Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Santa Fe

Santa Fe color palette

For breakfast, I joined two couples at the long rustic table in the hotel's tiny dining room. (There is only one table. You need to reserve a slot at the breakfast table, by signing up the previous evening.)

One couple, formerly of Santa Fe (and Colorado and San Diego), now lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The other, from the St. Paul, Minnesota area, are now looking at land in the Santa Fe area. They said Minnesota real estate prices have risen 40% in the past five years. The couple from Mexico finds it so much cheaper to live there, and add that health care is excellent and affordable. There are 7,000 Americans in San Miguel.

Breakfast was refreshingly wholesome: lots of fresh fruit, juice, eggs, cereals, excellent coffee and freshly-baked bread (from the "Sage Bakery" across the street.)

"But I shouldn't be here." Among people who can actually afford this. I have little in common. I can't talk about skiing, or sports, or land and property values or leisure time. That's certainly not my reality.

(There's always a "but" in my observations. It's automatic. The duality of human nature, I guess. It reminds me of Guy's song "I love her, but...")

Santa Fe is quite alluring. Everything is here: golf, skiing, horses, hiking, shopping, etc. (But) it's not for everyone. There is the sense of it being another enclave for the well-to-do, with services provided by a class of people housed on the fringe.

Is this a trend which will drive America to be even more divided between "haves" and "have nots"? Those who can afford to stay and own, and those who can't afford to leave, but must depend on the wealthy for their rental housing and support? (With that support perpetually the target of cut-backs.) It's not a great scenario that plays out in my imagination. I hope I am wrong, (but) the more I see, the more I believe I am correct.


Ventured out on foot, camera in hand, to explore the Canyon Road galleries. It was snowing. I was not really prepared for snow, but layered up, wearing my Gore-Tex jacket over everything.

I've been on a mission, for months now, to find a piece of jewelry for my daughter. Delicate, beautiful, finely-crafted, understated. Like Jessica! It's not easy. Somehow, I thought Santa Fe might be the place to find it.

Santa Fe sidewalk view

Will looks like such a dreamer!

Mr. Clemens

In the chic places...

This is for my sister Janie, who loves earwigs

It's art, I guess, but I have to wonder "why?"

Santa Fe is famous for its colors: the terra cotta and turquoise, the Southwestern earth and sky reflected in its architecture. There is an unmistakable harmony and warmth. On a wintry day, the barren trees only served to accentuate this theme. I enjoyed photographing examples.

The Teahouse provided a pleasant shelter from the cold. A warm and comfy atmosphere. Good soup and free wi-fi. I could post pictures from here, which I had been unable to do at the hotel.

There is such a concentration of artists represented in Santa Fe: jewelers, painters, sculptors, designers and architects. In the abundant sculptures, I found it easy to admire the effort and skill, yet was often perplexed by the choice of subject. Earwigs?

After a dozen jewelry stores, I felt there was a "sameness" to it all (with a few notable exceptions.) As though they were pulling inventory from some central warehouse. (There may be truth to that perception.) Nothing was "right" for my daughter.

Wandering the streets, galleries and cafés of Santa Fe, I encountered people talking about business ventures, real estate (not just a home, but multiple properties), professions, art acquisitions. On the go. "Creating wealth." I'm out of my league here among the "landed gentry". Instead, I feel more of a kinship to the store clerks, restaurant wait staff and day laborers (though most are much younger.)

Briefly enjoyed the company of a young German woman from Berlin working at the "Cafe de Artistes". In her 20s, she has already traveled around the World.

Something didn't sit well, and late in the afternoon, I found myself rushing back to the hotel with diarrhea. Barely made it in time!

The Santa Fe Inn

It did not stop me from going out again this evening! Went to dinner at The Railyard Restaurant and Saloon, a block from the hotel. Once again, I actually was younger than most of the clientèle, but older than all the employees I saw.

Steak, baked potato and broccoli. A glass of 2003 Peachy Canyon Zinfandel ("sweet berry and port-like!") and another of McManis Family Vineyards 2004 Cabernet ("a bit overripe, carmelly, but good." Surprised it's from Ripon, California, a city usually associated with bulk “jug” wines.) Wild berry cobbler for dessert. Dinner cost a fortune, over $70. What a happy indulgence!

Chatted with one of the hotel employees. She worked at Alaska Pipeline Pump Stations 4 and 5 for nine years, commuting from New Mexico!


I think Americans may be the most distracted people on the planet. It is almost impossible to have long thoughts, or conduct a thorough analysis. We have surrounded ourselves with devices that provide constant interruption and distraction. Cell phones, TVs (with screens that must have three or four simultaneous streams of information), internet and computers (and their pop-up messages), billboards, advertising, logo wear, etc., etc.

And we have become addicted to distraction. In its absence, we must create it. It's too hard to face silent, empty space which dares us to fill it with our own creativity and consciousness. (All this to make excuse for not keeping up with this blog!)


In the news today, General Motors is offering to "buy out" as many as 30,000 hourly employees with separation packages up to $140,000 per employee. It will no doubt be very tempting, but with an average age in the fifties, they will not have an easy time finding any employment that will come near the reported $75-an-hour wage that many currently earn.

The Santa Fe Inn. The rich colors and barren trees create a beautiful contrast


Genevieve said...

I love those colors, and also I love courtyards and the whole walls-around-the-house concept. We had several places in Bolivia many years ago with walls and courtyards -- very nice for gardening and just living a private life.

timtraveler said...

Enjoyed a ramble through YOUR blog. Keep it up, Genevieve!

Genevieve said...

I am going to read your account of your trip through South America, hopefully over the weekend.

timtraveler said...

You're a "glutton for punishment"!

Anonymous said...


otto said...

These are the damn bugs that you said would "burrow" in my ear while I was sleeping at night in San Clemente.