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Friday, 13 July 2012

Last Day

Today is our last day here, before we have to fly back to England tomorrow morning. We're going to spend most of today enjoying the last of the sunshine and the pool (although it has been quite stormy here recently!) and our family friends Dona and Lorrie are also coming round for dinner.

Our flight tomorrow leaves at 12 noon, then it's four and a half hours to Philadelphia, then straight on back to Manchester in England after a further seven hours of flying from Philadelphia. It's going to be a long journey back, and we don't actually land until Sunday in England; but we will no doubt try and get some sleep and it always seems to pass faster going back home anyway!

The suitcases are stuffed to the brim, and so are our stomachs. Needless to say a major diet over-haul will occur once we have returned from holiday. Thank you all for reading, and I can hopefully post a video of our travels once I've edited everything :)

Cirque du Soleil

Tonight we went to go and see Cirque du Soleil perform as their tour had brought them here to Phoenix. The show we went to see was called 'Kooza' which derived from Sanskrit means "magical container". 

Kooza tells the story of The Innocent, a melancholy boy in search of his place in the world. The show combines two circus traditions - the art of clowning, and acrobatic performance. The boys journey begins after opening the magical box, the Kooza, which takes him into a world un-known bringing him into contact with a range of characters including the King, the Trickster, a Pickpocket, an annoying tourist, and a bad dog. Who at one point actually peed on a woman in the audience, she didn't seem too thrilled.

The show was funny and entertaining, but it also made you feel like you were going to pass out or have a heart attack. Our jaws were already firmly heading towards the floor from the start, but by the end they had practically hit the ground and gone under. The amazing flexibility of the acrobats was so impressive, at one point it didn't even look like human bodies anymore - more like a snake form because of how they were bending. Not to mention the two guys who were on a spinning centrifuge (which was un-surprisingly called the wheel of death) without any rope or wires and were actually jumping on top of it, whilst spinning very fast, and at one point he even started skipping. I was watching behind my hands with only one eye peeping out during the act, it was horrifying to see, I actually thought he was going to plummet to his death, which just made it even more gripping.

We weren't allowed to take cameras in with us for various reasons, so all photographs here are from the Cirque du Soleil website for Kooza.

So there you have it, the show was truly amazing. The amount of times 'oh my god' 'no' 'NO, NO WAY' 'they're really going to do that?!' and... 'ARE YOU KIDDING ME?' was both said and heard, speaks for itself. It's something you need to see with your own eyes, and I'd highly recommend anyone to do so. I'd love to see a different Cirque du Soleil show to see how it would compare, though I'm betting that it would be just as fantastic.

You can watch the wheel of death for yourself here:

Monday, 9 July 2012

Dolly Steamboat

Today we set off on our travels again to head to a place called Canyon Lake, which is one of the four reservoirs which was formed by the damming of the Salt River. It is within the Superstition Wilderness of Tonto National Forest, with an average depth of 130ft.

We went on a little cruise around the lake on an old fashioned steam boat, called the Dolly Steamboat - named after it's owners.

It was absolutely boiling hot, and with our failed 'made in China' paper fan being the only thing to keep us cooled..we were pretty doomed.

Anyway, it was a nice cruise, we saw some pretty sights and lots of many people passing by on speed boats (obviously a lot cooler than us) and had a very imaginative Captain who claimed that you could even see a man playing an organ in the rock face. Was there? No, don't think so. But he was quite funny.

Afterwards we passed through a little place called Tortilla Flat, which has a total population of...six. So yes, pretty little. 

The name "Tortilla Flat" originated from the cowboys who used to drive cattle from Globe to Phoenix. While in Phoenix, rancher Mr. Cline and his fellow cowboys celebrated their sale, and, having a little too much to drink, forgot to get supplies while they were in town. They ended up with only flour to make tortillas when they camped at the flat and were stranded.

..So let that be a lesson to you!

It did however have a great bar (yes we really do just gravitate towards them) with hundreds of bills on the wall from over the world. Mainly dollars of course, but we did find an old English fiver!

..and not to mention the best seats at the bar, which were in fact horse saddles! Welcome to the Wild West.

Dining With Sharks

On Friday night we went to a place called Dillons Restaurant, which is a BBQ place, most famous for it's ribs. However, this was a different kind of restaurant. As it is connected to Phoenix zoo, so where you sit you can either be surrounded by sharks like we did, or outside with the flamingos. 

It was quite an experience, for a start it was absolutely packed out with people. We had to wait a while for our table so off to the bar we went, next to the albino alligator might I add (do note these are all behind glass). Then Elvis came in. Yep, that's right, Elvis at the bar. Obviously an impersonator, but he was pretty good.

These are some views from our table, we were really near the sharks! I think they may have wanted the BBQ ribs just as much as we did..

Friday, 6 July 2012

Salt Water Tubing

Today we went salt water tubing in Mesa, which was lovely and refreshing to have the coolness of the water, making that boiling Arizona heat blazing down just that bit more bearable. Although that didn't stop us getting burnt to a crisp, oh no, nothing but. Despite layers of SPF 50 sun cream on, our weak British pale skin in all it's finery just couldn't handle it. My legs are red-raw, I have what looks like socks due to the drastic colour change from where my shoes were compared to the burning red of my legs. As for everyone else, there's a good few t-shirt tan lines going on. I say 'tan' in the kindest way possible, as it's really more just red.

