sexta-feira, 22 de setembro de 2017

Day 8: Taos Pueblo

One of the reasons to set up camp in Santa Fe was to discover the Pueblo Culture. Not far from Santa Fe (consider "not far" as in American standards), there's Taos Pueblo, an iconic village ("pueblo" in Spanish) home to the Red Willow People. Taos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and so our curiosity and enthusiasm were great.
Taos Pueblo is famed for its storeyed-adobe houses and said to be one of the best preserved sites of Pueblo culture. Moreover, we tend to associate UNESCO sites with fine preservation. I should know better by now... Anyway and anyhow, our hopes were high.
There's always something disheartening when you get to a place and you see famished stray dogs, open-air sewage and potholes. Before I even bought the admission tickets, I already had a feeling I had been anticipating a bit too much. Sure the adobe houses are there but it's hard to reconcile corrugated iron roofs with typical pueblo architecture. There's an ancient atmosphere in the air, something that speaks from within the earth and echoes quietly in the infinite skies but it's been smothered. Taos is tourist-staged, not natural and not genuine. Soulless. I am a tourist but Taos should be out of the reach of tourists (not that there are many tourists there). It should be left alone to resume its links to nature and its ancient past. You know what's to feel sorry for ssomething? I felt sorry for Taos. We took the mandatory pictures that tell us we were there and we are tourists and hastened to get out of there. We craved for the wide open, untamed spaces. We wanted the genuine experiences not this fake, run-down, forlorn place.
We put on a happy face and took one last picture then we left not in the least bit sorry for leaving and not in the least sorry for having come. I don't think we stayed for a whole hour. Goodbye Taos, Goodbye spirit of the Red Willow, we leave you alone and wish voyeurism leaves you alone as well.

quarta-feira, 20 de setembro de 2017

Tomorrow in Arruda dos Vinhos

While I'm posting about our US coast-to-coast roadtrip, we're just back from a trip to Germany. Yes, the Tesla aficionado I call husband drove his EV all the way to Germany and, after some 11,000kms of a marvellous roadtrip, I'm happy to report that long roadtrips are possible with an EV.
The Mayor of our town has invited yours truly Tesla aficionado to give a keynote address about said trip. It's tomorrow at the Sala Jardim do Centro Cultural do Morgado in Arruda dos Vinhos at 21:00 and you're all invited.
See you there!

segunda-feira, 18 de setembro de 2017

Day 8: Rio Grande

What happened to the placid rio Grande I saw gently meandering through the arid, wide open landscape of southern Texas? Here in New Mexico, the river runs singing a song of lively waters flowing fast. There are rafters and they laughter and chatting fills the air. There are no plains and the river looks entrenched between steep slopes.
I go on being amazed and awed with every corner on the road and with how this immense country is so capable of having us blown away by the constant changes in scenery. This is the Rio Grande, I keep remindind myself, the same Rio Grande I saw bordering Mexico in Big Bend and yet this seems a totally different river. Even the Tesla bloke is amazed.

quinta-feira, 14 de setembro de 2017

Day 7: Santa Fe, New Mexico

It has been raining when we get to Santa Fe, late in the afternoon. It has also cooled a lot when we go out for a stroll in the art district of a town famed for its artists and galleries. And, indeed, art is everywhere. As are the reminders that we are deep in Native-American Territory.
Santa Fe is proud, as it should be, of its pueblo heritage. You can feel it the air. There's something lingering all around of an ancient presence, a force attached to Nature. It's both inexplicable and unavoidable that there's something special, somewhat mystical, about the capital of New Mexico. Land of Enchantment they write on the plates of New Mexico. Quite appropriate.
I scour the galleries in search of turquoises and Native-American jewellery. In one, I'm asked if I'd like to sell the earrings I'm wearing. I smile at the proposition but have to decline the offer. Looking for original jewellery, I find out I'm the one wearing original jewellery. It's not common, I realise, that someone should be wearing typical Portuguese filigree earrings in Santa Fe. I chat a bit with the gallery owner and imagine I could set up a profitable import-export business: Portuguese filigree for New Mexico, turquoise stones for Portugal. Somebody better not steal this idea...
On another gallery I get invited for the opening of an exhibition. I'd gladly accept but we're tired of all the miles we've driven to get her to this beautiful, "enchanted" place. Maybe next time because if there's anything I'm sure is that Santa Fe is one of those places totally worth a second visit. Maybe next time we'll get back to fully appreciate the traditional adobe houses, be inspired by the town's unique soul or, who knows, set up a crazy import-export business.

segunda-feira, 11 de setembro de 2017

Day 7: Sandia Peak

Since we were in New Mexico, somebody said, why wouldn't we go to Sandia Peak? Sandia Peak?, never heard of it. And so we determined to go no matter how dead scared of heights I might be (which I am).
We took the tram (not as wobbly as I had anticipated) and up the vertical limit we went. On my mind: catastrophe, cables breaking, impossible salvation, terrible images fueled by a tram "driver" boasting about the number of tourists who fainted and threw up everyday on that dismal ride. I behaved, though. Bravely, I might add.
At the top of the mountain, a sense of exhilaration and accomplishment. New Mexico at our feet. They say we can see 11% of New Mexico from the top of Sandia, whose Spanish meaning is watermelon probably on account of the reddish colour the mountain gets at sunset.
We counted our blessings as we contemplated the majestic scenery and, in our minds, thanked for the fab suggestion we were given (an email also did as well). I also thought I could be in Switzerland such was the alpine setting with its pinetrees, the cool temperature and the ski slopes closed for summer. But down we must and down we went to continue our roadtrip.

sexta-feira, 28 de julho de 2017

Day 6: Albuquerque and a supercharger

We hadn't been near a supercharger since San Marcos in Texas and that was a whole lot of miles ago. we stayed for the night in Albuquerque, curiously a popular surname in Portugal, and the Tesla owner and enthusiast I call husband of course had to go and check the local supercharger. I cannot say I was missing the vicinity of a supercharger but life as a Tesla-wife has such things. Besides, where else would I go?
A storm was looming (read big, scary, freaking storm) and the photo shoot had to be quick (we got to the hotel with heavy rain already falling).
Don't misinterpret me: I do like storms and I'm known for chasing them. The storm was my pretext for the Tesla geekiness not to last long so we could go somewhere else to enjoy the storm. Hm..."enjoy the storm", guess there's one Tesla-geek and one storm-geek in the family. O my...
PS - It was a mighty T-storm. Mighty.

quarta-feira, 26 de julho de 2017

Day 6: Ah, the ranches...

Infinite skies, far away horizons. Only here do you truly understand the meaning of the expression "the great outdoors". They aren't anything short of great. It's the sheer immensity of the landscape, the solitude of the geography. I have always imagined what a ranch would be like. It is... big. Forget European farms, a ranch is more than a mega-farm. A ranch is a reflex of a geography of greatness and vastness. I'm in awe and have been in awe for the whole trip...