Welcome to the first of a three part series by Magda Santos.
The Day the Navajo Gave Me a Vision
The woman in the tower reached down to take my money. Looking into my rental car she said, “You two look like Navajo.” My face turned into a big grin. I was tickled to think she was comparing me to such an ancient people. She must be kidding, right? I took my ticket and nodded a thank you. But I couldn’t stop smiling. I was entering Monument Valley in Utah for the first time.
My traveling companion, Andrea, planned the whole trip. She booked the plane tickets, rented the car and set up our accommodations. I’d found an interesting organization called Educator’s Travel Network where you stay in teachers’ homes. We registered online and contacted teachers in the area that we wanted to visit. Andrea sweet talked more than five teachers into letting us stay with them while in Arizona.
Thank goodness Andrea is a seasoned traveler and she can make her way anywhere with grace and ease, something I sometimes lack. She’s the one who wanted to go to Utah and see the valley. I balked at the idea of traveling so far north when I was going to a class in Organ Pipe Cactus National Park at the southernmost part of the state, on the border of the United States and Mexico. However, Andrea had wanted to go for years, so we went.
We found out that there was an entrance fee, a fee for the basic tour, and an additional fee to go deeper into the park to an archeological site. We had to park our car in the lot, climb lots of stairs, and enter an immense building on the top of a high hill to buy our tickets for the tour.
Once inside we walked around and found the restaurant, gift shop, and the most dramatic view I’ve ever seen in my life. There were huge windows that let you see the entire valley in a 180 degree panoramic view. I felt as if I was in space looking out over a new planet. After a few minutes we put all our cash together and got the whole package, with the archaeological site included in the tour. Then we left the building and headed for the shack where the guides would be to take us on our journey.
We stood outside the shack looking around and trying to be patient. The shack was full of young men playing cards and joking. They noticed us and were about to send someone out but an older man walking toward us signaled to them that he had this.
He walked over and introduced himself. He said his name was King Arthur. We giggled and said, “That’s not your real name.” He took out his driver’s license and there it was embedded in the plastic, “King Arthur.” Things were taking on a strange turn. King Arthur was in his mid 40s and looked pretty fit. He wore glasses and had a gentle smile that made everything else go away.
Check back April 15th for Part 2 of “The Day the Navajo Gave Me a Vision.” When unlike Percival I make a nuisance of myself in Utah.
Read part two of King Arthur of Monument Valley