I am breaking this monster of a post into small posts, and publishing them individually with pictures. If you only want to see some pictures, click here and go the Flickr album. Enjoy those.
Here is the run down in supreme detail of our Arizona/New Mexico adventures in late February, early March.
Back in November, Doug was sitting on the couch, thinking that if this winter was half as bad as last winter, by March he'd be ready to kill himself.
So he bought 2 plane tickets for us, told me to ask for vacation time, and let Geoff know that he'd be on his own. Jessica had basically moved to her new apartment, so she was covered. Geoff had his driver's license... so he could go to the store and do things on his own.
We knew he'd be all set. Plus our neighbors across the street promised to help him out with his work schedule and dog coverage.
We could travel knowing with deep assurances that everything back here would be okay.
Both of us worked from home, and while working, packed, did laundry, got things organized. Our flight was delayed by 2 hours, so that was good - we were able to be ready "on time" and then have some more time to just relax. And work a little more. We left, relaxed and non-harried. For the first time ever.
We flew into Phoenix and landed at midnight their time (2am our time!), got our rental car, (sweet assed upgrade!) drove over to the hotel that Doug picked on Travelocity while we were waiting for our flight to take off at Logan. We grabbed some beers at the gas station across the street from the hotel, and stood on the cement outside our room in our bare feet, in the moonlight, enjoying some locally brewed Kilt Lifter Beer, listening to loud birds in the tree. We slept well.
The morning coffee and breakfast buffet was great, and we hit the road to explore the great Southwest.
Our friend Amy was going to host us that night, but she was at work until 5pm. So what to do, what to do, what to do... Doug always has a plan, and he chose the Musical Instrument Museum.
Beautiful building, beautiful space, and excellent presentations. The continents and countries are all represented with indigenous inventions of instrumental enjoyment, and all sorts of musical styles. We spent about six hours in the museum, and could have spent a bit more.
The highlight of the museum for me was in the South America section. There was a display of instruments made from garbage and trash items from Paraguay, and the Recycled Orchestra. They showed how the people find items, turn them into violins and flutes and trumpets.... and then show the children learning how to play. They tour the world playing Mozart, Bach, beautiful pieces... everything sounds a touch "off" as it were but when you think about how the items are made of garbage, and the children are taught, trained, learn all this beautiful music... it is chilling and inspiring and it made me cry.
I stood there looking at the clarinet and the upright bass, and the drums and everything - crying. I had to walk away when a woman came over because I didn't want her to see me bawling my ass off.
I was kind of a mess.
Ironically, in the same building there was an exhibit on Stradivarius and his violins and work for an extra charge. We decided to pass on seeing that.
But I have to say, the true treasure was the bottle caps on the flutes and the guitars made from oil cans. In my opinion.
A Stradivarius in the hand of a master musician most likely won't make me cry as much as a tin instrument played by a beautiful young girl.
Anyway. Great place. Twenty thumbs up. If in Phoenix, go.
We got to Amy's and had dinner with her and her boyfriend Dave. Doug had met Dave sometime in the past couple of years when he went out to Phoenix for a conference, but Dave and I hadn't met "IRL" as it were. Facebook friends, connected through Amy.
He's Australian but has been here 35 years. And they've been together about 4.
We had a delicious meal, a laugh riot, drank too much wine, talked about BritComs and music, told hysterical stories and just really enjoyed ourselves.
Part 2, with Pavlova and Roger Clyne and the Arizona Peacemakers as we take over TEMPE!