Wednesday, July 23, 2008

tales of a copper queen (or further explorations of bisbee)

i think aitor and i want to live here forever. so our last day was bittersweet. we decided to spend the day exploring and walking around old bisbee (and trying to see if i might find a store to sell to there).

we started the day with a quick trip to what we think is warren, arizona. it is hard to figure out what town is what around here. there seem to be tiny towns right on top of one another. but i also found this listing that calls warren a ghost town. so, were those ghosts who sold us all those frames and fabrics at the thrift shop? spooky. this place is totally haunted. i actually think bisbee has now sort of swallowed up these little surrounding company towns. i mean, they are just steps apart.

on our way to exploring old bisbee proper, we stopped at their biggest historical hole - the lavender pit mine (which, weirdly, produced copper ore and not lavender at all). it is pretty cool. when it rains, the water that pools up in the bottom is so stained by the copper in the soil that it looks like a big pool of blood. haunted blood pool!

we started our visit to bisbee with a stop at an awesome store called va voom. it's sort of a vintage, antique and curiosity shop with surprisingly reasonable prices for such a tourist destination as this. i was deeply tempted by a big vintage quilt top but settled for a beautiful old bakelite viewmaster (a burgeoning obsession of mine). the owner, kelly, is also really nice and loaded us up with information about things in the store and things around town.

bisbee, by the way, is a hilly place filled with city steps. we were first introduced to the concept and importance of city steps by oue friend will in pittsburgh (pittsburgh, another former mining town, boasts an impressive collection of city steps). these were the first form of public transportation in these working class settlements. there are even some places remaining in both towns that can only be reached by steps. it's a bitch to move in or out, but door to door salesmen must pose less of an annoyance.

we wandered about the little town built into a mountainside, looking at impressive graffiti and going into the many antique shops until antiques made no sense to us anymore. i was pretty taken by the pattern on this quilt:

but my dwindling budget had me priced out. i guess i'll just have to make one after i finish the epic quilt i am currently working on.

we also stumbled into the amazing optimo hat shop (at aitor's urgings) only to have some amazing conversations about the world of millinery work. we were also introduced to this wild turn-of-the-last-century contraption used to measure the irregularities of the skull.

all tuckered out (and with the nightly monsoon looming in the sky), we decided to go. but after following directions to the local food co-op, we found ourselves on the main street of what must have been another ghost town, lowell.

obviously a storm was rolling in so we hurried back to the trailer park. we basically see rainbows here on a daily basis. but today, even that was topped by seeing lighting strike through a double rainbow! well, that's what it looked like; i'm sure the physicists among you could explain why that is actually impossible.

we finally got to weather a storm in our tiny trailer home where we spent our last night here eating soup, laughing, listening to the radio and making things. oh, and blogging.

good night, shady dell and bisbee. we know how much we will miss you.

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