All posts by carolkubota

I am a retired ESL teacher. I have a dog that owns me. I travel to learn about a culture. I want to share my stories with you. Come along with me!

7 Things to Know about the Arizona State Capitol Building

The Arizona State Capitol Building does not have a gold plated dome, copper chandeliers or turquoise gems. It is small and simple.

Entrance to Arizona State Capitol
  • Bryan Deppa designed the Capitol building in 1898. The US president gave Arizona $100,000.00 to help with expenses. It was renovated by Gerald Doyle in the 1970s.
Arizona State Capitol Building
  • James Reily Gordman donated the land on which the Capitol sits. He owned the buildings around the property and was hoping to make a profit from the homes and apartments. The land he donated was a park.
  • The builders used local materials and manual labor. The granite came from South Mountain and makes up the first floor of the building. Malapai rock came from Camelback Mountain and used for the second floor. Tuff stone came from Yavapai county and was used on the top floor. The wood was collected from five different states.
Winged Victory
  • The Weather Vane is in the shape of NIKE, the Greek goddess of victory, sits on top of the dome. The Weather Vane was given the name Winged Victory. She was purchased for $160 from an architectural catalog. When she was first installed the cowboys of the days would ride by and use her for target practice. Bullet holes riddled her body until they took her down to give her a makeover. She still has a few bullet holes left.
  • The Original dome was not made of copper. It was too expensive at the time. It was built of sheet metal and painted the color of copper.
Arizona State Seal
  • Arizona is known for the five Cs. Copper, Climate, Cotton, Cattle and Citrus. The state seal is missing the cow. An Ohio man designed the seal without ever visiting Arizona. The seal arrived and was installed as a mosaic. The mistake of the missing cow was expensive to fix. The seal was left in its original condition.
  • In 1957 Frank Lloyd Wright submitted his proposal for a new capital building. It was rejected because of the expense. He wanted to move the capitol building to Tempe which would have violated the Arizona Constitution.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2019/07/22/frank-lloyd-wright-arizona-capitol-building-the-oasis-valley-101/1781043001/

Murals You Don’t Want to Miss in Prescott, AZ

A picture is worth a thousand words. Take a walk around the town of Prescott and venture off the beaten path. You will be rewarded the view of these murals inspired by artists from around the world.

My description of these works of art would interfere with your interpretation. I will not provide a description. I ask you to look at them carefully and reflect on what you see.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Traveling is wandering. When you have the time to wander you find places not listed in the “must see” events listed in a guide book or on an app. Take the time to look around and let me know if you find something you didn’t expect to see.

Happy Travels!

Arcosanti: Is it a future living space?

Entrance to Arcosanti (Carol Kubota)

Imagine living with six thousand people in the middle of the desert. Your housing unit is stacked on top of another making the building a honeycomb structure.

Living quarters and the amphitheater ( Carol Kubota)

You would take part in musical performances in the lower levels of the structure. This structure fills up with water during a performance. The water comes from below the surface.

You have a kitchen to prepare your food. The nearest town with a village supermarket is fifteen miles away. The road is not paved and has mud crevices on both sides. Not a place you want to travel after or during a rain. You and your 5,999 neighbors would grow all of the food you need to eat in the middle of the desert and not much grows without an underground water source. A community cafeteria prepares food where you can sit and eat and get along with all of your neighbors. There is only one problem. The cook left because there was no money to pay him and now the cafeteria is empty. There is a coke machine with a few bottles of soda and water.

The design studio (Carol Kubota)

Paolo Solari, an Italian and an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, planned to build a futuristic utopian city. No cars or any other types of public transportation would exist. Volunteers, artists, and concrete people would volunteer to make the place come alive.

It didn’t work out the way Solari planned. He was short on money. The volunteers had no money and were working for a free space to live. They built the walls from concrete, silt dug up from the desert soil. Solari like his teacher and mentor Frank Lloyd Wright built with concrete cast in the earth. They were both organic architects. Solari’s vision was to develop a civilization, Wright’s vision was to develop for urbanization. Solari referred to Wright’s vision as a failure.

