• brandenfugate

Road Notes: Day 143

(FYI: Road notes will be entered sporadically for the next month or so. I personally am doing a lot of editing and boring stuff that isn’t really worth documenting in detail. Branden spends all day in class/at the construction sites and has so little energy at the end of the day that I spoon feed him his gruel when he gets home.)

This is Branden’s first day off since he started the Earthship Academy. Some of his fellow students are hosting a brunch at what is essentially an Earthship dorm. They call the building ‘The Castle’. It was one of the first Earthships ever built. They really had no use for it, so it fell into disrepair. Recently is was converted into student housing. It was the first completed Earship structure that I was able to take a tour of, and it was really wacky.

We showed up to the potluck with booze, of course: a homemade Bloody Mary composed of fresh basil, vegetables, balsamic, Thai chiles, smoked paprika, and a house charred celery and black pepper infused vodka that we had tucked in the back of our shelf for quite some time. It was delicious. Branden christened it the “Peter, Paul, and Bloody Mary.” It seems appropriate considering the actual hippies that this town is full of. There was a lot of great food (mostly vegan), bare feet, and dreadlocks. It was fantastic and I was so excited to meet all of the other academy students. They are all fascinating people from all over the world with a wide variety of talents, skills, educations, work experience, and personalities. I genuinely enjoyed their company.

We stayed at the brunch for a few hours and left to explore Taos town a bit. This really is an interesting place. Almost all homes and businesses are made of adobe, making it really difficult for me to tell if it is old or just made to look old. When exploring town, we started out in the Taos Plaza, which seems to be a center of (tourist) commerce. It was mostly gift shops and the like. I thought for sure this place was just a cheesy tourist trap, but I was very wrong. The plaza was established and has been standing since the late 1700s. The cornerstone is the Hotel La Fonda (“the inn” in Spanish) which has been around since 1820.

I struggle to think of another town that has so many art galleries in such a small space. It seems like every other building is a gallery. It is certainly different than the art scene we just came from in Marfa, which pushes the envelope in terms of contemporary, minimalist, and experimental art. It seems to be more typical Southwest art and hippie psychedelia. There are obviously some that break from that tradition, but it is mostly just a lot of desert scenes, Native Americans, and the like. I don't want to sound negative and just discount the art of the entire city. I am certainly interested in experiencing the local art more.

We explored the city as much as we could but most things were starting to close by the early evening. I am certain we got as much of a taste of the touristy party of downtown Taos as we wanted anyways. There does seem to be a lot to do here, outside of the city. I love the scenery and could spend days just driving through the gorges, lakes, and mountains. That is how I think we will probably end up spending our upcoming days off. Not too shabby.

Road Notes are timed entries—written in thirty minutes or less at the end of each day. Considerations are made for spelling/legibility but not for grammar. Deal with it.

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