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Native American New Mexico, Ancient and Modern

Apache Crown Dancers performing at the 92nd Inter-Tribal Ceremonial in Gallup,NM.
Apache Crown Dance performance at the 92nd Inter-Tribal Ceremonial in Gallup, NM. Photo © Kobby Dagan/123rf.

The culture that developed before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century is visible in both ruined and inhabited pueblos and in excellent museums that hold some of the state’s finest treasures. Even if you’re visiting only a small area on your trip, there’s a lot of American Indian history to see in and around each place—but definitely try to schedule a visit around a dance ceremony at a pueblo, as this will give you the most memorable impression of the living culture.

If you’re serious about purchasing art and jewelry, you may want to time your visit with the Santa Fe Indian Market, which takes place every August and showcases more than 1,200 artisans. But you’ll also have a chance to buy directly from craftspeople in Zuni, Acoma, Crownpoint, and Santa Fe. If you have plenty of time to explore, you could also head south of Albuquerque to the Salinas Pueblo Missions, the Gila Cliff Dwellings, and the Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner.


The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center should be your first stop, for its good museum and information on all the American Indian settlements. Also pay a quick visit to Petroglyph National Monument on the west side, to see ancient rock carvings and get a great view across the city. The Hyatt Regency Tamaya resort, on the north side of town, is owned by Santa Ana Pueblo.

Acoma Pueblo

West of Albuquerque, this weathered fortress village atop a mesa is accessible only by guided tour. At the base is an excellent cultural museum, which displays the pueblo’s specialty, delicate white pottery painted with fine black lines. You can grab lunch here, or down the road in Grants.

Zuni Pueblo

This is the only pueblo where you can stay overnight, at the Inn at Halona. It’s also the source of beautiful jewelry. Take a walking tour of the mission church, with its resplendent kachina murals, and check out the A:shiwi A:wan Museum. The dance ritual Shalako, in late November or early December, is amazing, but you must book at the inn many months ahead.


Hosting a huge annual powwow, Gallup has the largest native population in the state, as well as the small WWII Navajo Code Talkers Museum. Visit on a Saturday, for the funky and diverse flea market. About an hour’s drive away is Crownpoint, which hosts a monthly rug auction—a must-visit even if you don’t buy anything.

Shiprock and Farmington

Head into the Navajo Nation via U.S. 491, passing the Toadlena Trading Post, which displays beautiful rugs. Shiprock offers another chance at a Saturday flea market, or traditional mutton stew at the fast-food joints—or hold out till Farmington and Ash-Kii’s Navajo Grill. Farmington is usually the base for visiting Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a little over two hours south—though you can also camp at the site, under starry skies.


Taos Pueblo is as much a relic as Acoma but still regularly used. If your visit doesn’t coincide with a ceremonial dance there, stop by the Best Western Kachina Lodge in the early evening to see a demonstration performance (summer only)—but you should stay across the road at El Pueblo Lodge, a well-tended motel.

Santa Fe

Check out the modern arts scene at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, as well as several galleries representing pueblo artists. And don’t miss the jewelry vendors under the portal at the Palace of the Governors. A short drive away are the ruins at Bandelier National Monument and the Puyé Cliff Dwellings, where Santa Clara residents lead the tours.

Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon New Mexico.

Hiking Deer Creek Trail in Grand Canyon

A shallow stream runs between striated rocks along the Deer Creek trail.
Hiking the Deer Creek trail can be difficult, but the destination is remarkable. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service/Erin Whittaker.

Deer Creek Trail

Grand Canyon National Park

Starting from the river, the trail climbs around Deer Creek Falls and enters a labyrinthine narrows of Tapeats sandstone.

  • Level: Strenuous
  • Total Distance: 10 miles round-trip
  • Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
  • Elevation Change: 1,700 feet
  • Trailhead: River right, mile 136 (see map)

Strenuous hikes are 6–10 miles long and with an elevation gain or loss of 1,000–2,000 feet.

Travel map of the Thunder River Trail in the Grand Canyon
Thunder River Trail
Most river trips stop to enjoy Deer Creek Falls and hike the Deer Creek Trail to the head of Tapeats Narrows, a challenging 0.5-mile hike, or to Deer Spring, 1.5 miles. The waterfall is a refreshing sight after floating through the dark confines of Granite Narrows, bursting from the cliffs 100 feet above the beach.

