During my vacation last May, I had a hard time choosing a tour. Flights to
Japan, Hong Kong and Australia are just too common. What I wanted was
somewhere exciting and exotic, a place where I could be spared from the
holiday tour crowds. I was so happy when Joan called up, suggesting a trip
to Cherokee, a county in the state of Oklahoma. I agreed and went off with
the preparation immediately.
We took a flight to Cherokee and visited a
town called Qualla Boundary Surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery, the
town painted a paradise before us. With its Oconaluftee Indian Village
reproducing tribal crafts and lifestyles of the 18th century and the outdoor
historical pageant Unto These Hills playing six times weekly in the
summer nights, Qualla Boundary tries to present a brief image of the
Cherokee past to the tourists.
Despite the language barrier, we managed to find our way to the souvenir
shops with the help of the natives. The shops are filled with rubber
tomahawks and colorful traditional war bonnets, made of dyed turkey
feathers. Tepees, cone-shaped tents made
from animal skin, are also pitched near the shops. "Welcome! Want to get
anything ?" We looked up and saw a middle-aged man smiling at us. We were
very surprised by his fluent English. He introduced himself as George and we
ended up chatting till lunch time when he invited us for lunch at a
nearby coffee shop.
"Sometimes, I've to work from morning to sunset during the tour season.
Anyway, this is still better off than being a woodcutter ..." Remembrance
weighed heavy on George's mind and he went on to tell us that he used to cut
firewood for a living but could hardly make ends
meet. We learnt from him that the Cherokees do not depend solely
on trade for survival. During the tour off-peak
period, the tribe would have to try out other means for income. One of the
successful ways is the "Bingo Weekend". On the Friday afternoons of the
Bingo weekends, a large bingo hall will be opened, attracting huge crowds of
people to the various kinds of games like the Super Jackpot and the Warrior
Game Special. According to George, these forms of entertainment fetch them
Our final stop in Qualla Boundary was at the museum where arts, ranging
from the simple hand-woven oak baskets to wood and stone carvings of wolves,
ravens and other symbols of Cherokee cosmology are displayed.
Back at home, I really missed the place and I would of course look
forward to the next trip to another exotic place.
We visited Qualla Boundary, a town in Cherokee. The mountain
scenery surrounding the town was a breathtaking sight. The traditional
lifestyle of the Indians, the tribal crafts they made and the historical
pageant played six times a week, presented to tourists a rough image of
Cherokee in the 18th century. We also visited the souvenir shops which sold
rubber tomahawks and war bonnets. There we befriended a local, George, who
told us that besides trade, the "Bingo Weekend," where the tourists can
enjoy various kinds of games in a large hall, is another source of income
for them during off-tour seasons. Finally, we visited the town's museum
where different kinds of arts, like handwoven baskets and carved figurines
are displayed. .
( 118 words )