For those of you who visit my blog to read about Tanzania: sorry! I'll be writing about America for several more weeks. But don't go away mad...I've already been having fun and visiting some interesting tourist sites. And as soon as I told my friends I'd changed my plans and would be here all summer, they quickly booked me on three National Park excursions that are going to be fabulous: touring Yellowstone Park in July with an old Peace Corps friend; riding mules to the floor of the Grand Canyon in August with my cousin; and hiking in Sequoia National Park amongst the giant trees in September with a favorite travel buddy. So stay tuned for great summer adventures!
Driving south, I got slowed down by horrible road construction stretching for miles south of Salt Lake City. Then I got slowed down by the presence of Amy, a friend/former coworker in Beaver, Utah. It was so nice to see her again that I stayed overnight at her place so I could hear all about her new District Ranger job with the Forest Service. Well, the job isn't that new anymore, but it's been awhile since we caught up.
The next day I drove through the Navajo reservation south of Page, Arizona. I could hardly see any of the stunning landscape, even though I knew it was there, because the wind howled and wrapped me in clouds of white dust.
I reached Phoenix and my cousin's house by evening. Chris and her husband Jerry welcomed me to their beautiful house that feels just like a posh Mexican beach resort. Chris and I both love museums. Jerry's a good sport and accompanies Chris to many museums when they travel. This time he loved that Chris and I could go to the Heard Museum and Taliesin West together and he could stay home.
I've wanted to visit the Heard Museum for over ten years, ever since I read that it has one of the world's best collections of Native American pottery. I know--I'm a nerd. But it did not disappoint!
At about this point in the tour, I sidled up to Chris and whispered, "I must be a cultural cretin, but I think it's ugly." Why did I whisper? Because we had at least two Frank Lloyd Wright groupies in our tour group and I didn't want to 1) spoil the experience for them by being rude, 2) be hit by a groupie's camera, or 3) reveal myself to anyone but Chris as a cultural cretin. (I think Chris already knew.)
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
This one sounds good because it's all about the scandal of Wright running off with a client's wife.
Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders by William R. Drennan
Our guide didn't mention this! In 1914, seven adults and children dear to Wright were brutally murdered and his premiere house, Taliesin, was burned.
The Women by T.C. Boyle
A novelized version of Wright's sensational personal life and the building of Taliesin.
Back at the Mexican beach resort that is Chris and Jerry's house, Chris mentioned she'd seen a flock of rosy-cheeked lovebirds in a small nature preserve a couple of miles from her house. They're native to West Africa, but she had a magazine clipping with a picture to prove they were there. I demanded a trip to see them, and Chris obliged.