Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Santa Fe, New Mexico experience - Part 1

Chilli Ristras adorning the corridor of a hotel in Santa Fe - Real Chillis !?! Yes! A quite common sight in New Mexico...

Hi All!

As I mentioned in my last post, lot of exciting things happening lately in my life. I have taken on a new role at work and learning a lot of new interesting things. As a result of this change, I have a more organized life now and get to concentrate more on my programming skills. Love it. Hope to keep the learning experience going...

I have not mentioned in my earlier blog posts that in addition to working in IT field, I am also pursuing my Ph.D. degree. As part of the research experience and exposure, I got to attend a much coveted "Summer School" program at Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a 10-day program where they exposed us to the astronomer's virtual observatory tools for 8 days and we got to develop a project based on the learning in the remaining 2 days. The learning itself was a prize in itself - however, my project also won a prize in the IT category. It was a team project involving me, two researchers from Italy and one researcher from Belgium - we could easily form the United Nations :)

Surprise package of this summer school was that there was an Indian film crew staying in the same hotel. It was none other than Hritik Roshan and his film "Kites" crew, heroine Barbara Mori and dad Rakesh Roshan. I got to talk to him for a few seconds. He was real cool and very courteous. No wonder everyone likes him so much and is all praise for him. It was a great experience. Unfortunately, I did not get a pic with him and that remains my constant crib with hoo!! Catch-line is that I met a star at an astronomy conference..who can beat that? ;)

Santa Fe is an exotic and a wonderland. People are very friendly and warm. I had a great time enjoying the art, culture, the ongoing fiesta and the landscape. The Native American art is so enthralling and enrapturing. If I had my way (and a flight back where I did not have to pay $15 for the first luggage being checked in, $25 thereafter), I would have bought them ALL! Now I am all set that I will decorate our new house with those types of arts and crafts. Take a look at some of the pics and you will understand my obsession!

In addition, the landscape is so gorgeous and varied. The houses have such an unique architecture - the adobe structures makes you feel so much closer to nature and gives out a raw earthy feeling. Maybe I will retire there like the talented artist Georgia O'Keefe - another one to my ever-growing list of places to retire in! :) If you are ever in Santa Fe, do visit the museum dedicated to her - the colors of her paintings are so exotic and pure! One art that particularly caught my attention was a painting of a shell - much much better than a photograph with excellent lighting!

There are so many churches all over the downtown of Santa Fe. That was a Sunday well-spent by walking around Santa Fe and enjoying the ongoing Fiesta. Very colorful..reminded of Bali Jatra held in Cuttach Barbati Stadium. For the uninitiated wondering what the heck is Bali Jatra, it is an annual fair held with much fanfare and a wonderful occasion for family outing. I have been there only twice, however, the memories from those visits are still fresh. That was some good times!

St. Francis Cathedral

Miracle staircase of Loretto Chapel - Note the turns. Believed to have been built by St. Joseph who appeared as a carpenter to help the sisters.

San Miguel Chapel

As part of the Fiesta, they burn a huge structure called the Zozobra. Something a lot akin to the Diwali Mela's Ravan burning. It is also similar in concept of doing away with all the evils of our lives by burning the Zozobra. People have been known to leave their sad letters, legal notices or any other memorabilia that reminds anyone of a sad event in a box near the Zozobra and it is all burnt with him. People send items to burn from all over New Mexico. Here is a pic of the Zozobra.

Will have another post soon where I will post the pics of the terrain and the amazing landscape of this wonderland - Los Alamos, Taos, Jemez Mountains, Jemez Springs, White Rock Overlook and the food - how can I not mention that? ;)


Happy cook said...

You saw hirthik, my daughter calles him the cookie man as he is in one of the biscuit advitsmetns she saw when we were in India.
O love his movies.

Pragyan said...

Hi Happy cook: That is so cute and interesting :) Yes, so talented and yet so well-mannered is amazing indeed!

Pearlsofeast said...

Wow Pragyan, what a lovely post it was.The collectables are awesome and I am always fond of these.

Glad that u met a film star, I have never met anybody.Ha ha ha.

Nice to know about u.Good luck.Are you in Orkut

Pragyan said...

Hi Shibani: Thanks, dear! Just posted a comment on your blog. Thanks for the best wishes..I really need them! :)

maimoona said...

First time in your blogspace.OMG! u are a versatile lady who works, learns and cooks too, thats great!keep it up.
It must be so exciting to see"krish"
in reality.
Nice blog!

Pragyan said...

Hi Maimoona, Thanks, dear, for the kind and encouraging words! To be honest, it gets to my sanity at times though :) Yes, seeing "krish" will remain one of the high points of my life :)