Friday, November 15, 2013

Desert Days

View from our bed
It is a bit ironic that I started my travels with fall foliage and here I am in a casita in the desert. My desert day begins with a peek at the saguaros that surround our little house. The desert sky is often blue and I feel as though I am stocking up on brightness and warmth before heading home to December in British Columbia.

Travelling with Monsieur is different from travelling with other people because we have  expectations regarding our roles. I usually take responsibility for buying, preparing, serving food and for cleaning up. Left to his own, which he often is, Monsieur could exist on chips, wieners and bagged vegetables with dip. I, on the other hand, prefer fresh vegetables and fish or chicken. I have blood pressure medication so sodium is one of my no-no's.

Monsieur drives on roadtrips as I really hate driving. Buses or trains always seem a lot more enjoyable to me as both people can experience the scenery. I'm not the best navigator because I can't read in the car due to motion sickness. We both prefer quiet roads where the traffic is calm.Monsieur favours natural scenery and I am always interested in the historical background of an area.

Yesterday, we drove along some quiet secondary roads to Nogales which is the border town between Arizona and Mexico.  As we climbed to an elevation of 4000 feet, we left our saguaros behind and entered ranching country.


Patagonia State Park
As a girl, I used to watch "cowboy and Indian" movies. This land, purchased from Mexico, was the home of the Chiricahua Apaches. When ranchers discovered this grazing land, the nomadic indigenous people were displaced and warfare ensued. With the defeat of Geronimo, the Apaches were transported  far from their homeland. In reading a bit about indigenous peoples, I have learned two terms that help clarify ethnic labels a bit. "Autonym" means what we call ourselves and "exonym" means what others call us. The Apaches were part of a South Athabascan language group and called themselves "dene" (the people) as do many indigenous groups in Canada. The term "Apache" was used to mean gangsters in France because of the reputation of the tribes for savagery.
San Xavier du Bac
Our last stop of the day was the Mission of San Xavier du Bac, founded by Father Kino in 1692. The building is being restored and is the oldest European-built structure in the state of Arizona. The museum adjacent houses exhibits about the Tohono O'odham people who have inhabited the area for thousands of years. Visited first by Jesuit missionaries and claimed by Spain, "liberated" by the Mexican Revolution, purchased from Mexico by the United States in 1853, the Tohono O'odham have lost much of their ancestral lands.

Nightfall comes quickly and unexpectedly over the desert. Because of the warmth and blues skies, we tend to forget that it is mid-November and we are in the Northern Hemisphere.  But there is nothing I enjoy more than another peaceful desert evening with my book.

1 comment:

  1. All that beauty -- and heat as well! Enjoy your restful time before you're back in the rainforest! ;-)

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