My Life as a Traveler

Chin Strikes, Chilis, and Chocolate

Today is the first day of my 3 day IPDTI seminar. I’m renewing my license to teach law enforcement officers how to use empty-hand tactics to control and disarm offenders without causing them undue harm. That is, unless the situation ramps up to life-threatening. In that case, all bets are off.  Fun stuff. On the agenda today is learning the legalities and liabilities for police defensive action. We practice kicks, strikes, and some ground defense. I have short sleeves on and my elbows get some mat burn. Ow. No biggie, though, we’re out at 3pm and I’m on my way back to the hotel to meet my mom for her last night in Phoenix.

When I get there, we decide to go to the Desert Botanical Gardens, where they are having the Chilis and Chocolate Festival.  Gorgeous plants and great food – what a combo! I go crazy in the chili department, buying whole chilis, mole spice, chili dip mix, and a beautiful bunch of red chilis to hang in my kitchen. We have tacos with fresh cabbage and salsa for dinner outside. There’s a dj with music and we cactus surrounds us. We cruise the chocolate section and pick up samples for dessert.

By now, the sun is starting to go down and we still haven’t seen the rest of the gardens. There are cacti forests and wildflower walking trails. As the sun goes down, the lights come up. This is a gorgeous place even when it is dark. The cacti are lit from the ground up, looking like surreal alien forms. If we wanted to stay another hour, we could sit outside and enjoy a concert on the grounds. But my Mom is not feeling 100%, so we head back to the room.

On our way out, we pause to admire a Dale Chihuly glass sculpture of a huge yucca (Joshua Tree). All evening, I’ve been taking pictures of these gorgeous plants, even checking to see if they were good using the flash. I didn’t realize until a couple of days later that somehow, they were lost! I am flabbergasted as to where they went. I didn’t take the SD card out and the battery was fine – I was using flash all evening. Hmmmm…. No pics on the camera’s internal memory either. I don’t have a clue what happened. I have pictures from the rest of the Phoenix trip, but somehow the plants of the botanical garden never took. I’m still trying to figure out what happened. Any guesses?

Anyway, Mom goes home tomorrow morning and I have more seminar. You’re just going to have to imagine the desert sunset, the saguaro, and the moon coming over the hills. More tomorrow!

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