Monday, October 03, 2005

I obviously am time-zone addled, for several reasons as will become apparent. But I have just realised that my blog is using Australian time for posting, therefore my day out with tour guide Al was really Thursday, Arizona time.
Friday morning I spoke to a class of trainee teachers at the Pima College Desert Vista campus. They were a lovely group, and I focused more on children's books and publishing and school visit experiences. It was a shorter session that I expected, but good value. I gave the course teacher some of my books and she is going to pass them on to some of the schools she visits in the poorer areas of Tucson where they have few resources. I did think I would donate some to Hurricane Katrina library causes but they are all saying no more books, only money.
Lunchtime I went to the gym to iron out some aches and pains, then I gave my car back to the rental people. Meg and I went downtown, looking at Mexican furniture shops and then craft shops. We finally went to 4th Avenue, had dinner at a Guatemalan restaurant, then went to a poetry reading at Antigones book shop. A poet - Barrie Ryan - and a novelist. Very interesting readings. I like to hear people's different reading styles. Antigones is a feminist book shop, with some great Tshirts and gifts too. I particularly liked the huge coffee cup that read 'She Who Must Be Obeyed'. Managed to restrain myself from buying 3 books, including the new edition of Best American Short Stories. It will be 3 months before I can get it in Melbourne. Oh well.
We finished the night with a margarita, as you should do on your last night in Tucson! Early rising on Saturday to get to the airport. I had loaded most of my books into my carry-on bags, and then wished I had someone large and muscley to carry them for me. Meg waved me off and I was very sad to leave.
Had to travel via Denver, and that's where the problems occurred. After wasting $5 on an internet terminal that had a terrible keyboard which then deleted my 15 minutes worth of mad pounding on the keys, I thought - go and have a coffee and relax, so I did. I had a large coffee, I read my book, I wrote two poems, I relaxed.
Then I went to the toilet, then I wandered down to my departure lounge. On the way I double-checked the gate number and ... funny, I thought. My flight has disappeared off the screen. Then I checked the clock, to discover that there was one hour time difference in Denver from Tucson and my flight had gone without me.
Panic. Went straight to the service desk (which sounds like a simple walk except I am carrying about 20kilos of books in my two carry-on bags so it was more like a stagger) and luckily they got me on the next flight but I had another 2-1/2 hours to wait. As you can imagine, I stayed right by the gate for the whole time! After calling Kristi to tell her I was going to be arriving 3 hours late.
San Antonio is way greener than Tucson - trees, lawns and not a cactus in sight. But it is very muggy, like the difference between Melbourne and Sydney in the middle of summer. I don't do well in humidity but it is still 10 degrees F cooler than Tucson so I guess I will survive. There's always good old air conditioning for wimps like me.
Today Brian (who Kristi and I met at Chatauqua) came down from Austin to visit and we spent the whole day talking about writing and publishing. It was very entertaining but also instructive and inspiring - we shared publishing horror stories and talked about what we're writing and why. When we came back from having dinner down the road, there were two deer on the side road.
Brian told me his two daughters have pet snakes, but yes, their cat is quite interested in the snakes. They live in aquarium-type containers so it would be like having fish or frogs. But I still don't think I could feed a snake live mice. That seems too mean.
At some point this week we are going on the River Walk and to the Alamo. Am looking forward to it, and to finding out from the airline if I can pack my books into a box to go with my suitcase.

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