Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Ghost town, A hot air balloon festival and caverns

Over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, I started working on exploring Arizona. First on Sunday we went to Oatman, a ghost town, on Route 66. It is advertised as the ghost town that won't die. It kind of reminds me of Keystone in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It has a main street and little shops all up and down the street. We pretty much went in every shop and looked around. There were lots of donkeys that are loose on the street. People take pictures with them and feed them food. I am not really sure why there are all these donkeys. Oatman is located on Route 66. After that we drove to Lake Havasu. They were having a hot air balloon festival. We saw the London Bridge and actually drove over to it. I was so not impressed. I thought it would be much more elaborate. We also walked under the bridge and along the river down to a park. We were trying to figure out where the hot air balloons were because we couldn't see them. We ended up getting back in the vehicle and driving a little bit before we got to the place and then we had to walk a long way to get to the place where they were. There was also a band that was playing and lots of food and vendors selling different things. When the sun started going down the balloons started landing and some they inflated again. When it got dark they had the glow event. We were able to stand in the middle and watch the balloons light up. Sometimes they flickered, sometimes they went in time to music and other times they did full on blasts. It was so awesome. We were surrounded by these huge hot air balloons and just watching them light up was awesome. We eventually left after watching for a long time and they were still going when we left.

On Monday we went to the Grand Canyons Caverns. It was awesome. There were no stalagmites and stalactites. The crystals weren't as impressive as in some of the caverns I've seen in South Dakota but it was still interesting. I liked learning the history of the caverns. It is a dry cavern 220 feet below the earth's surface. There aren't many dry caverns in the world. The guy who discovered the caverns thought that he had discovered a mine that had silver, gold and diamonds all together but after it was tested found out it was just crystals. After that he started setting up tours for $00.25. The person was given a lantern and lowered into the cavern by hanging onto a rope. This is where the saying "dope on a rope" originated. Later he had a swinging  bridge and stairs that people used for $00.50. The humidity is only 3%down there. At one time they were trying to figure out where the air was coming from, so they released red smoke and waited up top to see where it came out. Two weeks later they got a call from people that work at the Grand Canyon saying that red smoke was coming out of the walls. That is why they changed the name to Grand Canyon Caverns.

There is a mummified bobcat in the cavern. She had fallen down the hole and broken her hip but still tried to get out. Since there is so little moisture down there and nothing grows she ended up mummifying and they left her down there for people to see. They also have a replica of a huge sloth that also fell down the hole and tried to get out. One can still see the claw marks that she made. She broke her back. They removed her to investigate what happened to her so she didn't mummify, but they wanted a replica made so people could see how huge she was. There have been some people that have gotten married down in the cavern. They also have a suite set up so people can stay the night there. They have a band stage and they used to have concerts down there and said they plan to start again. It is also set up as a shelter. They set it up as a shelter during the Cuban missile crisis. They still have supplies there and could still use it as a shelter but because the population of the near-by towns have grown they wouldn't be able to accommodate everyone like they used to be able to do.  We had a great tour guide and he was very informative and funny.

11 Questions

1.     Who was your most memorable teacher, and why? My 6th grade teacher was very special to me. I have known since I was in Kindergarten that I was going to be a teacher, but she is probably the first teacher that really encouraged me to actually become a teacher. I also remember giving her a present (even though I don't remember the occasion) and my classmates teased me about it. So, even though she loved it I still also remember being teased about it. 
2.     Who is one of your educational mentors, and what makes them so special? Well, Dr. Carol Hess was one of my college professors and I kept in touch with her for several years, but she retired this year. She inspired to me to be an awesome teacher. She also has lots of life experience. I never thought I would be brave enough to do the things I have done, but I looked up to her and thought if I want to be as awesome as her someday then I can’t stay in my comfort zone and never take risks.
3.     Which song describes how you are feeling today? Add the youtube clip if possible 
      I can't even remember how long (I know it has been at least since elementary school) I have felt like I am living my life upside down and from the outside looking in. I am usually attracted to darker music, but this lighthearted song actually also fits how I feel. 
      Paloma Faith "Upside Down"  
4.     What is your favourite restaurant/place to eat in the city in which you live, and why?
      I actually have two. One would have to be Sakura Sushi because I just started liking sushi my third year overseas and I am so glad that I can continue to eat it back in the US and other Asian food. The other would be Plaza Bonita. I also really love Mexican food, and I even though I really love Asian food I really missed Mexican food while I was overseas. 
5.     Which video is *cracking you up right now? (*making you laugh) Give us the link!
      I can't remember what my favorite one is called and can't find it. So this is my second favorite. 
      I can fit in there. 
      Twitter wasn't working earlier but I have it now. Medieval Help Desk
6.     What is one thing you learned recently, that wouldn’t have been possible without technology? How did you learn it?
      Well, this year has been an adjustment and my first 6 months in my new town I worked seven days a week, which did not give me the opportunity to meet new people. I also spent a lot of time staying connected with people far away, which is great, but those people can't accept invitations to do things in person. So, this spring I have been working on learning things not using technology and meeting people face to face rather than through technology. So, one of the things I have been learning is how to knit and I am taking a knitting class and meeting other people that knit. I am sure I could watch videos and learn how to knit but my goal is to meet new people where I live. How this ties into technology is that I learned through twitter at the beginning of the year about choosing one word for the year instead of resolutions. My word for this year is Balance. Moving to a new place is always a huge adjustment and there are many things I need to balance so that I make it a successful move. My personality is not always one that leads to balance, so I am really working on trying to improve that part of me. 
7.     Can you please snap a picture of one of your everyday views, and share the photo here?
Hualapai Mountains

8.     What is the next place you want to visit and why?
I have lots of countries that I have yet to see and I have a long list. I think my next trip I would like to go back to Switzerland. I loved Switzerland when I was there, but it has been several years and so I want to go back to see if I still love it as much as I do in my memories. There is something about Switzerland that calls to me and it has been too long since I was last there to consciously remember what it is, but hopefully going back I can find it again and be satisfied. 
9.     Complete this sentence: Teaching is a wonderful profession because…
      I get to work with students everyday. I enjoy continuing to learn myself and working with others to teach them new things. I can share my love of different things with them.  I love being able to be around young people because it keeps me feeling young. They have some great stories to share and they love my sense of humor. I also like the fact that I can make a difference to someone and that they know that there is at least one person in the world that cares about them. 
10.  Can you please list 5 of your favourite movies? Feel free to elaborate on why you like them. Or not!
This is tough.
James Bond movies- I don’t have a favorite, as I love them all. I love James Bond. 
"The Princess Bride"- I really like this movie because it was the first non-cartoon love story and it has action and humor too.
"The Shawshank Redemption"- I don't know. I just do. 
"The Red Violin"- I saw this back in college and it has stuck with me ever since. I recently bought it and watched it again. I still love the story of it.
"An American in Paris"- I love old movies and I also love to dance. Even though I wanted to be a teacher since I was little, I also wanted to be a prima ballerina. When I was little I planned to teach during the day and dance at night. So, not only is an old classic, but it also has dancing in it and it is overseas so it more exotic than the US. 
11.  How do you unwind on a Friday after school? That really depends on how the week went and the mood I am in. Sometimes I like to stay in, make dinner and watch a movie with popcorn. Other times I like to go out for dinner and dancing.