What was interesting about this was its size. At the height of it's glory, it housed 2000 people, had over 600 rooms and was a five story tall structure. It is situated on top of a ridge so the views were really nice. It was a pleasant mile and a half walk through the ruins even though it was a rather blustery day.

After bringing Miko back to the RV I went to the International Museum of Folk Art. I was really looking forward to this particular museum – I find Folk Art to be very entertaining. It is so simple, yet can be very meaningful. There were only two galleries open - the first gallery had hundreds of dioramas. They were all donations of Alexander Girard who donated 106,000 pieces of folk art from all over the world to the museum. I don't know if they were all on display, but there sure were a lot.

These are Dance Capes that men dancers in Peru would wear

The second gallery was an exhibition of Southern pottery from the Georgia, Carolinas area. I usually don't find pottery all that interesting. It is sometimes pretty to look at but most the time it seems very repetitive and common. Maybe that is the result of all those art fairs I've gone to over the years where you have the same type of teapots and coffee mugs displayed with the same boring glazes. At this exhibit, I watched a half hour Smithsonian movie that was made in 1967 which showed a potter from Georgia creating pots from beginning to end. He went out and dug clay, ground the clay using millstones and followed him through the whole process from a foot operated wheel to making glaze out of ashes and dirt to firing the pieces in a home made kiln. There was no modern day automation at all. The styles of the pots in the exhibit were all of the same style as in the movie – very simple but the glazes were beautiful. I would love to have some of these in my house. I am putting this pot making area of the United States on my RV travel list.

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