The desert view from the community room (Carol Kubota)

Olive and fig trees provide shade for the summer and help to keep the buildings cool. The total land space is 4400 acres. The people who live here are part of an urban experiment. Seventy-five people inhabit the limited living space. Students live in the upper apartments in shared spaces and don’t have cooking facilities in their rooms. They have a bed, a desk, and a lamp and very few personal items. Our tour guide lives in one of the shared spaces. She makes $250 per month from tips that the guests leave with her after the tour. Her rent is free and she works eight hours a day. She lives here because she feels that there is too much stimulation in the outside world. She likes the peacefulness of her living situation. She doesn’t feel lonely because there is always someone to talk too. Every window in the living quarters looks out onto the untouched desert. There is a trail that leads to the bottom of the gorge.

Look out from the cafeteria window (Carol Kubota)

Solari’s idea sprung from “arcology”. Architecture and ecology, a field of creating architectural design principles for densely populated ecologically low impact human habitats. There is shading in summer and a greenhouse effect is used for heat in the winter. The idea is to densify the living space and conserve the natural environment. The place is isolated. There is experimental gardening. The idea is to grow up, not out. There are an amphitheater and performance center. Different activities take place during the year and the public is invited to attend. The idea is that arcology settlements could solve the problems that society deals with. Loneliness, spending too much money, becoming greedy, and only thinking about yourself. The money earned to keep the place up is the sale of Solari’s bells which are made on site.

A living space designed for shade (Carol Kubota)

The occupants of the buildings share in the cleaning of the public spaces. There are no janitors, policemen, doctors, or hospitals. People take care of each other. The people who live here are the CEO, painters, potters, an art instructor who travels to Prescott to teach in a community college. One child lives on campus and is home schooled. The rent and the cost of living are low and the pay is minimal.

The “city” is being built without money or professionals. Failure and success are part of the deal. How can the next step be made more promising than the last?

Hope is never lost (Carol Kubota)

Solari passed away and left his people to figure out how to proceed without him. His dream and vision live on. There is no foundation to guide everyone. The current CEO has been on the board for less than one year.

The lessons we can learn on the impact of human habitation or any given ecosystem could be self-sustenance to reduce the human impact on natural resources. Pedestrian economies have proven to be difficult to achieve in other ways. Can society move backward?

Arcosanti was established in 1970 and is still a work in progress.

A vision of the future in the middle of the Arizona desert (Carol Kubota)

Arcosanti is located on I75 going North. The road leading to Arcosanti is not paved. The entrance fee is a donation of $10 per person. There are no eating or drinking facilities on the campus. You can take your dog on the tour.

Taliesin West: 10 True Facts

Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, is located in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of Arizona’s first “snowbirds”arriving in early October and returning to his summer home in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

  1. Taliesin West became a UNESCO World Heritage site on July 7, 2019
Entrance to Taliesin West (Carol Kubota)

2. The Desert Lab

Mr. Wright bought six hundred acres for $3.75 an acre in 1936. He described the view as “a look over the rim of the world”.

He referred to Taliesin as his Desert Lab. He devised a “light canvas-covered redwood frame-work resting on massive stone masonry that belonged to the mountain slopes around the property”. It was his first time to use desert construction materials.

He used a trial and error form of building. He built a wall and if it fell down, he would reconstruct until the wall held it’s form. He never tired of trying new experiments with new material. He had to use steel instead of redwood because it could not adapt to the desert elements. The desert was dry and the redwood splintered.

Taliesin Quartzite (Carol Kubota)

3. Ship in the Desert

Frank Lloyd Wright spent time on ships going back and forth to Europe and Asia. He traveled to Europe with his girlfriend, Mamah Bouton Bothwick.

She was murdered by a disgruntled employee when he set fire to Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

He was also able to escape his creditors while sailing across the ocean. There were no cell phones at the time.

A Ship in the Desert (Carol Kubota)

4. The Apprentices built Taliesin for Mr. Wright

Mr. Wright had between fifteen to thirty apprentices working without pay. Some of his detractors referred to it as slavery. The apprentices stayed for four to five months, others came and never left.

