Tuesday, November 6, 2012

DAY 76- Phoenix Marathon & MIM…

I got up early and went down to the gym.  I managed to run a good 2 miles on the treadmill and then managed to be out of the shower before Laura was awakened by her alarm.  As she was getting ready she mentioned that all the other nuns were trying to leave ASAP today before the Phoenix Marathon disrupted their shuttle ride from the hotel to the airport.  I had no idea that there was going to be a marathon today; and it was going right by the front of the hotel.  Cool! I thought and after having breakfast with the nuns, I went upstairs grabbed my camera and went down to watch.

Photo- About the 5th mile marker of the Phoenix Half Marathon.
I found a bench, took some pictures, and did some clapping-cheering as the runners went past.  It brought back fond memories of the two half marathons (Salt Lake & Park City) that I have done.  It appears that the hotel was about mile #5 of the half marathon part of the run; everyone was still rather fresh and most of them were looking like they were doing well.

Laura came back from the finish of the retreat and the plan for the day was the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM).  I went down to the front desk to ask directions around the marathon while Laura got her stuff together.  Mary at the front desk was so excited when I told her where we were going.  She told me that it was her FAVorite place and that she was sure we would have fun.  She explained how I could drive out “the back way” and get to the interstate and after that I should be fine.
Photo- Laura playing around near the orientation area of MIM.

Off we went and I sometimes amaze myself that I actually find places without a GPS and just a short hand version of Google directions.  I paid for our entrance; the least I can do since Laura is paying for the hotel room.  We get our headphones and we go to the orientation area.  We watch the short film that explains about the museum and the operation of the headphones.  Then, we head upstairs to the United States and Canada area.  We had been told by people at the hotel to start there and then work our way to the rest of the museum.  Quite a few people had said that they had gotten bogged down in the African music area and missed quite a bit of the museum because they took too long in that area. 

So up the escalator and down the hall to the United States and Canada area we went.  When we got to the area we went in and quite a bit of the first section were Native American dancing and music.  Each section had a screen that played a video and you would hear the audio through your head phones as you got close to it.  Once you moved onto another section with a video, the headphones would pick up the new audio.  We wondered around and listened to American Rock and Roll, Jazz, Country, Bluegrass, Marching Bands, and the list went on and on.   There were areas where musical instrument makers would talk about making instruments. 
Photo- Catching some play time in the interactive room.

Next, we decided to grab lunch at the café downstairs.  We hadn’t even really made a dent in the museum.  There was THAT much to see and do.  You could’ve taken days in it and still not seen everything.  We decided we needed to pick up the pace just a little bit.  We went over to the museum store to do a bit of shopping real quick while we were downstairs.  I was disappointed with their postcards and they didn’t really have the staples of what I would consider the normal souvenirs.  There was some neat stuff but a lot of the items were not specific to MIM(Musical Instrument Museum).  I didn’t purchase anything. 
Photo- One of the drums from the Olympics.
Photo- A large mechanical instrument that we saw a demo of while at the museum.

We decided next to check out the Artist Gallery which for some reason I had in my mind was going to be two dimensional art about music.  Don’t ask me why; it’s just how my mind works sometimes.  In the Artist’s Gallery, they had current and past musicians that were on display with their outfits and instruments.  They had the last guitar that Elvis played and one of the HUGE drums from the Olympics in Beijing.  They did a demonstration in the Mechanical Music Gallery of a HUGE wall area that was basically a mechanical organ, drum,etc. instrument.  It was built in the late 1940’s and had been in a dance hall somewhere over in Europe.
Photo- A Lur horn from Denmark. 
Photo- A violin made from an old Dutch wooden clog?
Yes, another interesting one.

Next we went back upstairs and decided to hit the Europe area.  It was wonderful and amazing all of the music and dancing that go on throughout our world. It was also fun seeing some of the unusual instruments.  There must have been about 17 different versions of the bagpipes in different cultures made out of different skins and bladders.  There was even one instrument that was made out of a pigs bladder that looked like a violin over a bladder.   There were all kinds of horns too; long winding horns and horns with four horns coming out of one.  The variety and the sounds were all unique but what was even more interesting is getting insight into all of these other cultures around the world through listening and watching their music and dancing.
Photo- A musical instrument that has a pig's bladder? YEP!

Laura gave out half way through Europe, but she encouraged me to continue on.  I picked up the pace through the rest of Europe.  Then I picked up the pace even more as I headed into Latin America and Oceania.  I was practically at an almost speed walked through the Asia area.  I gave out before I even got to the Middle East or Africa part of the museum.  I went downstairs where Laura was and ended up grabbing a coffee.  We had been at the museum for almost 5 hours and I needed caffeine before I drove us back to the hotel.

We opted for an easy night on the way back.  We swung through a fast food place.  Then back to the hotel where we ate the fast food, threw on our swimsuits, and went down to the hot tub to relax.  It was a full day of fun.

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