After the writers’ conference at San Diego, I went to Arizona. (Most of the east coast of the USA was having really bad weather.) In Phoenix, the Capitol, I went to the few museums they have in the center of town – there aren’t that many. One museum, the Arizona Science Center, had the display “Bodyworks”, by Gunther von Hagens, which consists of preserved plasticized human corpses which are opened up, so you can see all the internal organs. It’s very strange to look at what once were real people. Is it morbid? Yes, sort of, but is it any different to looking at an ancient Egyptian mummy? Maybe not. The Heard Museum has displays of Native American crafts and artifacts
Phoenix is full of cactus plants and red scoria gravel where other cities have grass. I guess they just have to fit in with their climate.
A friend of a friend was good enough to drive me to Sedona, a town built in the middle of canyons that show the layers of rocks very clearly. We also saw “Rawhide,” a reconstructed Wild West town, complete with acted shootouts etc. I’ve included some photos below. I imagine the first settlers found this very inhospitable countryside to visit. It’s a wonder they didn’t pack up and go home. Still, America was founded with that spirit of exploration and setting off into possibly adverse conditions – kind of like the first explorers in Australia who crossed the Great Dividing Range that’s a couple of hundred miles in from the east coast of Australia. When they got to the other side and saw the harsh conditions, it surprising they didn’t go, “Hey I’m out of here.” Wills and Bourke, two of our most famous explorers, died because they miscalculated how far you had to travel before you’d find water. There are parallels. Anyway, some pictures are below.