Second communique from the Land of Enchantment

Slava was merely coming down with the flu, whilst I was getting over it. Brian had the flu shot so he said he was willing to take a chance to hang out with us, since it’s been a while since we’d seen each other and he’d never met Slava.

DAY FOUR First stop, the museum. Brian is the Librarian/Archivist. We are longtime Film Archivist friends/colleagues. We started in his workspace, the library, then behind the scenes to collections, conservation, and staging areas. I was particularly fascinated by the Textiles areas, although the Object areas were more connected to my antiques landscapes, always thinking of not only value but also having them at home, finding them out on the road, etc.

The main exhibit we looked at was Alexander Girard’s Collection, Multiple Visions: A Common Bond. It is an exhibit that is central the permanent collection, yet goes against the core vision of the museum, as it’s lacking in any contextualization and has a no-no habit of mixing up art from different cultures for aesthetic reasons. I love it because it’s a collector’s vision, stuck in story-book ideas and artistic planning. The exhibit is FULL and it’s easy to miss things. Repeat viewings won’t disappoint. It reminds me a bit of the House on the Rock, only with an eye toward quality over quantity.

I understand the point of view that expects and demands context and whatnot when speaking of and displaying historic folk art, and this is particularly an issue in this particular museum. However, I don’t appreciate art being narrowly interpreted with the same goals at every museum I visit. I want a different point of view, problematic or not. If everything is always presented the same, “correct” way, there is not much room for inspiration. The Girard exhibit is refreshing and strange, and probably offensive to many.

Exhausted by art, we headed to lunch, but not before stopping by this spot to see some excellent plastic trash art, a fave genre of mine.

trash plastic loom

We went to a nice little Oxacan lunch place downtown, then to a hotel bar for delish cocktails. Slava was exhausted, and we went back home.

DAY FIVE Slava was still exhausted with the ‘flu, so I borrowed the car and went to some yard sales and thrift stores.

DAY SIX A full day! I started by going with Slava’s mom and her husband to see a new documentary about mushrooms. It was OK, and I was glad to get out to see a movie. We saw some fun previews of coming attractions and I felt re-inspired to start going to the movies again, which I haven’t been doing much since moving to the country.

Next, out to lunch with a grouchy Slava. It was delish – we don’t get much good Mexican food out in Western Mass, so we really tucked in. Slava’s mom & I took a trip up into the mountains after lunch. At 10,000 feet, we found it a little more difficult to hike than expected, but it was a beautiful day and worth the trip. In the evening, Slava was still laid up, so I went with his mom and her husband and their friend to Meow Wolf to see some experimental classical music. I made it through the first act, then took a nap in the car. The performance space at Meow Wolf reminds me of Jordan’s Furniture or Disneyland. I took a tour through the Metaverse on my way out.

DAY SEVEN! Our flight home got canceled because it snowed in Chicago. You’d think they’d be used to that by now. So we had an extra day. Slava was feeling a little better and I was merely stuffed up by this point, so we made up for lost time. Back to Los Alamos for lunch, then we took a lovely hike through a part of Bandelier we hadn’t been to before, Tsankawi. It was excellent, way better than expected. Caves, petroglyphs, interesting rocks and beautiful grassland, trees, cactus. It was a sunny, windy, cool day. Just perfect, and there were very few other people on the trail.

cave with “ladder” carved into the volcanic rock

Onto Jemez springs and the historic, town-owned, bath house. This place is pretty much the opposite of Ojo Caliente (see Part 1). Modest and private are the name of the game. The tubs are fiberglass bathtubs, and you have two taps to control the temperature. We signed up for an hour soak, which was twice what we needed. We each got our own tub in a private cubicle, so no need to worry about other people looking at how you look, and no need for a swimsuit. They provide towels if you like. The water comes out of the ground at 190 degrees F! So the hot tap is straight from the ground, and the cold tap is significantly cooler. It is very mineral-ey and has a great smell. The only thing I didn’t like was the requisite “relaxing” flute music. (Gag me.) They also do massage, although we didn’t get them this time.

Jemez is a cute little town. We may stay there a night or two next time – there’s a lot to see & it’s very beautiful, in a charming, non-resort-ey sort of way. After the soak, we checked out the place where it comes out of the ground. The run-off has been creating a weird mountain of crystallizing minerals. We went to the local Western style restaurant/bar, which was pretty cute, and we had some super spicy Margaritas that gave Slava the hiccups for a minute.

Back to Santa Fe for our last meal of decent Mexican food. It was a little disappointing, but good enough. We hit the hay when we returned to the house, played with the cat, and went to sleep early since we had to get up at 4:30am!

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