Monday, June 8, 2009

Chaos in Taos

I drove up to Taos, NM today.

I stopped before I reached Taos proper and toured the Hacienda Martinez, which was pretty interesting. I don't think it was worth $8, though. When I arrived, I was the only tourist there (it was around noon), and apparently the first of the day. The coolest part of the whole thing, for me, was experiencing just how amazing adobe construction is from an insulating point of view: every room was cool enough to require a sweater. I nerded out on the original iron door handles, too, and their mechanics.

Afterwards, I drove on in to the Blumenscheim residence in Taos, and smack in the middle of downtown, to boot. Blumy, as his friends called him, was one of the founders of the artists' colony at Taos. The museum that was once his house is incredible, not least because of the wonderful artwork executed by him, his wife, and his daughter. It was kind of a two-fer: art museum + cool old adobe house. Right up my alley.

I wanted to tour the Harwood Museum of Fine Art, as well, particularly since I parked in its parking lot and figured they wouldn't tow me if I actually went to the museum, as opposed to simply utilising the parking spaces not marked "Harwood Museum Only." I discovered, however, that the Harwood is one of the few museums in New Mexico that does not distinguish between summer and winter hours (summer hours meaning "We're open every day, from 10-5, whether we like it or not.")

I discovered something about Taos while I was there: I am neither self-consciously artistic enough nor commonly touristy enough to fit in there. Maybe I was just in the wrong area, but the people I saw in downtown were either fanny-packed and Bermuda-shorted, or they had haircuts that were so asymmetrical as to be caricatures of edginess. If I'd worn my funny architect glasses and skinny jeans with a thrift-store T-shirt, I would have been hailed as a true artiste, I bet, but in my little sundress (with not-so-cute slightly sunburned shoulders) I stood out like a sore thumb.

I was thrilled, however, to see Wolverine's doppelganger, complete with beat-up truck and camper. Nice.

I took the scenic route home. It was what the tourism website referred to as "The High Road." It was helpfully marked with signs along the way, but I still managed to take a wrong turn, somewhere, and ended up getting home about 30 minutes after the estimated tour duration said I would. The lengthy drive could also probably have been chalked up to the fact that I was scared out of my wits going around some of the corners, and so went 5-10 miles under the speed limit the whole time.

I also managed to be made fun of by a group of three yuppie guys at a scenic overlook. They all had their $2000 SLRs with them, and I was happily clicking away with my disposable camera (I lost the battery charger for my digital and the battery on my old film camera was dead). The youngest guy of the group - who I guess to be one of the others' son - pointed to my camera as his compadre stepped in front of my shot and remarked, "Wow, I haven't seen one of those in ages." His companions turned, saw the little green Fuji film, and chuckled.

I stepped pointedly to one side so I could take my shot, hoping that the shot-blocker caught onto the pointedness of my maneuver.

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