Sunday, May 9, 2010

New Mexico Tourist Trap?

click for enlargement

It is not uncommon for many fine citizens of the Southwest to refer to places like the Continental Divide Indian Market (20 miles East of Gallup) as a tourist trap, but then again many Italians categorize the Leaning Tower of Pisa also as a tourist trap. Merchandising roadside tourist attractions like the Indian Market offer not only much needed highway breaks, but also some really cheap buying, mostly of the souvenir variety. The establishment above has all sort things, mostly attractive to the young generations, ice cream bars, t-shirts, key chains, firecrackers, cheap imported "Indian-like" jewelry, playing cards, imported "Indian blankets", cups, bumper stickers, toy bow and arrow sets, Indian head feathers, cap guns, toy rifles, plastic bags of cowboys and Indians, and much more. Although limited, they also have authentic handmade regional Native American jewelry in the showcase, some of it worth passing down to future generations. These places make memorable stops for children and a good restroom break for the whole family. So consider adding some colorful tourist character to your next trip, after all tourism is the world's leading peace time industry.

I purchased the $4.98 bolo tie on my visit at the above "tourist trap" this weekend. It is an obvious import of base metal alloy probably from China and certainly it contrasts with my usual high class gold and silver bolos. Nonetheless, I consider it a treasure finding of sorts and I plan to wear to my next poker game.

By the way, I loved visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I saw it as worthy of it's designation as one of the 7 wonders of the Medieval World. I guess I missed the "tourist trap" part.