Thursday, September 13, 2012

We got out relatively early this morning, to Ghini's, a French-style restaurant specializing in breakfasts. A large sign on the window, "BEST OF TUCSON", reflected its print legibly in a mirror, so that the words visible to outsiders in the mall could be seen and read by those in the restaurant. Our 'Marseillaise' omelets that had a tiny bit of anchovies in them were delicious. Other varieties may tempt tomorrow.

After the filling meal we found our way to Speedway and out to Gates Pass Road. I'd forgotten how twisty and cliffty the road is. Back in the 90's I wasn't the driver, so I wouldn't remember, would I?

Having seen the hummingbird program on PBS the night before, we headed there first. I found a shaded bench on which to perch and let the birds come to me. One bird was a regular visitor, stopping often on a branch in front of me. I got one good photo of a hummer dipping its beak into one of the little feed bottles placed through out the enclosure:

We back tracked to the butterfly area, then went onto the regular aviary exhibit. Julia spied a hummingbird in there, as well. I loved a reddish colored bird as he nibbled on some fruit:

A brief stop at the tortoise area, then we went onto the bighorn sheep. I took so many photos, one had to come out:

Then the cute beavers and otters intrigued. By now, both Julia and I were starting to get tired. My hopes of seeing everything faded. So I had to choose. I didn't want to miss the reptiles, invertebrates and amphibians.

The only snake photo that turned out decent is this one of an Arizona black rattlesnake.

Sonoran desert toad...

Sonoran tiger salamander...

Back to birds! I forgot to tell you about the kestrel that greeted us at the entrance:

The docent said this kestrel, a little falcon, is one mean predator, for he swoops down and bites the spine of his prey

Looks harmless, doesn't he?

I have more critter photos from this living museum here

By the time we saw all the snakes, we were hungry. The Ocotillo Café was closed until cooler weather, but the Ironwood 'fast food' restaurant was open. The cold tea and salad with mahi-mahi fish revived us. But not enough to want to explore more!

I took the alternate route via S. Kinney Road and West Ajo back to the hotel and found it much less twisty.

A nap revived Julia and I greatly. Bookman's at Grant and Campbell lured with its possibilities. Julia helped me find the Egyptology books in the Anthropology section. I found two good books. The exhibition catalog for The Quest for Immortality is beautiful. Over 100 pieces from the museums in Cairo and Luxor toured the States from 2002 to 2007. The photos really show the pieces in clear detail. I sketched one of the photos:

Falcon-headed crocodile
Late period. 664 - 332 BCE
Indurated limestone, length 14 3/16 in (36 cm)
Cairo Egyptian Museum, JE 21858
?Harwar, aka Horus the Elder?

Egyptologists aren't sure which deity this represents. "A second candidate for this statue is Her-wer, or Horus the Elder, a New Kingdom (1550-1069 BCE) deity who was sometimes represented as a crocodile with a falcon head, in particular at another marshy site, Kom Ombo. [...]

"Regardless of the exact deity being represented here, it is clear from its body that reference is being made to the ferocity and strength of the crocodile. However, the protective nature of the falcon is also invoked by the god's head, perhaps taming the dangerous tendencies of the crocodile..."
(Elizabeth Waraksa, The Quest for Immortality, (Publishing Office, National Gallery of Art, 2002), page 188)

Taming, or more precisely, it is directing the fierce strength via the supreme vision of the falcon. The falcon head, as emblem of the ruler, is symbolizing that the head must rule. If the 'tail' rules, blind destruction may result.

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