Starting from the river, the trail climbs around Deer Creek Falls and enters a labyrinthine narrows of Tapeats sandstone. With the creek flowing below, the trail hugs the cliff inside the narrows, a serious challenge for any hiker with acrophobia or claustrophobia. The trail exits the narrows at Deer Creek Valley, where cottonwoods shade a few campsites.

From here, the trail climbs toward a spur trail that leads to a smaller waterfall created by Deer Spring. The main trail ascends through Muav limestone to shadeless Surprise Valley, where it joins the Thunder River Trail at five miles. Most hikers starting from the river will turn around long before this point.


From the Thunder River Trail, it’s another 10 miles to the North Rim and the forest service campground at Indian Hollow, though backpackers can shorten the hike by taking the Bill Hall Trail to Monument Point. Connections to Thunder Spring and Tapeats Creek are possible for multiday backpacking loops from the rim or a pleasant day-long loop from the river.

Get more information about the Deer Creek Trail in this PDF from the National Parks Service.

Excerpted from the Sixth Edition of Moon Grand Canyon.

Going Local with Budapesting

Budapesting is a family-run affair that provides apartments and private rooms to travelers looking for a personal touch during their stay in the capital. All accommodations are centrally located and include free bedding, towels, Internet access, parking, coffee, tea, a welcome bottle of wine, and maps to the city. Being picked up from or taken to the airport or train station is also possible for a small fee.

Aside from providing visitors with top-notch accommodations, the fine folks at Budapesting also provide comprehensive tours of the city, along with day-long or overnight trips to nearby towns and Lake Balaton. Highly informative and remarkably hospitable, the main operators, Marton, Peter, and Susie, will go out of their way to make sure you have everything you could possibly need to make your stay a pleasant one and are happy to guide you to the city’s best restaurants, bars, shops, or anywhere else your heart desires.

If you’re looking for as close to a local experience a foreigner can have, Budapesting is the only service in town that can and will make it happen.

Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Prague & Budapest.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe

The front of Santa Fe's Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe. Photo © Charles Wollertz/123rf.

Travel map of Downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico
Downtown Santa Fe
Santa Fe’s showpiece Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (131 Cathedral Pl., 505/982-5619, 7am-6pm daily, free), visible from the plaza at the end of East San Francisco Street, was built over some 15 years in the late 19th century. It was Jean-Baptiste Lamy’s folly. The French priest had been assigned by the church to a newly created post that would formally separate New Mexico’s Catholics from those in Mexico, but when he arrived in 1851 full of fire and zeal to uplift the barbarous population, he promptly alienated much of his would-be flock.

Lamy was shocked by the locals’ religious practices, as the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe was already well established, and the Penitente brotherhood was performing public self-flagellation. He also disliked their aesthetics. How could a person possibly reach heaven while praying on a dirt floor inside a building made of mud? Lamy took one look at the tiny adobe church dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, which had stood for 170 years, and decided he could do better. Construction on his Romanesque revival St. Francis Cathedral eventually began in 1869, under the direction of architects and craftsmen from Europe—they used the old church as a frame for the new stone structure, then demolished all of the adobe, save for a small side chapel. Lamy ran short of cash, however—hence the stumpy aspect of the cathedral’s facade, which should be topped with spires.

Inside is all Gothic-inspired light and space and glowing stained-glass windows, but the salvaged adobe chapel remains off to the left of the altar. It is dedicated to the figure of La Conquistadora, a statue brought to Santa Fe from Mexico in 1625, carried away by the retreating Spanish during the Pueblo Revolt, then proudly reinstated in 1693 and honored ever since. She glows in her purple robes, under a heavy viga ceiling—all of which probably makes Lamy shudder in his crypt in front of the main altar (he died in 1888).

On your way out, check the great cast-bronze doors—they’re usually propped open, so you’ll have to peer behind to see the images depicting the history of Catholicism in New Mexico. One plaque shows the Italian stoneworkers constructing the cathedral, and another shows families fleeing from attack in 1680—perhaps the only depiction of the Pueblo Revolt statewide that’s sympathetic to the Spanish.

Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon New Mexico.

David Baldacci: By the Book

The author, most recently, of “The Escape” was a library rat growing up: “Libraries are the mainstays of democracy. The first thing dictators do when taking over a country is close all the libraries, because libraries are full of ideas.” Read the full interview here.