They worked in the shadow of Frank Lloyd Wright and few well known architects emerged from his group. The apprentices paid up to $1,100.00 per year for room and board.

There are three senor apprentices in their early nineties living on campus.

Apprentices working (Taken in KIVA room by Carol Kubota)

5. The School of Architecture at Taliesin

Taliesin West is the home to the School of Architecture at Taliesin. It is the smallest school of Architecture in the United States, thirty -forty students per year.

The students attend classes from October to May and return to Spring Green for summer classes.

The school offers a three year Masters Program in Architecture. It is small, experimental, and focused on learning by doing. It became fully accredited in 1987.

School of Architecture at Taliesin (Carol Kubota)

6. A collector of Asian art

Frank Lloyd was know for being one of the biggest collectors of Asian art in the 1920 -1930. Much of his collection is now housed with the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City.

Asian art had a big impact on the design of his buildings. Taliesin West brings out both the Asian and Southwest influence that inspired Mr. Right.

Mr. Wrights apprentices acquired twenty four Asian pieces in Chinatown, San Francisco. Their heads were chopped off along with their arms and noses. These pieces were placed in areas of transition on the property of Taliesin West.

Asian Transition with red plaque (Carol Kubota)

The red plaque has the signature of Mr. Wright. There are twenty-seven around the USA. Mr. Wright handed them out to people who were enthusiastic about the work he had performed in building their home. He not only built their home and their furniture, he told them where to place the furniture. They were told to never move it.

Those are the people awarded the special red signature plaque.

7. The Garden Room

The Garden Room has a view of the mountains and the desert scenery.

It was the place of entertainment. Mr. Wright required that his female apprentices wear evening gowns and the males wear three piece suits when he entertained clients in the Garden Room. They paraded around with the snacks and drinks serving the many famous clients who visited Mr. Wright.

When the Garden Room was first built, there were no windows. The roof was covered with canvas which was removed when they packed up to move back to Wisconsin.

Frank Lloyd Wright was the first to create a Great Room. The Garden Room is a Great Room, a place to entertain his clients.

The Garden Room (Carol Kubota)

8. Mr. Wright’s Office

The office was the the first building on campus.

The office didn’t have windows for almost five years. When the Wrights left town the dust storms and small animals would leave a mess that had to be cleaned up when they returned. Mrs. Wright suggested they add windows. The other buildings began to get windows soon after.

The Guggenheim Museum and Grady Gammage Auditorium on Arizona State University’s campus along with many private homes were designed in this room.

The design in the background was submitted by Mr. Wright in 1957 to the city of Phoenix as a replacement for the current capital building. It never happened. He was ninety years old at the time.

The six sided chairs were designed for the first Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

The round back chairs were designed for the Midway Gardens outside of Chicago that was closed down in the 1920’s because of prohibition.

9. Shining Brow

Taliesin means Shining Brow. Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t believe one should build on top of a mountain, but in the brow of the mountain.

The building at Taliesin can’t be seen until the gate is in view. This was part of the organic architectural design of Mr. Wright.

The logo for Taliesin is in the shape of a whirling arrow on the petroglyph in front of the entrance to the office. Mr. Wright noticed that the logo is in the shape of two hands clasping together in a welcome sign. There are five petroglyphs placed around the campus. All of them were found on the property.

Logo on the left symbolizing a welcome sign (Carol Kubota)

10. Desert Shelters

Students of the School of Architecture live as the apprentices long before them in desert shelters. There are sixty-four of them and students choose which one is going to be there home for six months. The shelters are built with the same materials used by the apprentices, quartzite, sand, glass, redwood or steel, and canvas.

There is no electricity, plumbing, or drinking water. The students come into the locker area to shower and use the bathroom. Many of the students have installed solar panels to help them charge their cell phones and other electronic gadgets.

Students are required to remodel one of the shelters for their thesis statement .

