Saturday, 25 December 2010

Friday, 24 December 2010

La Fiesta de Tumacacori

The Fiesta is held on the Fiesta grounds at the ruins of Tumacacori Mission not far from Nogales.

There were lots of stalls, selling different crafts and pottery not to mention the food stalls selling tamales, burritos, tortillas, donuts and some sort of deep fried pastry, full of calories but delicious!

There were lots of chilli ristas, I’m not at all sure what you do with them.

In the arena Apache Crown Dancers were performing when we arrived,

they were followed by Folklorico dancers.

These dancers performed with real machetes and for a section of the dance they wore blindfolds!! Learning to do that won’t be going on our bucket list!

The dancers were joined by a Mariachi band.

Singers were invited to perform with the Mariachi Band.

Spectators were also encouraged to dance in the arena.

Reata (rawhide lariat) making was demonstrated by Dick Schorr from the Empire Ranch Foundation, it takes 40 hours work to make one lariat.

A finished lariat.

I think the fiesta carried on for quite a while after we left.

On the way home we stopped by the casino where I actually managed to win, although I don’t think I’ll be buying a yatch with my winnings which were a whole $12.50! but hey it was $12.50 I didn’t have when I arrived.

Have fun, we are!

Reid Park Zoo

We haven’t been to a zoo in years and Reid Park Zoo is a nice zoo, small and easy to walk around in a couple of hours.

The zoo is laid out in different habitat areas, they even have some polar bears, although I’m not at all sure what they make of the temperatures in Tucson.

The elephants were cute.

The rhino was enjoying a snooze in the sun.

We particularly liked the giraffes they look so delicate and have fabulous eyelashes.

The flamingos all looked as though they were having an afternoon snooze.

Doesn’t he look cute, but I was just glad there was really thick glass between us and him as he looked kinda hungry to me!

Have fun, we are!

The Presidio Trail - Part 2

A few days later we continued our explorations following the turquoise line on the Presidio Trail. Once again we parked on the convention centre parking lot.

Although it’s not the cheapest place to park we don’t have to worry about parking meters running out or if the truck will actually fit in a multi storey parking lot!

There are some particularly nice plazas around the convention centre with some lovely water features.

I thought of dangling my toes in here, but my legs just weren’t long enough!

This time we visited Armory Park. Armory Park is the site of the original Camp Lowell which was established in 1866 to protect Tucson, in 1873 the camp was moved out of town to protect the townsfolk from the rowdy soldiers!

The Tucson Children’s Museum was just across the road, but as we were feeling particularly grown up that day we didn’t go in.

This hotel has obviously seen better times, although who knows maybe at one time it was one of ‘the’ places to stay in downtown Tucson.
We found the famous Hotel Congress where the gangster John Dillinger was captured in the 1930’s. A fire broke out when they were using the hotel as a hideout, one of the fireman became suspicious about the contents of a heavy case which led to the capture of the gang.
The Historic Railroad Depot faces one side of the hotel. Amtrack has offices there and trains still use the tracks, although I’m not sure if they actually stop these days. We had a delicious lunch in Maynards Kitchen which now occupies part of the building before continuing our ramble along the trail.

The historic Fox theatre was one of the last places we visited before heading home.
Have fun, we are!

Pima Air & Space Museum

Pima Air & Space Museum is not far from where we’re staying and it is huge. We had planned a one day trip but there is so much to see we got information overload and had to return the next day.

This cute little plane was used in one of the James Bond movies, but I’ve forgotten which one.

The museum is staffed by volunteers most of whom are retired USAF or military and quite a few of the those we spoke to had taken part in conflicts from WWII to the present.

This helicopter is used by the US Forest Service to help fight forest fires.

We took the guided tour around the site, our guide was very knowledgeable about all the planes, so much so that we were got overload!

This is one of the stealth planes, there is no official information as to the height these planes fly at but the volunteers did say that it was known to have reached heights of 80,000 ft. That’s high!

It is thought that John F Kennedy may have flown in this plane during the 1960’s.

In the afternoon we took a guided tour to Davies Monathan Air Force Base that took us through what is unofficially called the ‘boneyard’. As Davies Monathan is an operational base we had to provide proof of identity before we boarded the coach at the musuem. Once inside the base the coach drove slowly past each section while the guide relayed us with information. No-one was allowed to leave the coach until we returned to the museum.

The windows, engines and navigational equipment are all covered and protected against the dust and heat of the desert.

The ‘boneyard’ is a huge area where countless planes are stored, there is also another area full of old planes that have been cannibalised for parts.

I’m not sure this one is ever going to fly very far again!

The tour took just over an hour and was very informative. We had a great time and I'm sure we'll revisit the museum in the future.

Have fun, we are!

In search of the Old Presidio

Oh dear my promise to update the blog soon after moved didn’t exactly pan out, we got so tied up sightseeing and relaxing at Rincon East the days just flew by so these are some of the places we visited.

The Turquoise or Presidio Trail starts at the visitor centre in La Placita and guides you round historic areas of downtown Tucson. Our first stop was, lunch!

After lunch we didn’t exactly follow the tour guide so our next stop was St Augustine Cathedral, it’s a beautiful building, but we never did get to see inside as it’s currently undergoing restoration and for safety reasons is only open for mass and confession.

From there we headed to the historic Pima County Courthouse in the heart of downtown it’s a beautiful building.

Sunset Park is beyond the courthouse and has fountains and lots of seating, as well as statues to the Mormon Battallion.

We followed the trail to the original Presidio San Agustin del Tucson established in 1775, there is only a small section of the original wall of the Presidio left.
Here we were actually back following the guide in the right order through Old Town Artisans.

Past the art galleries and a beautiful tiled wall section.

This took us back to the entrance to Sunset Park, we carried on following the trail across the road bridge and back to La Placita village.

We ended our trip here and headed back to the convention centre parking lot then headed home to enjoy the rest of the afternoon sunshine.

Have fun, we are!