The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is in town again, part of the annual cycle of things here.
Fast on the heels of the post-apocalypse holiday madness and during the waning days of winter rains, tents are raised, parking lots are converted, stadiums and halls become showrooms and hotels are transformed into mini-United Nations.
Vendors from Pakistan sell their goods beside vendors from India and Afghanistan.

Old Hasidic Jews and Burka clad women bump elbows while inspecting diamonds.

Rednecks and dreadlocks admire crystals and discuss the healing merits of mysterious bones.
The world has arrived and everybody is getting along.
And like everything else these days, signs of global recession are everywhere.
Less vendors, less buyers, and seemingly unending miles of product glistening beneath the sun and lights.

Naturally in an environment such as this, the visual is matched and perhaps even surpassed by the audio. 

For this installation of Sound Scouting, I traveled along the I-10 frontage road, visiting the hotels and tent bazaars that run for a couple of miles.
It was a Thursday, around 11 a.m. when I set out to make the recording.
What I enjoy about this wandering route is the variety of sound environments: voices, vehicles, birds, wind, rocks (clacking), footsteps, music and so on.
If you are thinking of experiencing this route yourself, time is fleeting as the show ends next week, but there is always next year. 

  1. Follow Congress through the city. After you pass beneath the I-10 underpass, there is a parking lot on the left (south) side of the road. The cost is $5 for the day.
  2. Once parked walk towards the city, over the Santa Cruz River and make a right. The first tent will be obvious.
  3. Follow your instincts and the frontage road south. Be sure to explore the tents, visit the hotel room vendors, improvise and listen deep. This route will eventually terminate in the African Village.