Sacked by the "downturn", an unemployed architect touring the country in a bus...

I used to live in New York City. I designed homes for the tycoons of Wall Street; Park Avenue, Scarsdale, Greenwich. It was great fun. And, after years of saving up for a down payment, I was just about to buy my own little place in Fleetwood, half an hour north of the city, when the economy fell apart. Architects are like canaries in a coal mine when the economy slows, and true to form, there were massive layoffs in firms all over the country. Devastation of the profession. So, I decided to try to find something else to do for a while. I bought a 23' school bus and I'm on the road to see if I can figure out what that might be.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Taos Pueblo

Two or three miles from the center of Taos is the Taos Pueblo settlement, the longest continuously inhabited Pueblo settlement in existence.  Tourists have access to the central area, the deeper recesses and perimeter are where the inhabitants still live and these are off limits.  I learned that actually only a handful of people still live here, but there is additional native population living on reservation land outside this Pueblo construction.  These buildings are in amazing shape for mud buildings.  That is to say, they are surviving ongoing water damage and decay pretty well.  Most of the inhabitants keep their distance and don't want their photos taken, except a few who are running the small souvenir and craft shops, who will pose for a small donation.  I photoed one in what appeared to be her home, where she was preparing food on a hot plate for sale on the table outside.  I also photoed a woman sitting outside and when I asked her her name, she answered "Susan" in a startlingly American sounding accent.

This is a sad place.  One can have all the respect in the world for the history and traditions, but it's evident that this is not working, the tourism is not supporting the community, and it will end eventually, except perhaps for some caricatured version that might survive with government funding.  I probably shouldn't go to tourist attractions.

Click here for a Flickr slide show.

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