One: Santa Fe has these funky low curbs that (sometimes) divide lanes on the roads. When we arrived, in a rental car, near midnight, my husband became an expert at slamming on the brakes when Iâ€™d yell, â€œCurb!â€ At first he thought I was yelling â€œHerb!â€ but since we donâ€™t know anyone down there named Herb, he realized â€œCurbâ€ was more likely. I became an expert at grabbing the dashboard and bracing myself for a lumpy, bumpy experience. I learned, repeatedly, that the inside roofing material in the car was padded. Yea.
Two: There are red chilies, green chilies, and whatâ€™s known as â€œChristmas.â€ Being a Minnesotan where the spiciest ingredient in most food is salt (but not too much!), this was a source of higher learning. Somehow I thought green chili sauce would be milder than red, but nooooooo. What you get when you order red, green, or Christmas, is a surprise based on the type of chili, the restaurant that prepares the food, and the length of the devil horns on the wait staff. What is the Spanish expression for â€œWATER? My soul for another glass of water?â€ While I didn’t learn Spanish, I did learn to try to hide the fact that my face was about to incinerate.
Three: Folks down there have heard all the big butte jokes already. Huh. I learned to keep my puns to myself. Sorta.
Four: Tourists there are like tourists pretty muchâ€¦ everywhere. While on a tour the guide would carefully explain and highlight certain aspects of the area we were visiting. Inevitably, this is how an interaction would goâ€¦
Guide: â€œOur river was a major source of water and irrigation for the early inhabitants of this Pueblo, and remains so today. We do not have any electricity or indoor plumbing because we choose to maintain the integrity of the pueblos.
Tourist (who had been creating selfies with his iPhone): How come I donâ€™t see any televisions or computers or that kind of stuff?
Guide (sighing): As I said a moment ago, we choose not to have any electricity becauseâ€¦
Tourist (interrupting): Hey, Iâ€™m not seeing any overhead lights either. Whatâ€™s that about? Are we in the dark ages or something? Hahahahaha.
Guide swallows hard and moves to the next area of interest, sharing stories that will also go unheard. Tourist shoves iPhone in Guideâ€™s face and takes photos to post on Facebook.
I learned I could not be a guide without wanting to hurt tourists.
Five: My husband pulled into a parking space in front of a store with a sign that said, Indian Art and Fetishes.
â€œWe want to go in there,â€ he said.
I did an exaggerated eye roll and replied, â€œReally? What kind of fetishes do you think they might have, you little pervert, you?â€ He ignored me and went inside. It turns out Fetishes are, per the Zuni Store:
A Native American Indian carving of an animal or a revered God believed to have special power. Many Native American tribes create and use fetishes of which the most renowned fetish carvers are the Zuni tribe, who call themselves Asiwi (Ah-she-wee).
Oops. I learned that perhaps I am the pervert.