Georgia O’Keefe once said “… I’ll paint what I see-what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking the time to look at it-I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.” Is it true that many people are too busy to stop and enjoy life? I think so. Sometimes one must stop to look at a flower, to look at the sky, to look at the world and see its beauty. One can do this in the magical land of New Mexico.
We spent about a week there two summers ago, under the sapphire New Mexican sky. It was hot, but it was a dry heat, not like back home where your clothes stuck to your back and the air was always heavy and sticky. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision really; just pack up the car and head up to Santa Fe. It’s always better that way; just drive and spend hours cooped up with your family. There will be fights and yelling, but games and sing-a-longs make it an all around fun, bonding experience. What’s the first thing you do when you get out of the car, in Santa Fe? Eat! New Mexican food is known for pleasing your taste buds while displeasing you digestive tract. “Red or green” the waiter always asks in reference to chili which comes with every meal. This is hot chili, like salsa, not the beefy sop I was used to, but still so delicious! I suggest Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen, known for its local charm, although you’re probably going to find good food just about anywhere in the city.
What’s the second thing you do? Well, sleep. But after that, sight seeing of course! One must really visit the El Santuario de Chimayo, located near Santa Fe in the very small town of Chimayo. People supposedly go there to be cured, the place filled with wheelchairs and crutches that people left behind. While I’m not sure if I believe that, the place still fills both believer and non-believer with a sense of wonderment. It’s one of the most interesting churches I’ve ever seen. While we’re on the topic of churches, Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi is also a must. It definitely stands out among Santa Fe’s stucco buildings. While you’re near, stop by the Georgia O’Keefe museum, see New Mexico through Georgia’s eyes, the state she learned to call home. Blue skies and red canyons, animal bones and desert flowers, she captured New Mexico in her paint brush.
Of course you’ll need to take a piece of New Mexico with you, so shop. Jackolope stores are really the Wal-Marts of Mexican imports: ceramics, jewelry, blankets, furniture all at a low price. But if it’s authentic native American craftsmanship you’re looking for, go no further than Santa Fe Plaza, where dozens of native Americans sell their hand-crafted jewelry, leather work and hand-made goods. Another good place to shop would be Taos, the cute town near Santa Fe with really cool shops. You may want to do window shopping, like I did. Still it was a nice experience. There I was in a Taos cafÃ© sipping on Blue Sky soda just enjoying the clear sky and hot air. Right then, I couldn’t imagine a better place to be.
Let me just say that hot air balloons are better left observed than ridden. They’re over-priced and much prettier from down below. One hasn’t truly experienced New Mexico until white-water rafting down the gorgeous Rio Grande, surrounded by the red canyons and intense sky of Geiorgia’s paintings. Just book yourself a trip through the Santa Fe Rafting Co. and prepare yourself for the time of your life. Georgia definitely had it right when she said that people needed to see the beauty of life. I finally did and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything anymore.
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