Santa Fe is one of the oldest towns in America. The area was originally inhabited by publean people and the architecture there is still very much true to that history. Of course the Spanish came into the area (I think they were originally looking for gold) established missions and the town. There are still lots of monuments to the early Spanish settlers. They put a nice light on things. They say things like: “Local Indians completed work on this building under the guide of Commander X of the Spanish infantry”. This sounds better than: “After defeating the local people in a war of conquest and chopping off the left hand of all the surviving males, Commander X forced some of the local people to make this building”. The Spanish had good PR people.
Unfortunately for the Spanish, they were botted out (though many of the same people remained in power). Unfortunately for those successors they got caught up in their own war of conqest (except they were the conquested this time) and in the Mexican American war we gained control of Santa Fe. Here are some of the very old buildings of Santa Fe:
Oldest Church in the USA
After Santa Fe I went to see Jill and Josh who live in a tipi in New Mexico. You can check out there blog here. My favorite post is “Conditional Indestructability” which was written a few weeks after Josh first started living in a tipi (this was in Bozeman, MT not Silver City, NM). Jill works at the food co-op in Silver City and Josh works in the garden center at Wal-Mart, but he quit while I was in town. He is considering being a tax preparer for the next couple months (he was an accounting major in college). There are some advantages to living in a tipi, these include: $0/month rent, $0/month utilities, no loud neighbors, and excellent views of the star when the tipi rain flap is open (though Josh and Jill can’t see this without their glasses on), and lots of smores. There are also disadvantages, these include: no showers, colder afternoons than I would prefer, and limited space (although this has improved thanks to some interior decorating advances since the move to New Mexico).
Josh making smores in tipi
We went to the Gila National Forest which is huge. There we saw the Gila cliff dwellings which people were only lived in for about 1 generation. The people left the cliffs around 1300 BC. I believe the people that lived there were part of the Mogollon population which the Hopi and Zuni trace their ancestry from. The Gila National Forest also claims an animal that is exactly the way Snipes were always described to me – this was quite a surprise! Apparently this animal is really taking over a wide geographical area extending into the Ozarks. Its really tough and has very few predators.
Gila Cliff Dwellings
Later we went to a natural hot springs in the area. It was pretty awesome because it wasn’t freezing outside. Its always freezing outside when you go to hot springs in Montana which is not that great.