Day 9 Ė Sunday 24 July 2016

A Devil's Bridge, a ghost town, skulls and skeletons, Cottonwood and a snake charmer

OK, disclaimer, so Iím super tired as I write this. But I will re-check my writing before posting, so I apologise in advance for any weirdness that might occur within this days words.

On the Devil's Bridge

I was up this morning at 5.30 excited at the thought of a trek to The Devilís Bridge this morning with Hassan. We were in the car at 6.30 and chatted all the way to the car park for the walk in. The weather was mild, being 6.45am, there were no clouds in the sky, and it was perfect weather for a hike. In sum, the walk took about 3 hours from start to finish. We stopped many times, well I stopped many times, to take many photos. The walk was relatively flat up until the final section that went pretty much straight up. The Devils Bridge is incredible. The red rock mountains surrounding Devilís Bridge are incredible. Sedonaís surrounding red rocks are incredible. Sedona is incredible. (See the photos for more about the walk and the Devilís Bridge as I donít think words really justify it.)

On the edge Looking up towards The Devil's Bridge It's alive It's magnificent

The Devil's Bridge Myself and Hassan From underneath More magnificence

We were back at the house (and casita) at about 10-10.30 but before arriving we took detour to take a look at house that was midway being built up a hill and around the corner. The architect lives across the road from Charlotte and Hassan, his name is Freddie Valdez, and the house, and the position of the house, was incredible that certainly was taking advantage of the views that it had and designed in a very contemporary American style. I would love to live in this house when completed. It had a gorgeous open plan design, stunning views and a lovely free flowing feel about it. Following our short trespass into the house we were back at home sitting around the table eating a magnificent breakfast cooked by Charlotte with a distinctive Iranian feel to it. Lots of food and Hassan and I were hungry after our walk so it was greatly appreciated.

House on the hill, nice view I could live here Awesomeness The other side

At about 11.30, following brunch, I hoped in the car and took off for a drive. Before leaving home, in Australia, I had located a ghost town nearby to Sedona called Jerome and today my plan was to go and visit it. It took about 45 minutes drive to get there and rather than finding a ghost town, I found quite an exciting booming little eclectic village. Jerome is nestled midway up a mountain range about has a population of about 450 and is over 5,000 feet above sea level. It was once a highly productive silver and copper mining town in the 1920s with a population at the time over 10,000, but these things donít always last and sure enough the mines shut and the ghost town became its thing for many years as the people moved away. But that seemed to be far off in the past as things today were much more happening there. There was a few cool looking bars, some weird and kooky shops selling all sorts of cool t-shirts and skull related stuff, there was the Haunted Hamburger restaurant, some interesting indie art stores, a very cool looking Mexican restaurant (with chairs that were decorated with ceramic tiles in the form of Mexican day of the dead skulls on them) and a few accommodation places that looked like something out of a Wes Anderson film (Hotel Budapest to be more precise). The main part of town is made up of three streets that wind up the hillside. I thought the place had a really nice vibe about it and would be the sort of place, if back in my hometown, that Iíd go and hang it in with family and friends. I could only see two buildings that looked like ghost buildings in the town and few others on the outskirts, otherwise it was simply an interesting slightly out of the way small town in American. I was thinking to myself that if I was with something it would be a great place to spend the hot heat of an afternoon sitting in one of the cool little bars socialising the afternoon away.

The township of Jerome (left) Ruin in Jerome One of the many cool little bars in Jerome Old Jerome

Haunted hamburgers, brilliant Jerome Grand Hotel, like something out of a Wes Anderson film The main drag of Jerome Groovy Mexican restaurant with skull chairs...

But alas I was on my own so I hopped back in the car, backtracked down to the bottom of the hill and made a stop in old town Cottonwood. I had driven through here a couple of days ago on the way to Tuzigoot and thought that it looked cute, so I stopped at one end of the main street and walked my way up and down in the 39 degree heat of the day (or 103 degrees Fahrenheit). There were a few interesting stores but mostly it was antique and oldy-worldy stuff. There was however a chilli sauce store, but it was closed sadly, and Kateís Kaktus bar, which sadly looked a little seedy. I wasnít quite as taken by old town Cottonwood as I was by Jerome, but I certainly love its name (as well as the next town along Cornville Ė so beautifully American).

Another hot chili store More skulls, with skeleton this time Old antique store in Cottonwood Kate's Kaktus...

I didnít last too long in Cottonwood before I was back on the road heading down 89a North back into Sedona. I dropped into Saveway and purchased some supplies and made a detour in Tlaquepaque because a few people had said to me since being here that its worth a look. Basically Tlaquepaque is a bunch of touristy art galleries, a few crystal/vortex stores and nice looking eateries. It reminded me somewhat of places I had been to in the South of France a few years ago. It was still really hot and the Oak Creek Brewery, also in Tlaquepaque, was luring me in for a beer. I had a glass of the curiously named Snake Charmer. As with most people that I meet in America a friendly conversation was struck up (Americans are particularly and delightfully friendly people I must say) and we talked about the heat of Arizona and current cold in Tasmania. Their lunch arrived so I gulped down the remainder of my IPA locally made beer and left them to it.

Cheesball in a jar, of course

Within 10 minutes I was back at my abode, cooling down out out of the heat and relaxing the afternoon away with a bit of writing. Before going to bed I watched a French film about the artist Seraphine de Senlis. It was made a few years ago, in 2009 I think. Now, like most films made about real life artists or rock stars I am always sceptical because usually there is a very high degree of over the top romanticism in some shape of form going on, embellishing their lives as if they arenít even human. Time and time again Iíve watched films like this and I have always thought how terrible they were. And admittedly this film does go there somewhat but overall itís fairly likable, intriguing and held my interest (mostly, it did drag on a little). The performance by Yolande Moreau as Seraphine was very good. I had read about Seraphine some months ago whilst studying the art (mostly the mark making) of the mentally ill. Her case was used and whilst her artwork is very good, for me it sits somewhere between naÔve and masterly. There is a strange and beautifully composed flow and energy to her work but there is also an awkward flatness. Anyway, back to the film, Iíd have to give it a 7 out of 10 on the Edgar scale; great acting, nicely paced but a little tedious at times, and interesting enough with out being outstanding direction.

Really...?