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Quality Travel Experiences

Strangely, a certain coffee shop near St. George, UT, has been the location of a couple different experiences for me, memorable because there was something to them, other than scenery.

The coffee shop was located in an affluent housing development, at the foot of red cliffs. Until recently the coffee shop had a gift shop built into it -- the gift shop was trying to look like an Indian 'kiva.'  (Presumably the gift shop was "inspired" by the small Indian reservation, nearby.) 

It always seemed ironic and thought-provoking that Native American culture appeared so upscale and glamorous in the gift shop, with the expensive coffee table books, hand-carved wooden flutes, music, books, etc.; and yet, the genuine Indian reservation a mile down the road was a slum. (I rode my bicycle through this irony when I rode with a local club.)

But this year the kiva-gift-shop had been converted to an expensive restaurant. Presumably the menu featured items 'sacred to the Native Americans,' while in actuality they probably came from the Sysco truck, as with most restaurant food in the USA.

So that was a disappointment. But on the positive side I was reading a book on Russian culture and literature. During the 1800s, intellectuals went through a period of romanticizing the peasants of "Holy Russia."

It was delicious to think about that delusion in Russia while standing in a place in Utah that featured an analogous delusion.  There is no idea too ridiculous to be universally popular with intellectuals at some time or some place.

This is one more opportunity to give an advertisement for the strangely satisfying experience of reading the right book in the right place, when traveling. But why is the satisfaction so profound? Perhaps it is because different planes of existence are temporarily and serendipitously overlapping.


XXXXX said…
Neat observation.
It is strange to see human nature for what it really is. That's some statement coming from you......different planes of existence temporarily and serendipitiously overlapping......I don't think it's different planes, just human nature in raw form. No matter whether it's here or Russia or wherever, we are subject to the same human condition.
This is what I would like to know. As you point out, the little gift shop cashes in on romanticizing the Native American. Why do most people succumb to such thoughts in one way or another.....why do we romanticize so much of life? Is it that reality is so cold?
Why did evolution put such a process within human beings? Is it because if we don't romanticize most of life, we lose motivation and drive, thus negatively impacting chances of survival?
"if we don't romanticize most of life..." That subject requires an entire post!