Category: - NM&AZ 2011
 
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Today we had a full day of sightseeing.   Since Will was still on East Coast time we took advantage and got out early to visit the Desert Botanical Garden.   When the temperature regularly hits 100 degrees by midday it’s always a good idea to do outside activities in the early morning.   We had completed our walk around the gardens by 9am.   We were amazed at the variety of the desert plants and how many of them were blooming.  It was also wonderful to watch the birds helping themselves to breakfast at the top of the Saquaro cacti.

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Next up was Will’s pick of a stadium tour at Chase Field home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Going on stadium tours at ballparks around the country is one of Will’s favorite activities when travelling, which means that we have been to quite a few.   Second on his list is taking photographs of him standing in front of stadiums and arenas.   We did it all today.    The relatively new Chase Field seemed to me to be more an entertainment venue than a ballpark.  There are 700 television screens in the park, the retractable roof opens or closes in 4 ½ minutes, there is a section with picnic tables, a section designated as an “All you can eat” zone, a swimming pool in right field that can be reserved for you and your 25 closest friends for $3500 per game.   Interestingly with all this and seat prices that were reminiscent of Fenway Park in the 50’still made us long for Fenway Park where we go to just watch baseball.

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For the final activity of the day Will and I headed to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West.   Harry had been there before and had a conference call he needed to make.    I loved it.   Will wasn’t convinced although I think it will grow on him.   For all his faults as a human being I love visiting Wright’s buildings and hearing the stories of his eccentricities.   It’s terrific to think about Wright leading his auto caravan of students to the Arizona desert and camping out while they planned and built the buildings over the next 20 years.   

Back at the hotel – a swim in the pool and a soak in the hot tub and we are in for the night watching the NBA finals.

 

Taliesin West

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A placeholder image until I get one of Ben's photos of Taliesin West
Fifteen years ago, Harry managed to tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West while in Arizona on a business trip.  On the way to the airport this morning Harry took Ben on a detour to drive by Taliesin for a photo op.   

When we entered the reception area, a lady asked me if we were here for a tour.  I replied that because Ben had to catch a plane, we really didn’t have time for a tour. A very nice man overheard my response, and said, “Hey, I’ll give you a quick tour”.  Wow, this was great.  He gave us a tour through the building, giving Ben a good feeling for the place.  What a nice guy.  I told him we would be back next week with our other son Will.

Heard Museum

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A beautiful exhibit titled "Home" in the Heard Museum
After Ben was securely on his way back to Boston, we went into Phoenix.  The Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix presents Native arts and cultures.  We took the  offered introductory tour which was lead by two young men.  One was of Hopi heritage, the other Navajo and they did a wonderfuljob of explaining the art of their people.   One highlight for us was the impressive Katsina (their interpretative spelling for the more common Katchina) collection.    There are ancient works as well as contemporary examples.  The outdoor courtyards are filled with sculpture.    We had our lunch in the shaded courtyard with its bubbling fountains.   

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This afternoon we took some time to write, read, and generally recover from a delightfully busy week with Ben.   It was a pleasure to have him with us.