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Phoenix, AZ

It was a short train run. We were supposed to load in on Monday but were delayed until Tuesday.
This week was a total scorcher, with some of the highest temperatures ever recorded on the planet!!!

The train yard is all dust and cracked ground.

On Tuesday I was supposed to participate in a PR involving painting tiles for a mural,
but for whatever reason I had been thinking that was a Wednesday event.
So I woke up too late and missed the bus. Go me. :(
Instead I ended up treating myself to a rental car, mostly in order to make it to a last-minute appointment
but also to enjoy some retail therapy. I got a new pillow, sneakers, and of course groceries,
and enjoyed a few hours of thrifting :D

On Friday we had a meeting about the upcoming California elephant walks (and free lunch, yay!).
Our Fearless Leaders explained how we should hold the walk rope, how to interact with bystanders,
and what our response should be to protestors. They also touched on how to behave appropriately around
the animals and explained some of the handlers' responsibilities.
From what I've heard, protestors in California tend to be a lot more verbally abusive and physically confrontational than in other states. I don't know if I'll be asked to do any Cali walks, but if so I hope I'm up to the task!!

After the meeting I walked over to a big warehouse-store called Ultimate Consignment.
Normally this is the kind of place I'd spend HOURS in, but the building was not A/C'd and it was just too hot.

Last night (Sunday) Brett held a BBQ at his train car for Catfish (trumpet), who is leaving us after today's show.
Catfish has been subbing for Slick, who's been out for several months.
It'll be great to have Slick back! At the same time, I'll sure miss Catfish!
He's a lot of fun to be around, and a monster player too :) Woop woop!

Partway through the BBQ many of us got a weather alert on our phones that a dust storm would be blowing through. Having never experienced a dust storm, I didn't know what to expect. The sky was only partly cloudy and there was a light breeze, so I think no one was terribly concerned.
Around 10pm I said goodnight and went indoors, and about fifteen minutes later felt a huge gust of wind hit the train followed by what sounded like sleet. That was the dust storm. It was pretty intense! There were two of them back to back.
Didn't get photos, but here's one from last year (link)

A huge fire started burning north of here last night as well...started by a lightning strike,
it has been contained but has killed 19 firefighters.

In the circus world, another tragedy: a Cirque acrobat, a mother of two young children,
died after falling 50 feet from her harness during the battle scene in 'Ka'.

Many unfortunate things happened around us this week.
Hopefully next week will be better.
All we can do, is just keep swimming.

Some photos from this week:

Jameson (keys) got a new tattoo!

(photo courtesy Jameson)

Zhang keeps cool in the freezer.

(photo courtesy Eryn, teacher)

This vendor was so loud it was funny...you could hear him screaming,
"CHOC'LATE--CHIP--COOKIIIIIES!!!!" even from the dressing rooms!