Tuesday, March 26, 2013

standing on the sun

 My favourite restaurant meal of the Great Southwest Sojourn was eaten at a museum. The outdoor courtyard of the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art in Phoenix is a deliciously sun-dappled oasis, cool and restful. Set in the centre of striking Spanish-influenced architecture, it's an ideal location for a high quality restaurant that focuses on tasty and tastefully-presented food and impeccable service. I had tall frosty glasses of iced tea, served in the traditional unsweetened American style, and the best carnitas ever.

Since, left to my own devises I tend to bounce aimlessly from exhibit to exhibit, we opted to join in one of the 45 minute museum tours. Oh my lawd didn't we get Gloria for our tour guide.  An 80-something self-confessed bossy-pants (there was speculation amongst the crowd that she must be a former teacher), Gloria pounded the display glass with her bright red talons, turquoise rings flashing as she expounded points that wandered in and out of focus. I suspect they have to break out the Windex after Gloria finishes her tours. She was awesome.

 My favourite exhibition at the Heard was that of the Native American Code Talkers.  I knew of the role that the code talkers played during wartime, but didn't realize that instead of simply translating English messages to Indian languages, as I thought, they actually developed a code within the native languages, based on alphabet and on Indian words that matched the function of the war machinery.  A fascinating, but troubling chapter of American history.

If you exit through the gift shop with the aim of bringing something home, though, you are going to max out that credit card.  There were some pretty pricey offerings therein, including a katsina doll that could be ours for the very reasonable price of $28,000.00.

Two consecutive days of museuming turned out to be the perfect leadup to an afternoon of major league baseball.  Stay tuned!


bloody awful poetry said...

Gloria sounds awesome! And I love the pictures as well. I know museum-ing gets panned as quite a generic touristy thing to do, but I can't help it. Museums, libraries and cathedrals are always on my top places to visit in any city (that has at least 2 out of those 3 things - otherwise I'll just settle for a nice fountain).

Barbara Bruederlin said...

We should go touristing together, BAP! It really does sound like you are my kind of traveller, which does not surprise me in the slightest. I even like the museum gift shops.

John Mutford said...

I want to like those Tobasco shoes, but I find them a little creepy. Like something Lovecraft would design.

Allison said...

Did you make it to the Musical Instrument Museum? That was a wild place!

Those shoes you have pictured kill me. ;)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

They are a little on the freaky side, John. Something you might see in the film Brazil...

Never made it to that museum, Al, just Taliesin West and the Heard. I guess I did need more than five days.