Taos: first job, finding the D.H. Lawrence ranch. Ok, there were no directions to this famous place, so we went by instinct. Wrong. For a start the place was way up in the hills on the very outskirts of Taos where all we saw were trees, trees and more trees in an area dense with wild flowers and probably a few rattle snakes thrown in for good measure.
The tiny green sign: "D.H. Lawrence Road" in those wild hills did nothing to help. One hour later after driving round and round through jungle like wildness, we called time. Thinking there had never been 'The Lawrence Ranch:' there were no clues. No history of the man himself. Nothing.
We later enquired at the accessible Taos Travel Information Office where we were told the famous of all famous places for Literature lovers had been forced to close, due to health and safety concerns. So, anyone who is seriously in need of seeing 'the ranch' needs to contact the University of New Mexico for further info.
Ok, we should have enquired at the Travel Center first - doh!) so forget instincts: it's too wild and remote.
Second major stop was the Pueblo Indian Reservation with enough adobe buildings to fill up most cameras, bearing in mind, once on the reservation U.S. laws don't apply. It's $6 entry then $6 for each camera. Yes, once inside there seemed to be a strange atmosphere; but who can blame them after Sterling Price, U.S. Cavalry Officer, charged in, in 1847, shelling the place to pieces, including this most secretive of all the indigenous groups Catholic church: "Son Of Geronimo" still in the same condition the U.S Cavalry had left it while quelling the Taos uprising.
The Son Of Geronimo recently built Catholic chapel was out of bounds for cameras (there were no signs saying we couldn't take photos). Outside the chapel, Indians went after Professor Whitehead, forcing him to delete photos of their very secretive chapel. The leaders surrounded me, then took my ipad and deleted any photos of the inside of chapel. No explanation was given. Our protests were ignored and we were advised to leave. I've never been thrown out of an Indian Reservation before; saying that, there's not many in Wigan.
The original Lawrence paintings were advertised in a tourist shop in the Taos plaza. Once inside and three dollars handed over, a curtain, almost burlesque, was drawn back - revealing the paintings. I was so disappointed - not with the paintings - but with how everything felt/seemed; like it was all some kind of fairground peep-show. I was hurt to see such a lack of respect, and how it all seemed be a kind of gimmick.
The following day I was taken to see the Jesse James 'outlaw's' house, which had been renovated and was packed with tourists. Seeing this was like having salt rubbed into the wounds - they seemed to have more respect for their outlaws than for the great man himself????
Next stop: Kansas City - yeeeehaaa!
Peter Street, poet and Royal Literature Fund recipient.