Day 1 - Saturday 16 July 2016 - 7.53pm (Verde Valley time)

Travel, travel and more travel, arrival at last as the sunsets into the red rocks

Red rocks of the Verde Valley School, Arizona

I left Hobart on the 15th at about 8am, flew to Sydney, spent the night with my brother, had a look around Sydney's busy streets as well as its quiet and peaceful Botanical Gardens. I was up bright and early on Saturday, out to the airport for a 13 and half hour flight to Los Angeles. Thankfully I had an aisle seat which meant I was about to retreat into the passageway frequently to stretch, and stay sane. A 4-hour layover in LA before boarding the plane to Phoenix. (I can't do this now as the room is swaying. The flight was consistently bumpy and I feel as if I have just gotten off a two-week boat cruise. I'll have to finish off tomorrow. But here's a few pictures from tonight's sunset and the place that I'm staying at.)

Phoenix airport The chapel I must find more of this stuff The red sand caused by iron oxide

7.46am - The first shower in a few days feels good, but I still feel like a zombie. It'll take a few days to get settled I think. Highlights from yesterday included: getting here finally; meeting about 20 of the 60 or so artists that are around (musicians, poets, painters, writers, there's group set up behind the dinning hall making paper, conceptual artists, a writer for the stage, and probably a few others.) An eclectic group, mostly from all over America but one New Zealander in the mix also; the sunset last night (following speaking with one of the guys making paper, he informed me that between 7.20 and 7.30pm as the sun goes down is why they they truly call this place the red rock area and indeed he is true to word. The sunset is something special with a deep rich glow on the surrounding peaks); the chapel located up the hill from the school (I'll post a photo from the inside so you know what I mean); the peace and quiet, remoteness, and warmth; and the cactus everywhere, including the strange prickly pear that stands in weird places like s scare crow watching over its crop.

There's a really calm feel about being here. Not surprising when you put a bunch of artists together and say go for it. I think I'm still in travel mode and relishing the calmness of the mood to take over. At least I'm not swaying like I was yesterday.

The central courtyard of the Verde Valley School, the building on the right is my sleeping quarters.

Cathedral Rock Chapel up the hill from the school Inside the chapel looking out over the Cathedral cacti

Sunset over the Verde Valley School