Hawaiian Language Tips: Understanding the Okina

Photo of the sign for the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden
Photo © Daniel Ramirez, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

You will often notice what appears to be a backward apostrophe inserted in the middle of Hawaiian words such as Lana‘i and Ka‘anapali. This marking is known as the okina, and rather than letting it confuse you even further, use the okina to help in determining the proper pronunciation.

[pullquote align=”right”]The okina serves as an instructional guide as to which vowels to pronounce individually and which to blend together.[/pullquote]To a professional linguist the okina denotes a glottal stop, which in layman’s terms essentially means that you pronounce both of the vowels it’s sandwiched between. To use the above examples, when pronouncing the name of island of Lana‘i you would verbalize both the “a” as well as the “i,” for a phonetic pronunciation of “Lah-NA-ee.” The incorrect pronunciation is to blend the final two words together and say “Lah-Nai,” which in the Hawaiian language means “a porch,” and is spelled lanai.

Similarly, the major resort area of Ka‘anapali is correctly pronounced by verbalizing both the first as well as the second “a,” which phonetically looks like “Kah-ah-naw-PAW-lee.” The incorrect way to pronounce the word is to slur the two vowels together by saying “KAW-nah-paw-lee,” or even worse, the dreaded “Ka-NAH-poli.”

The okina serves as an instructional guide as to which vowels to pronounce individually and which to blend together. The town of Lahaina—which you notice does not have an okina—is correctly pronounced as “Law-HIGH-nah,” whereas if it were to be spelled with an okina such as Laha‘ina, it would then be pronounced as “Law-HUH-ee-na.”

Make sense?

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.

The Doubt Factory

The Doubt Factory

By Paolo Bacigalupi

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Responsibility, Teen Life: Personal Development, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality

Grades: 10-17


[button link=””]Educator Guide[/button][button link=””]Listen to interview with author[/button]


In this page-turning contemporary thriller, National Book Award Finalist, Printz Award winner, and New York Times bestselling author Paolo Bacigalupi explores the timely issue of how public information is distorted for monetary gain, and how those who exploit it must be stopped.


Everything Alix knows about her life is a lie. At least that’s what a mysterious young man who’s stalking her keeps saying. But then she begins investigating the disturbing claims he makes against her father. Could her dad really be at the helm of a firm that distorts the truth and covers up wrongdoing by hugely profitable corporations that have allowed innocent victims to die? Is it possible that her father is the bad guy, and that the undeniably alluring criminal who calls himself Moses — and his radical band of teen activists — is right? Alix has to make a choice, and time is running out, but can she truly risk everything and blow the whistle on the man who loves her and raised her?



★ “[A] provocative thriller…. Fans of Cory Doctorow’s work should love this book.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


“A searing indictment… Bacigalupi, unafraid to name names, makes readers question the morality of everyday decisions… and recommends that all of us be cynics when it comes to megaconglomerates….Multi-award-winning Bacigalupi is becoming an indispensable voice in YA.” — Booklist


“The book’s snappy pace, caper set-up, and sharp political perspective easily save the (novel’s) day and will bring in readers of thoughtful high action.” — The Bulletin


“This is a gripping, unsettling read that will no doubt prompt further discussion long after the climactic, cinematic finale.” — The Horn Book


“A suspenseful, page-turning yarn…. Bound to provoke thought.” — Kirkus Reviews


“This gripping, outstanding contemporary story… builds at a steady pace, leading to increasingly dramatic plot twists and a climax that will leave readers’ hearts pounding.” — School Library Journal

See the Grand Canyon’s South Rim via an Air Tour

Aerial view of the Grand Canyon's South Rim .
Aeriel view of the South Rim taken during a flight heading north. Photo courtesy of the National Parks Service.

To see the canyon by helicopter or plane, you need to start outside the park. Grand Canyon Airport is in the town of Tusayan, although many tours originate from airports in the Las Vegas area and fly to the Hualapai Reservation (Grand Canyon West). Be sure to clarify if you’re seeking a flight over Grand Canyon versus to the canyon. Grand Canyon over-flights are strictly regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and are confined to particular areas and routes that exclude the central canyon. Even after being restricted to the western and eastern ends of the canyon, there are nearly 100,000 air tours annually—plenty of options for those who want to fly over the canyon, and plenty of irritation for those who prefer natural quiet in national parks.