A student shelter with a fireplace (Carol Kubota)
Another student shelter (Carol Kubota)
Student shelter (Carol Kubota)
The party shelter (Carol Kubota)

11. The Dinner Bell

The dinner bell rings at 12:30 for lunch and 6:30 p.m. for dinner. Students and those who reside on campus eat together in the dining room.

Dinner Bell (Carol Kubota)

Taliesin West is a unique place to visit. You can take photos, sit on the furniture, and admire the scenery. Tours are given everyday with reservations.

Irish: A Story on Immigration

Lush green fields dotted with sheep, mountain high cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and waves lapping at the foot of the cliffs. Scenic views that call those with a bit of Irish blood from around the world to come and visit. It’s a peaceful place. A place to sit on one of the hills and listen to the splashing water, meditate, and wonder how life used to be in this idyllic situation.

The windowless hallway leads the way; steel doors sealed shut with padlocks. I bump into someone, a member of my tour. We are in prison, but at the end of the tour, we will be out of prison. Unlike the men, women, and children who spent days, months, and years in this prison for stealing food because they were starving.

Ireland experienced a very dark time in its history. Men could not make the payments on the rents of their homes owned by English landlords who lived not in Ireland but England. The Great Famine also referred to as the Great Hunger began in 1845 with a pest infecting the potatoes. Potatoes turned black and the farmers lost their only source of income.

The English grabbed healthy potatoes and sent them to England. The Irish had only the rotten potatoes to feed their families. Irish men had only a few choices left for supporting their families. They worked in pensions owned by the English. They gave up their land and possessions to gain admittance to the pensions which paid little.  Irish women had to seek food and shelter for their children. They became desperate and began to steal to provide food for their families.

The families were left destitute and ended up in prison.

This was a time when families collected money from their relatives and took out loans to send their children to North America to find jobs because there were none in Ireland. Tourists who visit Ireland go to the Guinness beer museum, hike in the lush grass, and eat at the numerous bars and restaurants. Not many people venture into the dark history of Ireland’s past, something that should not be forgotten.

Early immigration began with the Irish seeking a better life. No different than those traveling now to the US seeking a better experience. No one wanted the Irish when they first arrived to the US. They were dirty and known for drinking and being lazy. The same view people have of the recent asylum seekers to the U.S. They are criminals, lazy, and must be feared. These people are no different from the Irish. They are fleeing poverty, political problems, and crime. 

Tourists go to Ireland because they want to drink and have fun. Some go to look for their roots, grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts. Visits to cemeteries and small villages give them a small window to look into and get a glimpse of what life may have been.

I saw people with freckles and red hair, and I found people who were darker in color. Immigrants from Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Arab.  East Indians owned the local hotel where I stayed.

The US government has caused a severe problem. Keeping people from crossing the border is no different than keeping the Irish immigrants on their ships and refusing them permission to embark on American soil. They were said to have diseases. Some of them died on the boat before they were able to get much needed medical help.

Now, we celebrate the Irish. We have big parades on St Patrick’s day. We turn many lakes and rivers green. Every one declares they are Irish even if they aren’t. The US has more Irish living here than in the country of Ireland. Some of these recent immigrants are returning to Ireland. Life in the US is not what they want. Ireland has become more prosperous and can offer high tech jobs.

The immigrants coming to the U.S. are of color. Our current government wants to keep them out. This is sad and neglectful. We have no right to discriminate against those who are not white.

Let’s not forget why Irish parents were willing to send their teenage sons and daughter on a ship so far away. For the same reasons, people do it today: better opportunities in education and employment. They want their children to do better than what they can do in their own countries because of corruption, crime, and poverty.

Think about that when you go to Ireland and drink glass after glass of Guinness beer.

The Misplaced Passport

I am never late. I arrive thirty minutes early for lunch, dinner dates, lectures, doctor’s appointments, and classes. I arrive at the airport two hours before my flight is scheduled to take off. I want to avoid possible traffic tickets, flat tires, traffic jams, and car accidents. Today I am thankful to arrive early.

My flight from Heathrow airport was scheduled to take off at 8:30 am.

