Saturday, December 31, 2011

December Trip West - Day 20 - Santa Fe

Headed down to the historic center of Santa Fe about 9:30 this morning.  It was pretty quiet except for the Native Americans sitting literally shoulder to shoulder at the 'Palace of Governors', the oldest U.S. public building still in continuous use.  Under a unique program guaranteeing authenticity of their products Native Americans can be found here 365 days a week from 8:00am till dusk.  A few tourists were milling about looking at the crafts and jewelry for sale.  The rest of the main plaza area was very quiet so Thule and I walked around a bit.

I was specifically looking for Pueblo, adobe, architecture to photograph.  Now, I'll admit this isn't really my strong suit as far as photography and I do admire photographers that can do this well but I try.  The problem was I wasn't seeing anything very compelling.  The first thing that struck me was how commercial it was.  Expensive shops of all sorts lined these historic streets.  I thought there would be more emphasis on the history of the area instead of just casually mentioning it.  I stopped at the visitor information to get a map and some history of the place and was given a chamber of commerce booklet.  There are many preserved buildings whose history would be interesting to know.

After walking some of the neighboring streets we returned to the plaza.  I noticed this smell in the air of Mexican food.  Boy did it make me hungry.  The plaza is surrounded by eateries and since I had Thule I wasn't going to be eating in one.  Then I noticed on a street corner steam rising from a street vendor.  Ah that's where the smell is coming from so I bee-lined it over to the stand and bought a tamale.  They sold fajitas as well but I went with the tamale.  Sure was good so I went back for another.  And to top if off later in the day I had a fajita.  I couldn't think of a better meal.

Around noon time some musicians started arriving and the plaza began taking on a more festive mood.  In addition to the musicians people from all walks of life were milling around.  Santa Fe is really an artist mecca and as such draws a wide variety of people.  Not only was the plaza festive the people watching was outstanding.  What this really reminded me of is a cruise port call.  Locals come out to sell their wares, tourists by the hundreds, maybe thousands, expensive shops, music, etc, etc. Brought back some memories.

About 4:30 I decided to get set up with my room for the night.  As I was leaving I noticed people setting up speakers and others putting out smalls bags of sand with little lights inside.  The must be having a New Years celebration.  We had to return.

When we returned about 5:30 there were speakers talking to the crowd of people.  One person then another.  I wasn't paying any attention figuring is was local politicians opening the night.  Before I knew it someone was singing Auld Lang Syne and the night was over.  It was 6:10pm and everyone started disbursing.  We walked around a little move making a few more images then went back to the Motel 6.  Did I tell you this was a nice Motel 6? 


Tomorrow we take the high road to Taos.


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