Keep in mind as you shop for a tour that canyon over-flight routes are limited, so your decision will factor in convenient scheduling, customer service, and what kinds of tour package features you’d like in addition to flights. Aircraft also vary in comfort, quiet, and visibility. Flights via helicopter, which fly slower and lower, are generally more expensive than fixed-wing flights. Air tours start around $150 per person, with longer combination tours topping out around $400-600 per person. Most companies discount rates for children.

  • Grand Canyon Airlines (928/638-2359, 800/528-2413) offers options combining fixed-wing flights with helicopter flights, smooth-water rafting, and land tours. Tours are available in several languages.
  • Grand Canyon Helicopters (702/835-8477, 800/541-4537) offers tours in several languages. Charter flights and custom itineraries are also available.
  • Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters (702/736-7243, 800/528-2418) offers a wide selection of destinations and tours, including package tours with rafting, motorcycle, and Jeep options. Tours are offered in several languages in addition to English.
  • Maverick Airlines (702/405-4300, 800/962-3869) tours depart from the Las Vegas area and travel to the South Rim or to the Hualapai Reservation’s West Rim, the location of the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
  • Maverick Helicopters (928/638-2622, 800/962-3869) offers the Canyon Spirit tour departing from the Grand Canyon Airport, as well as a wide range of tours and charters originating in Las Vegas, Scottsdale, and other locations.
  • Vision Airlines (800/256-8767) has packages combining air/ground transportation from Las Vegas to the South Rim. One of their packages includes an over-flight of the West Rim.
  • Westwind Aviation (480/991-5557, 800/869-0866) offers canyon over-flights, charters, and other tour options.

Excerpted from the Sixth Edition of Moon Grand Canyon.

Learning to Speak Korean when Moving Abroad

Directional signs for line transfers in Seoul's metropolitan subway.
Signs in Seoul’s Metropolitan Subway. Photo © Sung Kuk Kim/123rf.

We might as well get the bad news out of the way first: learning Korean is not easy. Experts rank the country’s national language right up there with head-scratchers like Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic in terms of the amount of study required to attain fluency. It has been linked to everything from Hungarian to Japanese, yet academics still disagree on how to classify it. Throw in a unique script, multiple levels of formality, and for Westerners, alien grammar, and it’s apparent why very few non-Koreans attain fluency.

[pullquote align=”right”]How much Korean you’ll need depends on where you work and live—those in smaller local firms or towns, for example, will find the lack of language ability more of an issue than someone working for a multinational in Seoul.[/pullquote]The good news is that fluency doesn’t have to be anyone’s goal. English is now a core component of the education system (and at the center of a massive tutoring craze) so most South Koreans now have at least a passing knowledge of the language. Many important businesses and government departments have made an effort to set up departments providing services in English and other major languages, and many more can rustle up an English speaker to assist if needed, particularly in cities like Seoul and Busan. There’s also no shortage of English speakers in the workplace, especially where expatriates are likely to be employed.

Of course, Korean is the national language, and regardless of what foreign residents do or where they choose to live, they’ll have to resort to whatever Korean they’ve picked up at some point. Korean fluency may not be realistic, but Korean functionality certainly is. Hangul, the Korean script, is remarkably logical and can be picked up after a few days of study. There are no tones to contend with, and many articles or grammar points can be dropped in everyday speech without risking any misunderstanding. A few simple phrases and words will be enough to engage in small talk and handle common shopping, dining, and travel situations. For the most part South Koreans are delighted with and supportive of any attempts to speak their language—indeed the chief danger is that they’ll mistake your fumbling attempts for fluency and start rattling off all kinds of sentences you have no hope of understanding.

How much Korean you’ll need depends on where you work and live—those in smaller local firms or towns, for example, will find the lack of language ability more of an issue than someone working for a multinational in Seoul. Those content with “survival” Korean can usually get by with a bit of self-study, for which there’s a wide range of books and Internet-based classes available, or a couple of hours per week of being tutored or language exchange sessions.

Those who have set Korean proficiency as a goal—usually long-term residents or those with serious local business interests—will require more intensive learning, either through private tutors or institutes or via one of the excellent language courses available at local universities. These involve a substantial amount of work but produce definite results and can often be fit around a typical executive’s schedule.

Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Living Abroad in South Korea.

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