Jung Family Vacation in Arizona, Day 6: A Day in Scottsdale with Uncle Danny and Auntie Karen

On our last day in Arizona, we ended up switching plans and decided to leave Flagstaff a day early. My Uncle Danny was back in the States, and so we ended up trekking to Scottsdale to spend our last day in AZ with him and Auntie Karen. The two of them were kind enough to house my parents, and to also put me, Liz, along with Stacey, Shane, and the kids up at a nearby hotel. So while we had one less day in Flagstaff, we were markedly closer to the Sky Harbor airport (giving us a 30 minute drive, as opposed to a 2 hour one).

We showed up in Scottsdale around 1PM, and on arriving – things were already bustling. I hopped in the car with my Uncle Danny and accompanied him to a nearby grocery store to buy a few items. On arriving back home, I found everyone in the kitchen helping to prep food.

Soon after we all were together, Uncle Danny opened up a bottle of champagne for us.

A nearby photo of the Lius, my grandparents from my mother’s side.

The Thanksgiving table. With not much notice, Auntie Karen had prepared an enormous amount of food for us: turkey, prime rib, mashed potatoes, salmon, pasta, *tons* of food. We felt bad in that we were a large group that had descended to their household, but the two of them were fantastic hosts.

Our original plan was to take Uncle Danny and Auntie Karen out for a meal. But the timing of everything worked out to where we spent the day at their house. At 2PM, with glasses of champagne filled and two bottles of wine opened, our Thanksgiving meal was on in full force.

Afterwards, we all trekked to a nearby Butterfly Museum – which, surprisingly, was open on Thanksgiving Day.

The place was fairly new, and decked out with a 3D movie theater and a very large area dedicated to the butterflies. It reminded me a lot of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum here in Chicago.

The room was very humid, and so I don’t think I got great photos. But nearly everywhere you turned, there were tons of butterflies – perched on leaves, hanging off tree limbs, drinking nectar or sunning themselves.

I was surprised to see a small set of birds inside, who kept mostly to themselves in this corner.

Two butterflies, doing what butterflies do.

There was a small pond area in the middle, where I often went to cool off. The room itself was quite humid, but there was a cool breeze if you stood right by the water.

Looking in, I kept feeling bad for all the Koi. To see all the butterflies flying around, but to be unable to eat them. I imagined a human equivalent for us would be if there were slices of pie always flying above our heads, forever out of reach.

Uncle Danny, taking a photo of the kids.

My dad, and a butterfly admirer.

This guy attached to his leg, and no matter how much he walked… the butterfly clung on for a good few minutes.

Surprisingly, there were small rooms that featured insects and aquatic life at the museum as well. One final stop before the exit was a stingray pool.

We got to watch a feeding session, near the end of the day.

Liz, posing outside with some cactus – both of them looking quite sharp.

As the sun was setting we found ourselves at a somewhat awkward hour. It was too close to dusk to really travel anywhere, but the light was still nice. We ended up heading back to Uncle Danny’s neighborhood, and walked around in a small park area.

I don’t have any pictures of this, but it was a really cool spot. Though a residential area, we started to see flocks (and I mean a ton) of birds descending on this small lake as it got darker. It really looked like O’Hare, given all the traffic that was coming on.

As the sky darkened, birds flew in and settled on the water. We made our way around half of the perimeter, and walked back to our cars while the street lamps kicked on.

// Edit: Just got a photo via my mom. I guess this area was called “McCormick Lake.” Here’s a photo of us just prior to sunset.

Back at Uncle Danny and Auntie Karen’s house, we all hung out a bit in the kitchen. Uncle Danny opened up a lot more wine, and we all sipped on drinks and snacked. It never ceases to amaze me how, regardless of what type of party it is, the kitchen is always the best place to be.

Jasmine, posing with Bella (a neighbor’s dog that Uncle Danny and Auntie Karen were caring for, temporarily).

I got to hang out for a bit with Uncle Danny, sitting on the couch and talking about work. We discussed technology, and also learned a bit about the early days (back when both my Uncle Eddie and Uncle Danny started their own companies).

On the topic of music, he mentioned how it would be great if there was an application that could identify musical artists by sound. And that’s when I showed him Shazam, which we then used to try out on some classical music he had in his CD player. Within a few seconds, it correctly identified Pavoratti (my uncle was quite impressed).

A photo of some of Uncle Danny’s art work. These paintings were done in earlier times, and the one on the left was a portrait of my mother.

Uncle Danny recently had a show in Taipei, which featured some of his work along with the paintings of my grandfather. I’d seen photographs of his paintings, and they were all primarily landscapes. But looking through some of the artwork around his house – I began to fully understand how many different styles Uncle Danny had worked with, and how long he had been painting/drawing.

One of the upper rooms at the house. Though there were easels and supplies up here, this was not the room where Uncle Danny paints (he has another studio, given how messy the process is).

Uncle Danny, providing more backstory on some of his earlier works.

Stacey and Shane, talking with Uncle Danny outside his upstairs office.

It was really nice to hear Uncle Danny talk about his work, and to see all the various types of sketches and paintings he’s done over the years. When talking about the paintings he made when he was younger, he talked about how there was little planning before he began.

But with his later work, he said that all of his training as an engineer made it impossible for him not to plan things out, before starting. Which I thought was a very interesting thing, how our experiences and training help to shape our processes.

Though it was a short day (with a 2 hour drive from Flagstaff in the morning), today was a great day for hanging out. We had a delicious meal, and lots of wine and conversation to round out the evening.

Jung Family Vacation in Arizona, Day 5: Hiking the West Fork Trail and West Fork Oak Creek
Jung Family Vacation in Arizona, Day 4: Exploring Stops Along 89A
Jung Family Vacation in Arizona, Day 3: Grand Canyon and Acrophobia
Jung Family Vacation in Arizona, Day 2: Montezuma Castle and Bell Rock
Jung Family Vacation in Arizona, Day 1: Arrival and the Shadow of Castle Rock

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