March 24, 2007

Medieval Madness!

Let's be honest. The only reason we decided to move back to the Lower 48 was so we could attend an honest-to-goodness Renaissance Festival. And there is no better place to get a real experience of medieval Europe than deep in the saguaro forests of southern Arizona!

So last week, Sonja and I found ourselves surrounded by bards, jesters, knights in shining foil, and tavern wenches galore. And to top it all off, the high temp for the day peaked at around 99 degrees, which just meant I was allowed to buy all the authentic 64 oz. medieval sodas filled with mini ice-cubes I wanted. It was fun just to walk the streets poking around in all the shops and marveling at the ability of the costumed fair-goers to withstand the opressive heat while wearing very elaborate and heavy outfits without passing out every five minutes. I had a hard time doing that and I was in a t-shirt, shorts and sandals!

The most exciting part of the fair for me, by far, was the Dungeon Museum. I mean, come on! Who doesn't like a good dungeon?!?

And I knew this was going to be a super-special dungeon, well worth the $1.50 it cost each of us to enter, when we saw this sign at the ticket table.

I'm thinking of putting a similar sign at our front door. Cuz, you know, dungeons can be rather expensive to maintain. And you certainly don't want someone wandering around poking holes in your furniture and miscellaneous torture devices with their sword or staff. Anyway, the dungeon itself was a pleasant break from the Sun-of-Dhoom beating down on our heads outside. They even had authentic medieval fans inside to blow all the body odor around. I was amazed at how crowded the whole fair was, and being herded into this paper-mache' tunnel only reinforced this.

The dungeon exhibits filling the dungeon museum were...well, they just were. This one was my personal favourite (notice the medieval spelling? It helps set the mood for the post). I particularly liked the expression on the guy's face.

I was anticipating some sort of "jump-out-at-you" moment near the end of the tunnel, but the only thing that even came close was a display showing a man with his head in a cage full of talking rats. I was so dismayed (and disappointed that the rats weren't saying anything interesting) that I forgot to take a picture of it.

We headed over to the King's Arena for the obligatory jousting tournament. I don't remember if Sonja had ever seen one of these before or not. But judging from her cackling at the "action" sequences, I'm assuming she hadn't. It was the pretty standard routine. You cheer for the knight (shouting "huzzah", of course) that corresponds to the section you chose to sit in. Then a bunch of grown men run around on horses, hitting each other with sticks and waving swords around. That was it.

Now, I'm not saying I wouldn't jump at the chance to do something like that myself. Cuz it was still really cool, though. Just see for yourself:

Ours was the "green knight". He was the best, of course. Although, we didn't stick around until 5 for the grand finale "joust to the death." Yeah, supposedly when the black and red knight (he's a bad guy) hit the green knight (the good guy, cuz he's blonde) in the back with his lance he set in motion a nasty cycle of chivalrous insults, and therefore deserved to be jousted to death. I'm assuming that the Green Knight survives and is victorious after outmaneuvering assorted dirty tricks perpetrated by the Red and Black Knight. At least, that's what I tell myself in order for me to sleep at night. I couldn't stand it if the Green Knight didn't win. After all, he's STING! And Sting ALWAYS wins!

And no Renaissance Festival would be complete without...llamas???

Yes, apparently medieval Europe was famous for its llama rides. Something the history books never tell you.


Janine said...

Looks like fun guys! Loved your "laughing" @ the jousting knights Sonja!!...BTW Paul...where do you find all that weird stuff you add to your BLOG?? i.e."The Lama Song" Now I can't get the dorky song out of my head & I'm tired & it's not a very good lullibye! How was the bonfire?? Did ya have a s'more?? :o) TTFN

Patrick Belardo said...

Were they armored llamas?

Love the garbage pail kid, btw. I was fond of Pat Splat. I still have it somewhere. I remember buying packs of them from the ice cream truck that would come by. I feel like I'm about to give one of those "back in my day..." speeches.

Ray said...

No llamas in those places at those times, but the kids love it! From the guy who trained this llama, his name is Puru.