Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Rapid City, South Dakota. This is where you lived if you were a Sioux, 200 years ago. Or for that matter, 2000 years ago. It's not so bad inside a tipi, much roomier than you'd expect. Cozy, too; buffalo hide rugs, backrests, all the comforts and no utilities bill!

Rapid City's Journey Museum recreates this life -- and its destruction -- with a fascinating display of everything from stereoscopic photos taken during Custer's geological survey expedition to war-clubs, miners' candlesticks, sepia photographs of settlers and Colt 45s. What you notice is how fine and delicate and sophisticated the Indian artifacts are, and how rough everything else is. If they hadn't discovered gold in them thar hills, it all might have turned out quite differently for the Sioux. But they did, and it didn't.

When I was a kid, we used to play cowboys and Indians. Of course the cowboys were the good guys, so we always made the little kids be Indians. From this perspective, it's all looking quite different. I suddenly felt like the great-grandchild of a barbarian, living in what was left of Rome.

Bao had a more down-to-earth take on things. He was transfixed by a stuffed wolf. All these years later, it still must have smelled like a wolf. It certainly looked like one.

Outside, it was 100 degrees in the shade, if you could find any, and severe thunderstorm warnings were posted. All of the weather here is severe. In 1972, the whole town was almost washed away by a flash flood.


Blogger Erin Toft said...

If you have the chance to explore more of the Black Hills area, I would recommend visiting Hill City. It's a quaint little town with cute arty shops up and down the main drag. There is one place in particular that is devoted to the art of the Fillmore and other venues where famous musicians played in the '60s and '70s. It's called Backstage Pass on the main street. I would also recommend the Alpine Inn if you are looking for an adorable setting for a very German lunch. It's definetely a staple of the town. Don't forget dessert!
Oh, and I forgot to tell you before, the other great way to contact me is at my email address, which is:
Hope you and Bao are having a great time in my home state! It is a beautiful place to be, is it not?

8:20 AM


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