terça-feira, 17 de outubro de 2017

Day 10: In-between Arizona and Utah

Monument Valley is at a crossroads between Arizona and Utah. I somehow have the feeling that I'm in the heart of the continent, a sanctum sanctorum of sorts. One can almost hear the heartbeat of the earth here. Looking at the state signs, we feel welcome and within ourselves we feel foreigners in communion with the vast land.
We leave Arizona where we have just entered coming from new Mexico and enter Utah. Excitement is an apt description for how we feel.

domingo, 15 de outubro de 2017

Day 10: Monument Valley

Grandiose. Majestic. Every bit as monumental as its name implies. We were eagerly looking forward to the day when our trip would lead us to Monument Valley. The day was upon us. From afar we could already discern the familiar contours of the eroded mountains that make up part of the imagery we associate with the Far, untammed, West. There are days of wonder and this was one of them.
There is hardly any need for words when in the presence of breath-taking awesomeness. Again we are overcome by gratitude to what has taken us to this Here and Now. Beauty is all around and what our eyes want to do is just gaze at it in amazement...

quarta-feira, 11 de outubro de 2017

Day 9: Heading back to civilization and a supercharger

Infinite skies, solitude and the arid prairie accompany our way back to the present after our incursion in the ancient time of Chaco. Storms circle us menacingly.
It takes two hours to hit the tarmac. We are set on spending the night in Bloomfield but we take a slight detour to go to the supercharger in Farmington. Who would say that there's a supercharger in this nowhere? There is. Farmington, of its grace.
The EV-geek is on cloud nine. After a day of incredible landscapes and trips back in time, to meet the future is the cherry on top of the cake. If he's happy, I'm happy and so I play along as the merry Tesla-wife.

Cheers to a superb day!

segunda-feira, 9 de outubro de 2017

Day 9: Discovering Chaco

"Oh, you're my first Portugals!", we hear as we purchase the admittance tickets. In twenty-five years working for the Chaco Historical Park, the lady who welcomes us has never met any Portuguese tourists hence her ignorance of the demonym. We know we are far as far can get.
The ruins of the Chacoan villages are a good five-minute drive away from the ticket office. We could trek to the sites but the stifling heat is enough to have us choosing the comforts of air-conditioning.
All visits are guided and we have to wait for our guide. All around us the desert and its scorching presence. The remoteness, the aridity and the solicitude of the place trigger thoughts of how a civilization was able to flourish here. Not much is known about the Chacoans. Who were they, why did their culture vanish are still open questions. We're wondering about all this when the guide arrives, a red-haired, pierced MA student doing research on Chacoan basket weaving. Tops!
For over an hour she tours us through the maze of buildings and passage ways that compose the Great House of Pueblo Bonito. We're a small group (no wonder, given Chaco's remoteness) and I find it consoling that the reason why I'm finding it awesome to be here is the lack of crowds and the silence which allow for the site to keep its soul and its integrity.
There's something Andean in these buildings, something inextricably American, as in of the whole of the Americas. The mystery is alluring. Chaco does not give out its secrets and it gladdens me that, in the midst of this want to know it all society of over-information, there are things that are still left to our imagination.
The weather is changing. The south road is already submerged and closed. Here the skies are still blue but we have to go before the storm hits us. I anticipate the dangerous road leading us back to civilization and the modern times and I bid farewell to Chaco where I leave a piece of my soul. What a great experience and so worth the literal getting out of the beaten track. Chaco has a place in my memory.

sexta-feira, 6 de outubro de 2017

Day 9: Getting to Chaco

Chaco's sheer remoteness has (so far) been enough to keep it relatively unperturbed from the prying eyes of tourists and archaelogists alike. Its mysteries haven't yet been cracked by the science of History and its alluring aura is still, and thus, overpowering.
In search of ancient human presence in these vast expanses, we were greeted by its dwellers of the natural world. Suddenly it was as if I was a by-stander in some David Attenborough episode on the wonders of the deserts.
Well-adapted to the blistering heat, gekos, sparrow-like birds and crows (I know they're also birds) compose the surprising assorted band of characters that shapes the fauna in this wilderness. After miles of a perilous journey, getting to Chaco was like finding an oasis. Suffice to say I was not even near the ruins of Chaco and I was already in love with the place...

quarta-feira, 4 de outubro de 2017

Day 9: On the way to Chaco

O, how I wanted to go to the Chaco Culture Historical Park. Having a penchant for all things archaelogical and the mysteries of the Ancient World, a visit to the Chaco culture site was, of course, a must. The problem is... getting there.
Chaco is, fortunately for the world and unfortunately for the tourist specimen that wants to go there, as remote from civilization as remote can be. There are no easy-access roads and the 21 miles that separate it from the nearest tarmac road take no less than two (grueling) hours of dangerous, insanely stressful driving. It's not just the cows...
 It's the crater-like potholes, the flasflood river beds, the absolute absence of even a speck of a safety net for the lone traveller. God forbids we have a flat tyre in this desolate nowhere. I confess I worried a bit and mid-way on that road, I was just wishing we got to our destination safe and sound and by destination I was not implying the Chaco site but our destination after the return from Chaco. You see, as there is no other road in, there's also no other road out...

segunda-feira, 2 de outubro de 2017

Day 8: Ojo Caliente

It was in Fort Davis in the heart of western Texas that we got to know about Ojo Caliente, the thermal hot springs in New Mexico. To the question: Where you guys heading next?", we answered New Mexico. We were at the information desk in Fort Davis and immediately another visitor said the "Ah, you gotta go to Ojo Caliente". We duly took note of that and to New Mexico we headed.
We arrived in Ojo Caliente late in the afternoon after a day of plenty sightseeing and eyes and mind filled with the diversity of the immense landscapes of the West. We were not exactly sure what we were going to find in Ojo Caliente. Turns out, Ojo Caliente is a spa resort. Gone are the days when it must have been a free for all mineral springs site imbued with the ancient spirit of the land. Now it's a zen resort where we can take the stress of our modern lives and try to get detoxed. Mud masks, relaxing oils, organic scrubs, aroma therapy soaps and lotions and all kinds of potions promise to cure all our physical and spiritual ailments. Swimming-pools of mineral waters for this and that allure us with healing powers. I do not succumb and let temptation pass. On to the next stop.