We had a great laugh, I would recommend it to anyone. Although tying ourselves together with rope connecting our tubes maybe wasn't the best idea. As my Uncle soon realised and instead decided to ride solo and zoomed off into the rapids without us. Leaving us, the girls, the spin around in circles in hysterics as my dad frantically paddled to keep up; eventually we had to throw him the rope and pull him in.

Do you spot the mysterious white floating device? That would be our cooler. It wouldn't be right if we didn't take a cooler full of snacks and beer in tact. Although the cooler did prove to be quite problematic - due to all being roped together, whenever we ended up trapped in a tree, sea-weed, or reeds (this happened way too often) the main concern was 'save the cooler!' Or when my auntie capsized and was struggling to get back above water? "make sure the cooler doesn't drift off!!!" Nice to see that in our family food and beer takes higher priority over someones well being. 

Three and a half hours later, after many struggles to actually keep on the flow of the river, and get ourselves out of the various trees, rocks, reeds, and various other rubble. We reached the end of our journey soaking wet, many bruises thanks to the rocks, and burnt to a crisp. But it was worth it.

4th July Fireworks

Last night we headed over to Peoria to see a fireworks display to celebrate the 4th of July. It was held at the baseball training ground so up we went onto the bleachers to watch it light up the sky. They had quite a few other attractions there too, including snow! Real snow. Yes, that's aright, in Arizona. In 105F, we had snow. It was produced from a machine, but it was still snow all the same! So that was quite odd, but whatever.

The display lasted for about half an hour, and although the display was impressive, the music didn't quite live up to the same hype. I thought I was going to have to listen to the same America jingle for the entire show, they seemed to just have it suck on repeat. Then once it was all sorted out, the music suddenly blasted out louder, as my dad pointed out - there would have been louder music coming out from a Honda Civic. If you don't know what that is, well, it's not great lets put it that way - the PA system was so quiet!

But anyway, we enjoyed the fireworks all the same, and then it was off back to the car park to wait another forty-five minutes before we could even exit it. Oh the joys of road blocks.

Next post to come includes photos from today's salt water tubing!

Golfland SunSplash Photographs

We got our film developed from the water-proof camera. It was the first time we've ever used it, and I'm pretty happy with how the photos turned out! Scanned a few of them in to post on the blog to show you.

These are from the water-park we went to the other day, as mentioned in one of my previous blog posts; from a place in Mesa called Goldland SunSplash:

4th of July fireworks to come next, and the photos we took today (again using the water-proof camera) on the Saltwater River in Mesa where we went tubing!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

July 4th

Happy 4th July! Today we had our family friends Lorrie and Dona over for brunch, which included a bit of an English twist (have you spotted the bunting?) Meat pies, and a traditional English cooked breakfast. Followed by cake..of course. Cookies, and dipped strawberries (red, white, and blue might I add!) and some patriotic cupcakes too.

We got some rare Arizona rain today, which has made temperatures cooler, but now the humidity is higher. You just can't win. Tonight we're hoping to head out to see a fireworks display, so no doubt more photos to come! 

Going tubing tomorrow on the salt river rapids in Mesa, and in true British style we even have an inflatable cooler to take with us, for drinks and snacks. Can't go hungry can we now? Taking the underwater camera and still have a roll of film left, so will no doubt use that up tomorrow too. Hopefully getting the first roll of  film developed soon to show you!

Monday, 2 July 2012


Yesterday we decided to go to a waterpark called Golfland SunSplash in Mesa, due to our pool currently being out of use here. Had a great day out in the sunshine and the water, there were many rides to go on and a big wave pool. And some water rides that we didn't really want to go on after hearing the various screams as people were sent down them. They sounded as if they feared for their lives. Especially my auntie, who you could probably hear screaming (on a medium-speed ride might I add) all the way back at the house in Litchfield Park, on the other side of town.

We took the underwater camera with us and got some photographs, so if we get them developed then I'll scan them in and you can view them here, I'm sure they'll provide you with a great laugh as in most of the photos we are probably screaming or looking like we're about to be drowned by the speed and water created on the rides.

...I think that the 'lazy river' was defiantly more our forté!

Horseshoe Bend

I'm a bit late with these photographs, but I haven't been able to find the time to post this! We are back in Phoenix now, all nice and rested again. These are some photographs from Lees Ferry in Page, which I mentioned about in an earlier post.

Technically, if you search for Lees Ferry you will find the photograph of Horseshoe Bend (as shown below) yet whilst we were actually at Lees Ferry as a place, we couldn't find it anywhere. But out of chance we came across it in Page, which is on the border of Utah. Although, the Colorado river does start there too so it is still technically classed as Lees Ferry, but very misleading to find. Good old American sign-posting there I see.

And so we set off on what appeared to be a small walk up a sandy hill, to which we assumed we would find this Horseshoe Bend at the top. We did not, again, the signs lie. Note, when you see a sign in America that says '3/4 of a mile' it lies. It actually means 2 miles. And walking up and down sand dunes in 95F heat is never a great thing.

But when we did finally get to the top (it was so high!) we got some great views.

... including this crazy Polish guy who was hanging right over the edge trying to get his photograph. The overlook is 4,200 feet above sea level and the Colorado River is at 3,200 feet above sea level making it a breathtaking 1,000 foot drop. Maybe he wouldn't be hanging on the edge if he knew that, but I certainly wasn't willing to try it!