I got a hotel near the airport. I had to check in three hours before because it was an International flight. I scheduled the hotel shuttle to pick me up at 5:00 am. I didn’t sleep well.

I am always afraid I will miss the plane.

The alarm blasted at 4:00 a.m. I got dressed and went to the lobby to wait for my ride. I packed my bag the night before. I checked the areas around the room to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind and I felt confident everything was stored in my backpack and carry on lugage. I turned in my keys and waited for the shuttle to arrive. It was a fifteen-minute ride to the airport.

Upon arriving at the airport I unzipped my backpack to retrieve my passport. It wasn’t there. I kept it in a pouch that is thief resistant. That is what the advertisement said. I went into a panic attack. I opened up my suitcase which was locked. I located the key, unlocked the suitcase, and unzipped the entire bag and set it on the floor. There were a few people who looked at me as if I were crazy. I was crazy. What would I do if I couldn’t find my passport? Would I be delayed? How would I prove I was a US citizen? I would have to stay in London until I got a new passport. Maybe they would detain me. Would they put me in jail? My eyes filled with tears.

I took out all of my clothes and laid them on the unoccupied seats. I put my hand in all of the pockets. I unzipped every pocket of the bag. Nothing. I proceeded to pack my bag again. People were staring at me. I wonder what they thought. What is this crazy lady looking for? I zipped up my bag and locked it.  What do I do now?

I dumped the contents of my backpack on the seat. I put my hand in every single pocket once again. Nothing. I couldn’t find my passport. I sat down and took and deep breath. I prayed to God and asked Sumio to tell me where it was. I reached over to my bag and gave it one last go over. I stuck my hand in the front pocket and there it was. Why was it there? I never put my passport in that pocket.

I cried. The people around me were relieved. I looked up and smiled. They smiled back. I thanked God and Sumio and went on my way clutching on to my passport never letting it out of my sight again.

The departure schedule with my flight number was not available yet. I rushed towards the gate where it might take off. A young man was sitting there with his cell phone in his hand.

I asked him “Are you catching the flight to Chicago?”

“Yes.”

“Do you know the departure gate for the flight?”

“They don’t post until thirty minutes before the departure time. It will be one of these gates.”

“Thank you.”

My stomach was growling. I hadn’t eaten anything all morning. I located a coffee shop and ordered a coffee and scone. The scone was dry and the coffee was bitter.

There was nothing more to worry about. It was now the pilot’s responsibility to get me to Chicago.

I checked my bag one more time and grabbed on to my passport. I was safe!

7 Reasons I Rarely Take my Cocker Spaniel on Vacation

1.She’s too big to smuggle into the hotel room.

Hotels charge pet fees from $5 – $50 . There are no set fees for pets. Each hotel chooses the fee and it’s not refundable. Airbnbs charge up to $300 for a refundable fee. La Quinta is one hotel chain that does not charge a fee for your pet.

Chloe on hotel bed

2. She can’t fly with me

I don’t want to put her in the cargo area. She would be afraid.

She doesn’t fit under the seat in front of me. She has to travel in a carrier with the baggage under the plane. If the temperature is too hot or too cold she can’t fly.

If I get bumped from my flight, I have to find a flight for her.

3. Dogs can’t stay in cars in the hot summer or cold winter

I can’t take my dog into a gas station or a Starbucks if I have to go to the restroom. I have to leave her in the car. This is not an option if it is a hot summer day.

I did this once and came out to find three women threatening to call the police.

Dogs waiting for parents

4. I can only take her to restaurants that have patios.

Most restaurants don’t allow dogs inside. This limits me to outdoor seating. I call ahead to ask if there is patio seating.

Hamburgers in Sedona, Az

5. She doesn’t like long hikes or walks

She gets tired of hiking and I have to carry her.

6. Chloe doesn’t like selfies

7. Chloe can’t enter museums or stores

I can’t visit any attractions because Chloe is not allowed. I can’t leave her in the car because it is too hot. Chloe cries and howls when I leave her alone.

Chloe likes to stay home