Stephanie (collacentaur) wrote,

Vacation report: Saturday (3/11)

Saturday morning, soupkills and calloocallay[1] arrived in town. demongrey, museasylum626, and I piled into the back of palingyuan and oidhche's SUV. The theory was that we would meet Soup and Emily for breakfast at Frank's, which was one of the restaurants ourika had suggested. In practice, they had finished eating before we got there. It turned out to be just as well, since the restaurant barely had space to fit five of us together, and seven would have been challenging.

We sent Soup and Emily off in their spiffy convertible on a wild goose chase, since one of the projects for the day was to find batteries and a clip for one of the video cameras that would be used the next day. MA and I both ordered biscuits, and I expressed my appreciation for being in a Land of Biscuits, because it's hard to get good biscuits in the northeast. A few moments of silliness later, Oid pulled out his cell phone and called daernhelm, and offered thanks to Jeff, God of Biscuits. [2] I also ordered an omelet, but didn't eat much of it because it was very greasy. That's probably just as well, because something I ate did not sit well with me that afternoon, and I suspect the omelet was the culprit.

Then we all headed to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which was the one thing that everyone visiting Tucson needed to see. The journey itself was scenic, as we headed into the hills. As the houses thinned out, the cacti took over. Gradually it sank in that this was a saguaro forest. [3] Paling, who was driving, expounded on the varying characteristics of some of the smaller species. [4] She leaned over Oid to point one out, just as the descent began and the ground dropped away just beyond the road on the passenger's side of the car. Oid was not amused. I was, however.

The museum displays animal, vegetable, and mineral, nicely encompassing my need to see zoos wherever I go, Paling's need to see rocks, and everyone's need to see cacti up close and personal. I even managed to remember to take some pictures of my friends, as well as the exhibits. However, Emily took better people-pictures than I did, so take a look at her post if you're on her friendslist.

My pictures include Big Cactus:

(Comparatively) Small Cactus:

Purple Cactus:

Itty-Bitty Pretty Cactus:

Desert Wolf:


and the ubiquitous International Spy:

As well as more pictures which can be found elsewhere.

I did not get any pictures of the otters (they were moving too fast), or of the adorable wee owls that MA suggested were the models for Pigwidgeon, Ron Weasley's owl in the later Harry Potter books. I did, however, find a stuffed owl in the gift shop, which I bought for Oidhche, who clearly needed a pocket owl.

We had prepared for wind and rain, but eventually it got to be too much for us. We skipped the furthest trail, and I think a couple of other things, and after food and the aforementioned gift shop trip, headed back into the city. Paling and Oid went shopping to resolve the video camera issue, while the rest of us took some hotel downtime.

We reconvened at seven at La Parilla Suiza, the restaurant we had failed to eat at on Friday. DG had made reservations for us in the morning, so this time we were successful in being seated, after squirming through the overcrowded lobby. A large pitcher of margaritas would have made the food taste good no matter what, but as it happened, it was good enough to stand on its own. The waiter impressed me, by telling me what I wanted to eat instead of asking, and getting it right. He admitted that since I was on the end, he could see where my eyes went on the menu, but I still thought it was a pretty neat trick.

We had finished eating when the mariachi band came in, and we decided perhaps we should leave before they started their performance. We adjourned to a grocery store, to pick up some beer. Well, some beer and something else for those who don't drink beer. And something non-alcoholic. And a little bit of chocolate, because M&Ms have proved useful in the past. Seven types of beverages and a ridiculous amount of chocolate later, we managed to check out. I got carded, for the first time in quite a while. Somehow I was not surprised.

Soup gave Paling directions to his hotel, which would have been fine if he hadn't mixed up Sunrise and Sunset (cue Fiddler on the Roof). He then didn't follow the directions himself, pulling into an incorrect turn lane twice before reaching the actual turn. Of course, the rain, by now steady, didn't help matters any. By the time we reached the hotel, I wasn't sure he was going to survive parking the cars... and I was riding in his car, not hers.

So, we played 1000 Blank White Cards, in a Ridiculously Luxurious Hotel Room. The game stayed fairly tame, since we had somewhere to be the next day, and most of us were staying in a different hotel. Some people were even keeping track of points! Highlights included Oidhche's sober performance of Drunken Karaoke, and a clothing exchange card which had much more amusing results than any of the standard clothing removal cards. If I remember correctly, in the end, MA won by a substantial amount, Paling lost by a much larger amount[5], and the rest of us were all around the same indeterminate point in between.

To be continued...

Coming next installment: ourika and taoist_pagan get married!


[1] Henceforth referred to as "Emily" as CC has the potential for vast confusion in this gathering, and I know she uses her name in her own LJ.

[2] Yes, we know that Eddie Izzard is British, and when he says biscuits, he means what we'd call cookies. It was still funny in context.

[3] The West District of the Saguaro National Park is just beyond the Desert Museum. If I'd had more time, I would have liked to go there as well, since I'm trying to collect National Parks. I'll have to go back at some point.

[4] Later, on the museum grounds, she also pointed out to me the species of cactus that has a starring role in her infamous Field Camp Cactus Story, which I had been hoping she would identify. It wasn't one of the ones we could see from the road, and I didn't take a picture.

[5] due to creating and playing a card giving her 50,000 points for falling asleep during the game, and then having a card played on her making all points gained be lost instead, before she fell asleep.
Tags: vacation

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