Wednesday, May 28


I returned from my 5 days in Carefree with a tan and a deeper understanding of the networks of gene interaction involved in cancer! The conference was held at a resort in Carefree, Arizona, about an hours drive out of Phoenix and into the desert. It was over 45 degrees C when I arrived but had dropped down to 10 degrees and drizzly by the end of the week! So it was a relief to return to San Antonio where the temperature was (is) a consistent 35 degrees (heat index pushing that well over body temperature) dropping to maybe 25 at night, if we're lucky.

Arizona was exactly what I originally expected Texas to be like. Rocky, scrubby desert with 4-5 meter tall cacti towering overhead and not much of a tree to be seen. We missed most of the birds by a few weeks but apparently it is a good birding spot in the earlier months of the year. I did see a few local quail, woodpeckers working on the cacti and I was very lucky to see a baby (HUGE) owl chilling out on one of the villas. He was all fluffy feathers and bright eyes (bit too far away for my little zoom lens though).

My friend the baby owl. Sorry about the resolution, had to go to full digital zoom, not so good in the shade!

The resort was interesting. We were pretty much stuck there (you could shuttle into town and wait for a return) but it wasn't too bad...there was the gorgeous salt swimming pool conveniently located next to the insanely hot hot-tub. We had the first morning off so I spent a good 2-3 hours just floating in the pool. Silly Jac Jac who no longer ventures outside because it is too jolly hot forgot about the whole sunscreen thing...d'oh! While I did get a considerable tan, I also suffered some nasty burns to the tops of my arms and legs that not only canceled future trips to the pool but also killed any plans I might have had for evening campfires and s'mores. Who goes to a cancer conference and gets sunburned! Exhibit A.

The conference was also a great chance to catch up with an old friend, Liesel, who has finished her PhD (we thesied together at UTAS) and is not postdoccing it up in Seattle. It was great to see a friendly place in such an odd location!

The gorgeous salt water pool :)

You can see the size of these cacti! Well over 2 meters tall. The holes in them are made by the woodpeckers but all sorts of birds seem to live in them. They were in flower which was cool, but the flowers smell like rotting meat to attract the fruitbats (fruit smells no good?) So that was less cool...

These are the adobe villas where we were staying. Four rooms to a villa. My room was about the size of our apartment! I loved the adobe style though...the houses looked like rocks and the rocks like houses.

One of the conference events (that didn't involve campfires) was a film by the poolside so we got to watch Cat Ballou, very cute! It was supposed to be Strictly ballroom the next night (!) but it was canceled due to the insane cold front and accompanying winds that came through.

All in all a good trip. No mention of the food because it really wasn't mentionable but it was good to get another sample of a different US state. And Jo and I are off to San Fransisco next week!!


Mothersupex said...

It would have been very difficult to imagine all of your encounters, say 5 years ago. How well you have done, clever girl. Loved the baby owl and he did come out ok. What have you been taught about going out in the sun!!!!! Nana would not be pleased, nor is your mother, but you will be reminded of floating in the pool, for some days.
The sparse, dry earth and the colours of the villas, together with the cacti, is what my impression of San Antonio, would have been.
Pleased you enjoyed and even happier reading, no food, especially when I have to go now and cook.

B&C said...

Wow! That pic of the cactus is amazing! Looking forward to seeing you guys in San Antonio soon :)

What will you be doing in San Fransisco?

Jac said...

San Fran is another conference - American Diabetes Association...but there should be room for some wandering of the streets in search of food etc. I think we'll probably use is as a chance to see the city a little and plan a future trip there.