Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Modern Monoliths?

We just spent yesterday going between these two "man-made" monoliths. I'll bet they are more recognizable than many ancient ones. The one on the left, Disneyland's Matterhorn holds some memories for us. We haven't stood in line at its base lately. They used to have "mountain climbers" climbing it daily. Mr. Moore, a Claremont music teacher, did that as a part-time job and got our family in free one time. He was quite a guy. I first taught with him at Oakmont. He also moonlit as a professional basoonist and did comercials. He had the first and only jazz band in Claremont schools. Tinkerbell used to "fly" from its peak on a wire across fantasyland...by her teeth. We took the bobsleds many times in, over and thru this landmark from the "swiss chalet" at the base. Fun memories.

"Howling Wolf Rock"...or whatever it is called is now the monolith in the newer Disneyland Land California Adventure. It doesn't hold many memories yet. We like what's happening below and around it.ie. a great, cooling waterfall and water ride (we are too old to take) and the Sonoma Winery Restaurant. We've eaten there twice and love it. In its shadow is "California Soarin'" -Our new favorite ride We've taken it at least four times. We get a "fast-pass" come back later and go the the front of the line. This time we were waiting for the next "flight" and down the empty wait lane come a special "guided tour guide" and the movie star Geoffrey Rush(sp.?) and his family. I think he is the one who played the evil pirate captain in Disney's "Pirates of the Carribbean" and probably the sequel. We smiled knowingly at each other and Betty and I were respectfully quiet about our inside knowledge. He went directly ahead of us in line and was first in. He sat in the first seat, first row, center. We sat seven or eight seats down in the center-center spot. On the way out we were close enough behind to hear his questions and conversation with the Disney guide...technical questions about the screen and projection (back) of the IMAX facility. Very interesting.

We stayed for the parade on mainstreet, waited an hour. During that time there was a double rainbow near the matterhorn. Our pictures weren't that great. The parade at night is better.

Now, by way of comparison, I'd like to mention two ancient monolithic sites. Here again, one we've visited and hold memories, the other, we just read about but would love to visit.

When we were in England and Wales with a choir tour, we had an opportunity, in between tours to take the bus to see Stonehenge in southwestern England near Salisbury. You park on the opposite side of the highway, hit the tourist shop, lunch and then go through the underpass to the monoliths. They are roped off and you can't get very near...safety & grafitti. Of course you wonder how they got there...probably not unlike Disney's Matterhorn and Wolf...with extreme efforts of workmen and architects etc. You wonder why they were erected...maybe for the same reasons, allowing for time, cultures and beliefs. I've read several books, mostly fiction, about the origins of Stonehenge ie. Arthurian, Masonic, Astrologic etc. Most memorable on that trip was our stop in Bath, Eng. where we had a look at the Roman ones and passed on actually drinking the yukky spring water "taking the waters" as so many have. We chose to have "tea" at a local shop and commenorate Betty's Birthday...much more fun.

No where on that trip was Avebury, England mentioned. It, evidently, is a old, small, quiet town near Salisbury that has the largest stone circle in Europe and the largest man-made prehistoric mound called Silbury Hill. These stones date from around 2600 B.C. Here is a great example of the effect of marketing or the lack of it...most likely on purpose. Many of the stones are missing or haphazardly left to deteriorate. Originally there were more than 100 stones each weighing more than 40 tons. Twice as big as Stonehenge. They were not preseved as well. If we ever go back to that area, I'd like to visit this site and learn more about it...and partake in the local "traditions" When we sang at the Istedfad in Wales we were previledged to stay in a lovely home of some local English Choral Singing Supporters. They had your typical "Privet Drive" home only it was three-storied. We watched teletubbies with their grandchildren, had an English breakfast and left them 'frig magnets" from America. They loved them and promised to visit us if ever in California, U.S.A. They were so typically English and made fun of the Welsh whose music they go to hear every season because they are so near.

These are "authentic memories" and they don't feel "stuffed" at all. Bob


At 5:16 PM, Blogger BOB! Your Life Preserver said...

I know it is hard to believe that both these pictures were taken on the same day. Early it was clear and beautiful when we were walking around the Calif. Adventure. Towards evening it clouded over and as we waited for the 7PM Parade we saw the rainbows and felt a few big drops as the parade started. Major thunder and lightening happened later that evening and into the next day. The last storm of summer on the last day of summer. Breath-taking! Bob

At 7:29 AM, Blogger BOB! Your Life Preserver said...

On this date, Sept. 21st, in 1915, Stonehenge was sold at auction for 6600 lbs. sterling to Mr. Chubb as a present for his wife. He gave it back to Britain in just three years. Rather pedestrian, don't you think? Who knows what Disney will do with it's landmarks in a few years? Bob


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