Traveling American Southwest… Part II

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At the exit of the Antelope Canyon ( see Part I), we saw this little chick on the ground and heard his mama chirp somewhere close. I quickly took a picture and off we went, in the back of a 4-wheel drive comfortable truck.

In the evening, driving around, we stopped at the marina parking lot and took some pictures of the endless sky, Colorado River, and Navajo Generating Station –  the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the USA.

colorado river

The next day we drove, all  excited, down to Lake Powell to take a boat tour to the Rainbow Bridge.  A two hours boat ride or a two day hiking? You have to choose if you want to see many places in just a few days. The tour took about five hours, from which four hours on the boat with the most breathtaking scenery all around, and a fresh breeze.

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lake powell

lake powell

This is a furnace ( only about a mile long though) we had to hike through to get to the famous natural  bridge. In the evening I was all red like a lobster, and it was only May!

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We turned around the corner, and there it stood.

Rainbow bridge

lake powell

My daughter said that she wanted to sing for us, and she did, and it was really moving.

Judy Garland, “Over the Rainbow

The next day was Sunday. I saw that there was a church across from our hotel, and I decided to go and mingle with the locals.

I entered the room  and quietly sat in the  back row. When I looked around I realised that all the congregation except me and another couple were either Native Americans or Mexicans. Presiding was a solemnly looking Native American man with long hair, who spoke with majesty and authority. I was mesmerized.

After the service I was about to sneak away, but two young men who sat next to me started conversation and marveled at the fact that I came all the way from Europe. I really enjoyed our conversation and marveled at the fact that I was chatting with 100% Native Americans 🙂 After 40 years, since…

In the 1960s, DEFA film production studio based in Berlin, Eastern Germany  produced the Western The Sons of the Great Mother Bear, directed by Josef Mach and starring Gojko Mitić. Many other films followed. Basically, the films portrayed the good Native Americans and the bad white Americans. What else would you expect from the Cold War era movies 🙂

The DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the only archive and research center outside of Germany devoted to the preserving and promoting DEFA movies. In October 2005 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City hosted a two-week DEFA festival, and several titles are now commercially available on DVD.

And for those who wonder – no, this is not American Southwest 🙂 In fact, it is not America at all. The movies were filmed somewhere in Southern Europe and even Mongolia.

To make a long story short – In  this photograph you see Gojko Mitić.

YoungMitic

I was 10-12 years old at that time. The crush wasn’t on him! I still have no idea if he was ever married or something. The crush was rather on his characters 🙂

I and alike, were the most devoted fans he has ever had. We recorded the soundtracks from TV shows, we quoted his characters, we wrote screenplays, made tomahawks and bows, and all sort of jewelry. We went to the library and researched all the books on American history and anthropology that were available. We have read all the books on which his movies were based! He influenced a whole generation, and somehow we knew that the white Americans were not as bad as we were told, because some of them were good friends of Chingachgook, Tokei-Itho, and Ulzana.

I wish all celebrities used their influence upon the young generation as he did.

In this photograph, he is 75 🙂 Yep.

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The following morning we left Page AZ and traveled North.  After visiting Monument Valley we took Utah State Route 261, passed stunning rock formations  – Mexican Hats, and crossed the Valley of Gods. I was clueless  about specifics of US 261… I just wondered, where are we going to drive if there stands a gigantic mesa all the way along the valley… When we approached the mesa, I got it. I asked if I can leave the car and walk. The answer was “no”.  Moki Dugway. I didn’t know we were destined to meet…

Holding my camera tight, I stretched my arm out of the window, closed my eyes and up we went. I cannot tell how many switchbacks are there. Five? Six? There are no protective walls or anything, and we were lucky that no one was traveling down the mesa in their campervan.

Most of my pictures look like this one.

moki

Valley of Gods from Moki Dugway.

moki dugway

This is my daughter’s photograph taken on the top of Cedar Mesa  this year when they traveled the Southwest again. You can see some of the switchbacks.

moki dugway

Our next stop, Navajo National Monument. In the photograph below, there is a whole city in the rock, Betatakin cliff dwelling, as seen across the canyon. Anasazi lived there in the 13th century and vanished  overnight without a trace.

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A dinosaur footprint.

dino track

We traveled through the beautiful desert, and finally crossed the Glen Canyon again.

glencanyon

This is actually a picture of the same area, but taken from the top of the canyon wall. You can see the bridge across Colorado River near the confluence of Dirty Devil River.

glencanyon

Unlike the DEFA movies, this American Southwest is real 🙂

One more video,  and Ennio Morricone music for you.

Thank you for your company!

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great weekend!

