Monday, March 1, 2010

Aaahhhhh... the japanese know a thing or two about bathing... Below is the private hot bath and cold dip at the Ten Thousand Waves spa, a few miles out of town and up, up, where we spent several hours soaking our sorry derrieres and indulging in a little extra TLC treatment. On the right is the view from the entrance 8,000 feet up. We met two very cool women there who work for a non profit that introduces troubled teens to life in places like India. That is to say, they take them there, teach them how to raise funds to get there. You teach a man to fish.... right? We woke this morning to a lovely over night springlike snow and as we soaked in the steaming pool later clusters of snow floated down off the pinion branches overhead and landed softly in the hot pool. T said " I must be detoxing cause I feel strange." It was velly velly nice. I pretended I was a visiting Nikolai Hel...

If we had the chance to do this again, unlikely anytime soon as we are outta here tomorrow, I would choose the private baths above, which we did today (only 6 bucks more than the public tubs, which are very nice too), and a long hot stone massage ( I have yet to top the 70 minute hot stone massage I had at the Portland, ME Regency hotel with the gal who was also a pastry chef there. She definitely had the magic touch!) and (annually only) salt scrub. T would do the long massage and herbal wrap. And you can grab a quick sauna anytime free. The salt scrub was intense to the point of being scary -- (my skin is old and there ain't much of it!) -- and my skin is really smooth, but I'd rather have this kink in my neck all gone. Not feelin too shabby though. I heard voices whisper as I left, "Go now and sin no more."

After the luxe moment we carried on back to town and the Georgia O'Keeffe museum. Nice but none of her early watercolors on display, boohoo, because they are "too fragile". We did pick up a little treat for Ms. A de la F we hope she likes. Dinner at the La Fonda Hotel (which Strelsa recommended --she used to work there) was really really good, and it's "restaurant week", so a three course meal every course of which was divinely done, was only 25 bucks each. Such a deal! Not a hint of pretense anywhere in this place either. Everybody knows pretense will just ruin my appetite. The La Fonda was the hotel for weary folks arriving at the end of the Santa Fe Trail back in the day, servicing stagecoach travelers and I guess whatever other kind of trouble blew into town. It has been renovated periodically with taste and care for tradition and I just cannot say enough about it.

I had a butternut squash soup with a delicately done lavender honey and creme fraiche garnish that blew my tastebuds away, roasted leg of lamb au jus (quel jus!) with leetle roasted spuds and onion pickle and a kind of spaghetti squash melange of veg, a southwestern ratatouille of sorts, light and delicate, and a darling key lime meringue tart with delicate thin almond crust and teeny fruit garnis that made me feel heavenbound as I ate it. T had their version of a caesar, light and lovely, linguini with shrimp she raved over, and tres leches that beat the one at the Pink Adobe by miles. We were convinced this tres leches was the real mccoy, the one Spanish moms make for their kids. If I could go back this morning and have it for breakfast I would.

And the hotel, well if you have a few bucks to spend, it's an authentic old multistory hotel in the heart of town, with a concierge (the lobby has that quiet but busy hush I like in hotel) and to die for little stores in it (like the Plaza in NY only better) that have glass display cases lining the halls that you just have to stop and look in cause everything is sooo artsy and cunning and creative, stuff you just don't see elsewhere! I loved the groovy old tile floors and walls and painted-glass french doors everywhere and a pianist in the bar and the help is lovely and we wandered the hotel awhile after dinner cause we loved it so much. Authentic is the word to describe that place. Unpretentious works too.

T and I decided that Santa Fe is the only place worth shopping -- for anything -- clothes, household things, art. You could, you know, just come here once a year or something and shop, and not bother spending a penny anywhere else, and go all year totally happy with what you bought and not have to shop at all otherwise! Think of the time saved! Not to mention the end of buyer's remorse, an affliction that seems to be gripping the country (more on this another day). I hear a lot of Texas accents here wearing cowboy boots, nice ones, and carrying chichi shopping bags. So the rich are onto something, but why should they have all the fun? Just a thought... hope I remember it.

A final thanks to the hosts of the Pueblo Bonito Inn. We really loved it here. Got a nice weekday rate as well, off season. They are a caring couple who take good care of guests and serve a nice uber continental breakfast with the local paper (refreshingly center/left) and are helpful and full of info as they have lived her 24 years. We would definitely come back to the Pueblo Bonito. I like that it's old and comfy and the kiva fireplaces are, well, as we say in Joisy, noice.

We are off to Flagstaff tomorrow overnight, and up to the Arroyo Grande first thing the next morning. Can't wait to see that awesomeness again, (Al Gore invented the word awesome just for that place) and see if I can even identify the town I lived in so many years ago when it was still a little railroad town and I was perfecting my pool game at the Back Room Saloon and the Le Paree bar. It was a cool place..

Let's end today with a quote from Louis L'Amour. (I can't imagine how that man grew up in the West and didn't get picked on as a kid with a name like that.)

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning."

As Bill and Ted would say: "Whoa..."