Phoenix landscaping and the Musical Instrument Museum

I’m so glad we’re here in November and not in the summer. The 6% humidity is already causing our lips to bleed and skin to be dry and itchy. If we had to couple that with 120-degree temps, I imagine that would be rather unpleasant. There’s not a lot of plant life that grows in such an environment. A number of Colorado municipalities promote xeriscaping – landscaping appropriate for arid regions. And, they say, just because a yard full of rocks would not need watering, does not mean that would be a good landscaping choice. Rocks don’t absorb heat; they just bounce it back into the air making the air hotter and increasing the electric bill to run the A/C. It seems Phoenicians didn’t get the memo. Rocks are definitely the go-to landscaping choice in our neighborhood and for miles around. It looks like hellscaping. There doesn’t seem to be any point to having a yard. Kids aren’t going to play on rocks. No one grows anything edible as far as I can tell. It’s not attractive. It’s just miles and miles of wasted land.
On that happy note, I’ll switch over to our visit to the Musical Instrument Museum today. It’s nearly 17 miles from our house, so we walked 3.7 miles to a bus stop and took a bus the remaining way. We took two buses home and only had to walk a couple blocks. To my surprise, the bus system here is cheap and extensive. The museum opened in 2010. The first-floor galleries include an artist gallery with memorabilia by famous musicians, such as John Lennon’s piano on which he composed “Imagine” and an experience gallery where you can play a harp, drums, guitar, all kinds of instruments. Upstairs is where most of the exhibits are. There are instruments from every country with information about the instruments and an audio tour given by television at each station. We wore headphones connected to receivers which communicated with each TV as we stood in front of it. One of my favorite exhibits showed a portion of a YouTube video and instruments from a children’s orchestra in Paraguay. The kids live in a neighborhood that’s on top of a landfill and, with the help of the orchestra director there, salvaged some trash from that landfill to make musical instruments. The kids are great musicians, and the oil-drum cello and other instruments sound just fine. I bought Charlie a t-shirt in the gift shop with info printed on it about the Landfill Harmonic. There’s a quote on the back of the shirt that says, “The world sends us garbage. We send back music.” I have included the link (or the actual video – depending on how it shows up) to the YouTube video below:

Palm trees, of course, are not native to Arizona.  Couple that with the ubiquitous landscaping rocks, and it makes for pretty weird scenery.

Palm trees, of course, are not native to Arizona. Couple that with the ubiquitous landscaping rocks, and it makes for pretty weird scenery.

This mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe is on the side of a business near our house.  The next business has a variety of murals painted on it, including a portion of the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

This mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe is on the side of a business near our house. The next business has a variety of murals painted on it, including a portion of the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

It's one extreme or the other in landscaping.

It’s one extreme or the other in landscaping.

This is one of the 2.008 drums played at the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics.

This is one of the 2.008 drums played at the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics.

This photo should be paired with the explanatory photo below.

This photo should be paired with the explanatory photo below.

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Instruments of the Landfill Harmonic

Instruments of the Landfill Harmonic

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