I love the West, it’s so wild!
And American Southwest, in particular, appeals to my sense of aesthetics. I love the adobe architecture, the terracotta palette, the native American influence, and the frontier spirit it managed to retain after several centuries.
I love the fact that Santa Fe is an open air museum of Southwestern art, a boutique mall, and an a gourmet restaurant all in one. What else would you want from a place to visit?
This weekend, Santa Fe is hosting its annual Indian Market. The entire downtown area is packed with booths where the best and finest native American artists hawk their wares. The quality of merchandise is top notch with prices to match. And even though I can’t afford to buy a $19,000 stone carving, or a $15,000 hand-beaded purse with a silver top and a lapis lazuli bottom, or a $9,000 hand-woven basket with an image of a porcupine on top, they are fun to look at and to touch. I also love to hear artists talk about their creations. The artists themselves are also an interesting bunch. They hail from various Indian tribes. Many men are very colorful with their long braids and abundant jewelry. The visitors themselves also present great people-watching: many are artsy types, all decked out in Indian jewelry. Myself, in my Ippolita, conspicuously stand out – going against the grain, for a change.
As we were ogling the art, we heard the sound of drums. As Sam Merlotte noted in season 2 of True Blood, drums mean trouble. But we couldn’t resist their call. Lucky for us, we did not come upon a sacrificial ground, but upon a stage where a group of Native Americans from the clan of the People of the Salmon in Alaska performed for their pale-faced brothers. The costumes of embroidered suede, beaded moccasins, and appliqued ceremonial blankets were amazing! They were also wearing hand-made wooden animal masks that made clacking noises with their wooden teeth, and intermittently opened up to reveal inner hidden masks. The group was dancing and singing to the beat of the native drums. It was awesome!
We then went back to the market to inspect the remaining art pieces. Sadly, many of the best ones already gone – sold to collectors in the wee hours of the morning.
Walking around were some real Indians dressed in native garb, and a couple of guys dressed as trappers. One of them, Deerslayer wannabe, was chatting with some happy tourists at the plaza’s exit.
We ended the day at the La Boca restaurant eating tapas and washing them down with sangria, and then crawled back to our hotel for the night – the only vacancy we could find owing to the full occupancy of Santa Fe hotels during the Indian Market weekend. This place is a step above Motel 6, the way I imagine it to be. Undoubtfully, the worst hotel I’ve stayed in years. Oh well, what are you going to do…