The art of living in a 1000 year old home

Trip Start Feb 20, 2006
Trip End Feb 28, 2006

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Thursday, February 23, 2006

I woke to a bright sunny morning--this is a land of big skies.
At breakfast, I chatted with an older man heading out to the slopes, complaining about the paucity of snow on the slopes here in Taos, one of the biggest ski destinations in southwestern U.S. It certainly wasn't because it wasn't cold! The thermometer dipped below -14 degrees Celsius! Luckily, my agenda for the day did not include any skiing--I could do that back home in much more snow-rich conditions. Instead, I headed for Taos Pueblo. Imagine--living in a home that has been in use for about a thousand years! They may not look it as the inhabitants replaster the walls each year. The early golden morning light worked its magic on the adobe homes, stacked atop each other with kiva ladders propped up in various strategic positions. I paid a princely sum for the right to take photos and went snap-happy--I figured the money may help the community a bit. The pueblo continues a simple existence, having no electricity or running water. The only water source was a partially frozen stream running through the pueblo. The Spanish colonial influence was apparent with the main building of the pueblo, a large adobe Catholic church.

I had passed a couple of places of interest in the dark the night before so I trekked back out to see the deep narrow chasm of the famed Rio Grande. Looking across, one could easily miss this geographic landmark. The bridge across was quite graceful, despite the use of steel. Apparently, it was quite an engineering feat when it was built half a century ago.

The other spot of interest are the Earthships. These are homes that were made entirely out of recycled car parts and was designed to be super-ecofriendly, using alternate energy sources and minimal water. They're quite the oddity, even for Taosian (is that the word?) standards. Imagine a rubber tire for a windowsill!

I headed back to the main part of the old town to wander around the main square and the many art galleries and quaint (in a very rich way) shops. I stopped in El Rincon Trading Post, a shop that has been around for decades, being one of the first shops in the area, catering first to settlers, then to artists, and now to tourists. Inside is a quirky museum-like room filled with all sorts of odds and ends relating to one family's life in Taos. It still functions as a store where you can buy locally made handicrafts and more.

In the end Taos, is as picturesque as I had imagined but a bit unreal. But what can you expect with a town known best for its artists?
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