Monday, April 6, 2009

Aliens and Best Kept Secrets

OK, so how do I tell about the wonderful week spent with a friend traveling around the Southwest with it sounding like home movie night. Remember 8mm movies, or better yet the family slide show? Well, I do have some pictures, but since I have not mastered my 7.1 mega pixel digital camera (and probably never will) most of the pictures are blurry and off color, worse than the “brownie” shots I took when I was little, I won't bore you to the point you knaw your own leg off just to get away. I miss having a real camera - there was a time I resembled a Borg with a Canon EOS RT implanted in her face but this time out these few shots are all that are fit to share. This was my first real sight-seeing trip around the Southwest – being a city girl I imagined it was all just like the area around and leading into Phoenix – and I am blown away at some of the awesome things we found there. I saw so much I am still trying to fit it all into my brain. Sometimes I wonder how I can actually live in such a small place but I guess that just means I have to clear out some more of the old baggage. Life is so much better and more worth remembering now that I am happy being me and have some very wonderful people in my life.

Monday midday we left West Covina and made wonderful time to Las Vegas. We found “cheap” lodging a block off the Strip and so we walked to Caesar’s Palace and The Bellagio. Caesar’s was awesome for a girl that loves to window shop – given a wad of cash I might have converted to hedonism rather quickly there – instead I floated through there on the power of the smoothest and strongest margarita ever crafted – just one had me floating on air. My companion thought for a while I might just float away so she fed me a huge meal (mostly as ballast) and held my hand as we made our way through and out of the Palace and through the amazing gardens of the Bellagio. We had the most awesome baked cappuccino/chocolate desert there before wandering back to our humble lodgings. Wow, did we ever get some stares holding hands walking around – one foreign fellow asked us to pose in a picture for him in the garden and he walked away grinning from ear to ear after he got the shot. Though we drew a lot of attention we enjoyed being part of the evening’s entertainment.

We left and headed for Zion Nat’l Park and drove briefly into Utah and went the long way around to the Grand Canyon. We stayed in a Navajo motel in Tuba City and had a great dinner at Kate’s CafĂ© and a good nights sleep before getting to the south rim of the G.C. Sadly all my
pictures from there are very blurred. While in my purse the “macro” setting on the camera was engaged and my eyesight up close is too bad to see the LCD screen and I did not figure out the setting until the next day. I took in so much visually I can’t remember all that we saw,. I know we traveled through Flagstaff and some other rock and tree filled National park and on that way we stopped at a place named the Pioneer Inn for coffee and had the most amazing cherry/chocolate scone – talk about decadent – and then we hit Sedona late that afternoon.

We spent two nights there in Sedona – I was too tired to push on immediately and there was just too much to see there to rush off. We had some good food and laughs and I almost got taken home by a waitress at a bar there because I am a shameless flirt`- she called my bluff and had a great time. I became intrigued by Koko-peli. He is a Native American (Anasazi) deity associated with
fertility (and bringing children to many young women apparently often to their parents chagrin) and prosperity (bountiful harvests and so on), but my take on him (and I mean no offense to those whose beliefs I may accidentally be trampling on here) is more like a Native American patron saint of partying and music since he is always portrayed playing flute (or toking on a pipe - must be some realy good stuff) and appears to be dancing up a storm. His image is all over the Southwest, but very prevalent in Sedona. I even had a dream about Koko-peli the first night there in Sedona and I guess I feel a bit of a kinship with this seemingly happy and life-loving fellow. At least I can say a part of the Southwest has come away with me. I know I will be going back again for another visit someday.

Then we headed for Santa Fe. We got into town after dark and got lost in downtown – with all those narrow, poorly lit one-way streets (that were always going the wrong way too) but after making the same circuitous route through downtown, twice, finally we found
lodgings and great food at a GLBT friendly Bar/Restaurant called the Cowgirl BBQ. The next day we did the tourist bit and bought a few gifts for people we know (and some really great locally made herbal Sandalwood soap – oooh! It is heavenly).

On our way out of town we paid a visit to one of the areas best-kept secrets – a place called “
RainbowVision”. We had tired to find it when we arrived but managed to miss it in the dark and I am so glad we went for another look. Not only was there a highly rated GLBT bar and Restaurant there (which was what we had originally sought), but an entire GLBT retirement community – even assisted care living too. This is one of the first of its kind and it blew us away to find such a warm and friendly and all inclusive place. We were given a tour of the facilities and were completely amazed at how pleasant it is there – everything necessary for comfortable living. Who would ever expect to find such a gem way out there? This discovery sure changed my ideas about what New Mexico would be like. By the time we got here I was so frustrated with my camera I did not bother to take pictures, and rather than my trying to show and tell you all about this best kept secret, please follow the link:

Now I have seen living proof we can carve out a good place for ourselves in the world we live in and make it work so well that the non-GLBT crowd will want in too - And they do in Santa Fe!
We then made our way to Roswell, but we forgot to take our foil helmets and so the aliens found us and made us eat a great Italian dinner right there in town and they let me take a picture with one of them too. So now I carry several bits of the Southwest with me wherever I go – some in my memory and some they said were harmless, but why I keep playing with big heaps of mashed potatoes now isn’t clear to me…

Tucson AZ was our last stop and that too proved to be a great experience (except for one incident with some people that were too drunk for their own good, but that kind of thing goes with crowded bars with crowded bathrooms). We got into town on the weekend when one of the semi-annual street fairs was on and the booths that filled 4th st - over a mile of them I think - were closed for the night, but the town was quite alive and jumping. We felt quite safe and welcome walking around into the wee hours of the morning there and felt right at home - finally nobody much was staring at us. We had a very yummy “Greek” pizza at Magpies an then found the GLBT bar there called It’s About Time (or IBT I think is was what the sign said). I was finally coaxed out onto the dance floor and actually lived through the experience, though I guess that means I am no longer a good little Baptist girl because I don’t feel even slightly ashamed of myself now that the nails holding my feet to the floor are gone.

Sedona, Santa Fe and Tucson are most definitely places I will be returning to and spending a little more time in one day soon. I never knew there was so much to see out there in what I had believed to be just a hot and dry wasteland. I don’t think of California as nearly so progressive now that I have seen the Southwest and met some of the people there. Just the other day even Iowa proved to be more enlightened than CA by opening up marriage for all, and now Vermont too. Soon we will all prevail if we remain stedfast in hope and peaceful social action.

Hugs and Blessings to you all,

1 comment:

  1. if you think Tucson and Sante Fe are great you should come visit Albuquerque sometime great community and they are very supportive of the lgbt, in Albuquerque one can actually almost feel accepted...