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.