You know you’re back in Indian country when you’re scanning the radio dial seeking more spin after the big debate, (I’m a masochist) and instead of pundits you come across Navajo drum music. It was so fitting that I tuned in to that familiar sound just as took I-40 east heading to Albuquerque.
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In a further cultural mishmosh which is the very definition of the America that I know, I pulled into a motor court here on old Route 66 in Holbrook, AZ because I was just too damn tired to go another 280 miles.
It was late, but the sign on the door was still flipped to the open side and sure enough, when I rang the night bell, a sweet little lady came, opened the door and got me all signed up. $32 a night. It’s not the Taj Mahal, even though the tiny lobby, with 9,000 brochures for the Grand Canyon and white water rafting and helicopter fly-overs of the south rim, did smell like curry. Except for when the automatic air-freshener squirter on the counter almost took my eye out.
“Gotta be careful where you aim that thing, right?” I said and she laughed, turning the spigot another direction. She was adorable, and dutifully handed me my key, the TV remote and a narrow slip of yellow paper with my WiFi code.
It was not lost on me that the sweet little Indian lady behind the counter was an East Indian, compared to a Native American Indian which is to this landscape what cactus is to the desert. There is zero political commentary here — I just found it an interesting snapshot of our ever changing culture. Good for her. And whoever Brad is. His name is on the neon sign out front — which I noticed with some amusement was also gussied up with a whole bunch of cowboy decor. Cowboys and Indians has taken on a whole new meaning.