93 comments

  1. This amuses me to no end – to learn of a Native American portrayed by a Serbian actor with whom I shared the country (Yugoslavia) for the first 21 years of my life, but I only hear about him now via you. 🙂 When I was growing up, I loved western films but somehow never came across him. Lovely images.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Manja, I cannot believe you didn’t know him!!! Oh my goodness, you have to look up his movies in Youtube, and may be you find one in a language familiar to you. I am afraid most of them are in German. Really glad you came cross the post 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an informative post ~ and with sights that are hard to believe exist (and after seeing Arches…I know dreams can come true, so I hope to check out this area as well!). Cheers to a great week.

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  3. I love the historical information in this post as well as the magnificent views in your photos. I have to admit, I’ve never heard of the films starring Gojko Mitic, but I like the sound of them, and the message they pass on. The red rocks are beautiful and your journey to the Rainbow Arch absolutely wonderful. I hope you joined in the singing with your daughter. 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting! I left my heart in the red rock land.
      That was my daughter’s graduation trip. She would never let me ruin her song 🙂

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  4. Thanks for sharing your journey with me. All parts of your post were interesting. I didn’t know other countries had movies of the good Native Americans and the bad white Americans. I’m glad to hear that actually…. and glad that you also learned there were Americans that weren’t bad!

    I live in Seattle but I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I love the part of our country that has the red rock. I see you have a post on Bryce Canyon. I will look at it. Bryce Canyon is my favorite place in the SW.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by!
      I too love the red rocks of your land. My only visit to New Mexico was in Four Corners when I stood in four states at the same time 🙂

      These movies were not filmed in America, but they gave us some ideas, and we were able to read the forbidden information between the lines 🙂 The media told us to hate Americans, but I was raised as a cosmopolitan, and already knew that there were good and bad people in every land, and my business was to be a good person 🙂

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  5. Truly beautiful, and you really had to climb a mile up to a bridge? I´m sure some people said “nope, don´t want to get a heart attack today even though it´s a beautiful sight”. That dinosaur foot was very neat, did they tell you what type of dinosaur it was?

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! No, we didn’t climb, just walked, but it was very hot over there, between those huge rocks, like in the oven. No movement of air at all, and +42C. We took an easy route, all by boat. People who are willing to hike to the bridge, spend almost 3 days and 2 nights just to get there, and then take a boat to return. It is a challenge, and someone has to drive you to the trailhead and collect you from the marina, which are 50 miles apart I guess.
      There were a good few different footprints in the sandstone all over the place. They say that the three-toed prints are left by Dilophosaurus, but who knows for sure?

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      1. I would like to see an actual foot print of a dinasour, see it there in front of me not on t.v that is. Now that you say so yes no wonder it was that hot when you got the rocks basically keeping the warm air there. You´re a trooper! But I´m sure it was worth it to endure a bit of heat to see all that you saw.

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        1. Oh it would be worth even if we had to hike 3 days 🙂 The arch is magnificent, almost as great as the Delicate Arch.
          This area is famous for their dinosaur findings. There are quite a few dinosaur museums, and also many places, like this one, where the footprints juts cross your path 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing trip, and you had the patience to describe and illustrate it with your beautiful pictures, too. We’ve been there, there are so many fantastic places in the States.
    I remember movies with Gojko Mitic, in fact, these were the only action movies from “abroad” during the Soviet Union times. Well, he was extremely attractive and these movies depicted sort of idealized stories about North American Indians. Anyway, thanks for the great post and pictures, they brought up a lot of memories!

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    1. Thank you Inese! Gojko has had a big life indeed. As they say – time doesn’t matter, only life matters. Growing up in the Eastern block times hasn’t made us worse, in spite of everything:) Thank you again, and hope time is always in our favor 🙂

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  7. Gojko Mitić! What a fascinating and amazing person — doesn’t hurt that he’s very good looking, as well! Very touching to read how you visited the church, and people were so welcoming…you seem to me to be a humble and kind lady. I loved how your daughter sang when you reached the Rainbow Bridge — perfect ending ❤

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    1. Thank you so much for reading! That church experience was awesome indeed.
      It was my daughter’s graduation trip, it is why she sang. We left the following morning after her graduation ceremony, with all the leis and everything 🙂
      Thank you again for your interest!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Inese, this is truly marvelous trip post – beautiful images too! I google Gojko Mitić after reading your post, maybe I should try to watch one of his movies, looks like he has a series of movies about Apache!

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    1. Thank you for reading, Indah! Yes, there are a few DEFA movies on Youtube, but I am afraid they are all in German. There are more than ten movies altogether, all of them based on the books. And yes, one of his characters was Apache Winnetou. 🙂

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  9. I’d love to explore that Anasazi cave. All I know about them is from that highly reliable source, the Discovery Channel. (Apparently the aliens came down and helped them with those caves.)

