Greetings from Fresno, California. No, California is not all beach and Baywatch as most people might assume. Where I live it actually looks like the desert. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's not far from the truth. It definitely feels like one in the summer, sometimes getting to 100 degrees plus. In the winter you have nasty Tule fog to deal with. Fresno's saving grace is that it's a couple of hours drive to Yosemite to the north and a couple of hours to the Central Coast. Speaking of desert, here are some personal pics from a couple of trips to the Southwest. At first I had my doubts, but then you come to see that there is beauty in the "lifeless" deserts. Happy trails! :)

An oppressively hot and humid afternoon somewhere between Needles, California, and Oatman, Arizona. An awesome sky. With the low rumble of thunder in the distance, it was like the heavens opening up.

Just another day on the streets of Oatman. Oatman is a tiny spot in the hills on the old Route 66 between Needles and Kingman, Arizona. I believe Carole Lombard and Clark Gable honeymooned here a long time ago. These days the town's claim to fame (notice the tourists to the right) are the mules -- descendants of mules from Oatman's old mining days -- that roam the main street at will. They're treated quite well; you can buy carrots to feed them.

A perfect rainbow at dusk in a meadow between the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, Arizona.

Waves on a vast ocean of red rock somewhere on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona, the largest Indian reservation in the United States.

A spectacular sky contrasts with the scenery in the Chinle area of Arizona. There are times as you drive along the roads out here when you feel like the only person around. Most of the time you are.

A portrait of me and my hubby at the Four Corners (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona for the geographically challenged). I expected it to be bigger or more spectacular than it really is, sort of like Plymouth Rock. Oh well, it was fun watching people as they took pictures. How many humiliating poses can you think of? :)

The front of a trading post on the way into Taos, New Mexico. I'm sure it's a popular stop for photos because of its bright and unusual appearance.

San Francisco de Asis church in Ranchos Taos, New Mexico. The church has been one of the subjects of artist Georgia O'Keefe's paintings.

White Sands, New Mexico. Beautiful, almost like snow. The "sand" is actually gypsum. We like to travel in the off-season so we never have problems with crowds, as it was in this case. Even though it was a dreary day, that and the absence of people made it even more surreal and inspiring.

There are so many incredible places. Santa Fe is a personal favorite. Artwise, it's very cosmopolitan; there are many galleries that cater to museums as well as private buyers. It's not Southwestern kitsch, though they have plenty of that, too, if you want it. Mesa Verde National Park is a really neat place, especially for the anthropologically inclined. And of course, for space freaks like me, the Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona is worth a gander at.
Those are just some suggestions. I still want to go to Roswell. And we hear the southern parts of Utah are really cool. Sounds like another road trip!

And now for something completely different...

Some tidbits about myself: I enjoy photography, but I also enjoy other types of art -- Degas, Edward Hopper and Marc Chagall are artists I like. I love words (the dictionary is my favorite book!) and enjoy the poetry of e.e. cummings. Photographers I like include (but aren't limited to) Elliot Erwitt (I love his sense of humor), Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Sam Abell, Duane Michals, Keith Carter and Flor Garduno.
I prefer Jung over Freud, cloudy days over sunny ones; I enjoy -ologies ranging from ornith- to anthro- to geo-; and The Simpsons is probably one of the best written shows on t.v. (perhaps far more realistic than we'd like to admit, not to mention those great obscure references) :)

Before I forget, a really cool place to stop if you're in the Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, area is the Hubbell Trading Post. They have one room dedicated to an amazing array of handwoven Navajo rugs. They even have weaving demonstrations. They also sell some very nice baskets and pottery pieces. It's another one of my favorite places.

If you're into being a mental guinea pig, here are some sites where you can feel like you've made a contribution to science. Or at least help a grad student out on their thesis.

Get to know yourself. Except you'll need a little time and patience with this. If you're not into redundancy or just have an aversion to tests, forget it.


What's in a name? How many words can you make and how fast?
Test your etymology skills with Where's that From?

Hope you enjoyed the trip!

Photos copyright (c) 1998 by Anna Daza

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