Peralta, April 19,20

North of Albuquerque the desert stretches into infinity.  Long, low hills of sand dotted with sagebrush is all you see, once you enter the land of the Santa Ana Pueblo Indians just past Bernalillo.  Then suddenly there is a faux adobe wall indicating a restaurant and a golf course at the next turn.  There are even traffic lights at this junction, although the traffic  this Thursday morning is light.  We turn left and look for the Tamaya Hotel where we have booked a room for the night and spa reatments for the next day. 

Afer about a mile we see discreet signs that the hotel and golf course are imminent, then see the flat, brown rooftops nestled in among the hills.  As we approach we realize that the hotel is huge, two stories  sprawled over a wide area.  It is a Hyatt, amazingly unobtrusive for its size.   I hope they are paying the Santa Ana Indians a big chunk of money for the use of their land, but I expect they do. 

The hotel is as tastefully decorated inside as out, with two big fireplaces at either end of the huge lobby and game room.  Mesquite-scented firesare burning, and tables laid out with chess, checkers, and backgammon are scattered between them.  We register and go to our room, after walking for what seems ages,  past two big swimming pools and a judiciously sheltered hot tub.  The young Indian who carries our bags and shows us the way is friendly, informative, and helpful.   Our room is comfortable and adequate, with a view toward the golf course, as we have a senior discount so it is half-price and not a prime location.  We don’t mind, as the saving is over a hundred dollars.  There have to be some compensations for being a senior.   

Lunch, a nap, a stroll, time to appreciate the clean, dry air and uplifting vistas the desert always inspires in me, and what do you know, it is time for dinner.  We treat ourselves to a Cosmo (1) and a good dinner before we call for the shuttle to the casino a couple of miles away.   We’re  back in the hotel for an early night.  Lora won, I didn’t.

Next day’s spa exprience was blissful.  It is called the Tamaya Mist Spa, and is all soft colors, soft lighting, and soothing  music.  We both signed up for The Tranquility Package , which consists of a 50 minute massage (are they borrowing from psychotherapists?), an exfoliating rub with blue corn meal, local salt, and achiote bean flour, and finally a half-hour facial.  My skin was soft as a baby’s bottom, no mean feat in New Mexico’s dry climate.  I don’t expect permanent results from these treatments, but the experience is worth the price.   

Later we meet Jean and another friend in Alburquerque for dinner.  The friend is a retiring horse trainer and neighbor who came to New Mexico from Pennsylvania years ago with her husband and two boys.  They bought a ranch, and set about becoming New Mexicans.  They have traveled to Europe with their horses,  especially  to Germany,  and after her husband died, she carried on teaching people how to ride and train and care for their animals.  Now she’s giving it up, with much regret.  She still loves to ride, but worries that,  at over 70, it’s maybe not a good idea.

We chat and laugh (the friend is very entertaining, and tells a few dirty jokes), and finally the day ends back in the hacienda, two tired, scrubbed, pampered sisters together after a year’s interval, talked out, for the time being.