    Incidentally, I thought you’d inadvertently put a picture of me up on your site but then when I put my glasses on I realized it was a young Gojko Mitić. The resemblance is quite remarkable.

    (I’ll leave you to judge how much truth there is in that last paragraph. HINT: Not a lot.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for commenting! Anasazi will remain a mystery, but sure there is a simple explanation, no aliens and stuff.
      It was less than 50 years ago, but the things have changed dramatically since then. What did I do after watching my first Gojko movie? Did I look up information on his personal life? No, first I went to the library and requested the Liselotte Welskopf-Henrich book on which the movie was based, and a book on American history. The years change people… 😉

      I took my glasses off and checked out the picture again… No worries, you look grand 😉

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      1. I admire the mature attitude you took to the Gojko movie. It reminds me that when I was young we really did have to go to the library to find out things. Nowadays getting information is just so easy because of the Internet. I’m not sure my children appreciate what a difference it makes.

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        1. Yes, that’s a very good point. Although information is much easier to get hold of, the information people actually choose to look up is often brain-numbingly trivial. I really have very little interest in Justin Bieber’s latest tattoo, or whatever.

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  10. The dino footprint is awesome – would love to see something like that!
    I haven’t heard about Gojko Mitić before, but I can understand the teenage girl crush after seeing the photo;)
    Looks like such a lovely trip re-living some childhood memories.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Inger! 🙂 Good things look good even after 40 years 🙂
      Yes, it was amazing experience, and would love to see this land again. My recent trip to Bryce canyon woke up all the old memories about the Southwest. Hope you visit the land some day: there are plenty of dino footprints around.

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    1. Thank you for reading and sharing, Patrick! These movies are long forgotten, and I am glad that someone resurrected them 🙂 The characters are most noble and beautiful. It is a pity that the movies were last seen only in the 1970s.

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  11. Inese, you already knew I’d be delighted with this post, since I’m trying so hard to get back to live in the southwest again. But I’m totally thrilled! I loved the stories you told of the different perspectives. I wasn’t familiar with the DEFA movies. I knew there some like that, but didn’t know the (gorgeous) actor or that there were so many. Fascinating.
    Neither did i know about the Navajo Generating Station being such a pollution source. I wish i were surprised. When I moved to Albuquerque, I thought i’d get much cleaner air… but no. They don’t regulate pollution nearly as much as the east coast. So even though there was less pollution (or “polluters”) the air quality wasn’t too different.
    Thanks again dear Inese. Mega hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Teagan, I am so happy you like the post! 🙂 Speaking of polluters, that toxic plume of heavy metals from the Colorado mine has probably reached Lake Powell by now. Nowhere to hide from the”civilization “.
      I was sure that no one knew about DEFA but some German speaking old-timers 🙂 They have some of the movies on Youtube, I don’t know about the quality though. I don’t want to watch them; don’t want to be disappointed… Some memories should better stay in the past 🙂
      Thank you again for commenting! Hugs!!!

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  12. Really great post, though the photos made me a little jealous 😉 I love that region of the U.S. Really clever use of video clips too, to give a background on the history (or at least how it’s been represented by the media).

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Kate! The photographs were taken seven years ago. I would love to go there again having a better gear this time 🙂

      I grew up with these movies and noble characters 🙂
      Thank you again!

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    1. No Juliana, we never went South that far. I hope I will, some day. Navajo people were so nice to me when I visited the church in Page. Exceptional young men.

      I wish we could travel wherever we want…

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    1. Sheri, thank you for reading, and for your interest! I have read a lot about the Pueblo and Anasazi people long before the internet was invented, and I agree that cliff dwellings are fascinating. I would love to see them closer, but I also know that because of vandalism of wanna-be “archeologists” many sites and artifacts are gone forever. People should look at some things from a distance.

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    1. Thank you Francis! You are right, the sky and the clouds there look like nowhere else.
      Very gentle and noble, that’s right! He is the best role model one can get. His life code is exceptional too. He has always lived up to his characters in his real life.

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    1. Oh thank you! Just revealed some secret’s here 🙂 I thought that the history of German movie making would be something new and unusual. These movies triggered my interest in American history, anthropology and archeology I maintained all my life.

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      1. I was vaguely aware of those films, but we never saw them. In my small west Texas town we often only got to see third run beach party movies–triggering my own interest in half naked men and bad rock and roll. 😉

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  13. Inese – nice images. The Native American people were the original people of North America and so much of their heritage is missing. I love to read about their early traditions and where they lived then and now. Most of them are totally wonderful people and are just Americans like the rest of us.

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