Thursday, October 30, 2008

By the time I get to Phoenix...'ll be almost time to turn around and go back home.

And that's exactly what I'm doing. One day of meetings and 1 1/2 days of travel to get back home.

Andrea of Castalian Designs was the first to guess where I am this week. She said the Gila Monster was the most critical clue and helped her narrow it down to the US Southwest.

So what about those clues I left for you on Tuesday?

First clue. The Gila Monster is found in the SW US and is native to the Gila River basin, where Phoenix is.

As I said on Tuesday, the Gila Monster even starred in its own B- movie. The stars of this ..ahem.. avant garde film are a sheriff of a small Texas town and a leader of a hot-rod gang who try to find out why teens have been disappearing. A series of tragic motor accidents occur (!) and it becomes apparent that a giant gila monster is roaming the area and depleting the town of its hot-rodding teen-agers. And guess who ends up attending the BIG record-hop party! (I saw some outtakes on youtube and they were pretty hilarious. They used a real gila monster on some scale balsa wood models - but it was SO CUTE!)

2nd clue. The mountain my daughter and I climbed is called Camelback Mountain because it resembles one (see right).

Obviously early settlers had active imaginations. Or maybe they never saw a real camel.

And there's a large rock formation on Camelback Mountain that's called the Praying Monk. Shown on the right, it's said to resemble a monk bent on one knee, praying.

(Didn't the settlers also partake of certain "mushrooms" found in this area?)

It's a lot larger than you'd think from the photo. To give you some perspective, below left is a photo of a professional climber as he scales the cliff walls of the Praying Monk. Pretty impressive.

(I think I would need to indulge in a lot of mushrooms or similar substances before I would try to scale a really tall and really vertical sheer expanse of rock like that one.)

The last clue was a play on the word "phoenix". I stated that this new city was founded on the remains of an ancient civilization. So, like the ancient phoenix, it arose from the ashes.

(OK. It was late at night and I had had a drink. It sounded like a great clue at the time.)

Stay tuned for another "Where in the World is Contrariwise" next week. I'll be heading for a more "distant" location.


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