The air is stale and the heat is unbearable. We drive through the main street of Sedona passing by an array of outdoor shops that all seem to sell the same five goods including palm readings, psychics, and crystals. Interspersed is a series of restaurants and cafes with prices that make airports seem cheap.
While there is a constant stream of tourists filing the sidewalks, it is not enough to make anyone uncomfortable. The white van pulls into an alley aside a gallery and after the initial stretch, it widens into a fully functioning parking lot.
It’s 12:25 pm and we are told to meet back in front of the gallery at 2:30 pm. Don’t forget to ask for a receipt. Everyone needs to remember to get their receipts after paying. In case I forget to ask for it, would all of you please make sure to grab a receipt. Oh! And keep your receipts everyone! I'm sure there were other important bits of information shared with us, but that’s all I can seem to remember for some reason?
One hour, fifty seven minutes. By now it’s Caroline, Maeve and me. The rest of the group might as well have died, they're gone, it’s time to cut our losses, acceptance is the first step. We walk with purpose, but have no destination in mind.
“This place! How about this place? Let’s just do this place”
Blank stares, followed by a phrase indecisive people know all too well, “Why don’t we maybe check out a couple other places first…”
One hour, forty five minutes. With ten dollars allocated to each of us, several extended stomach growls and no obvious leader to our trio, we say screw Chipotle they don’t want to be open for us, that’s fine we don't even want to give them our business, their food is overrated anyway. As we trudge on in the harsh heat on this oh so typical Tuesday, we must accept that none of these menus have any items under ten dollars; bummer. Even the water here is a striking twelve dollars just to spite us.
“I smell something, guys do you smell that, oh my god guys we HAVE to go here”
Maeve and I look at each other, Caroline may be onto something here. Following the strength of her nose, Caroline led us through winding shops and tight hallways. In this moment it might as well be Europe, for we’ve hit the point of hunger where our English has devolved into a primitive language of grunts, growls, and gibberish. The wind was nonexistent and the masks began to stick to our faces, but we marched for our lives to this “Uptown Thai.”
My hunger has by now gotten the best of me. I can picture it, golden arches towering above, the smell of fries cooked to perfection, and the screams of sleep deprived mothers. God, I could've gone for McDonald’s in that moment. Nevertheless, there it stood, right in front of our very eyes. Located behind the main strip, hidden by parking and a man selling “goods” from his van, is our Mecca, Uptown Thai.
As if the gods had placed it there themselves, we all get a hard whiff of Thai cuisine. Walking into this overwhelmingly pleasant patio of greenery our eyes are drawn to its dashing fountain and evenly distributed shade, deciding immediately, this must be the place for us. The server brings out menus and water with lemon.
“Ok how about we quickly eat here and then we can go find a psychic before we need to meet back up with the group.”
“Yes Maxx I agree, you are so smart! Somehow you are always right about everything”
Maybe I’m paraphrasing here a bit.
Fifty seven minutes.
“This food tastes really good.”
“Maybe we should order this too.”
Twenty two minutes.
“What even is life? I mean we come to Sedona, the prettiest place ever, and here we are in this Thai restaurant. Wow! Look at that fountain! What a gorgeous fountain.”
We walked out of the restaurant proud of ourselves for having found the place, and rather satiated as well. With a mere ten minutes left, and none of us aware of the clock, I say, “Ok now we just have to find a psychic.”
“Shoot we don’t have time to, Maeve text the group chat and ask for more time, they’ll listen to you”
“Maeve tell them you got kidnapped”
“Maeve tell them you’re dead”
‘This is our sign, screw the group, we're on our own now. Maeve tell your parents you love them. Caroline, how do you feel about the name Kaitlyn, you could be a Kaitlyn?”
“Shut Up Maxx, You know that’s my least favorite Kardashian.”
This conversation goes on as we walk back to the gallery to join the rest of the group. We weren’t even the last ones back. - Maxx '21
Rescued Reptiles on the street
Stella with her one true love
Don't worry, these were not alive!
Post Cathedral Ledge Hike
Our Group in their most natural state: Awkward
Caroline with her "super cute" palette that tourists seemed to love
Beth the Baddie sketching in Tlaquepaque Village
From our rental house. Mountain Boy painting majestically, today is Toby's birthday btw.
Finding paintings by Colorado artist Joshua Been. He's a well known Plein Air painter and we use his designed and built outdoor easel system. He was kind enough to simply donate the 10 to our emergency cause, once we knew we would be in Arizona and not Europe.
A studio visit with artist Patricia Saxton
Rumi Tree Gallery visit with director Shanin Dockrey
Jason "Leo" speaking with Persian gallery owner and artist Sahar
A picture we all look particularly thrilled in.
An absolute Stud right here.
Beth in her famous Kayaking Poncho that, without reason or cause, she has found surprisingly useful on this trip.
Somehow I seem to look annoyed in every off guard picture taken of me, but here I am painting, because that's something we do here I guess, on our art program, crazy!
Leo is by far the slowest to paint at any location we go to, but he also produces quite detailed work, what is not captured here though was his five or six sprints back and forth to the van for more paint, what a Renaissance man!