Of Monarchs, Chili and Chocolate

The Queens and Kings of Wings enjoyed music all day from the entertainment on the patio where the annual Chili and Chocolate Festival at the Desert Botanical Gardens was underway.  The day was just wonderful in every way from perfect weather to people watching, food, and butterflies to photograph.  Karen and I even took in a cooking demo on making mole from Gertrude's chef.  To top it off, the students and instructors from Yumi La Rosa, a flamenco dance school, put on several flamenco dance exhibitions.  Enjoy our day without any parking hassles!

Hold still please!!

For Cory.

Of course, there is much more to the Garden than butterflies.  Here are just a few examples of how much fun this place can be.

I was trying a new composing technique that Karen had just shared with me and in my viewfinder I spot the following image.  Rescue this poor critter that is trapped in cactus!!!  I had just enough sense to try and stay with my subject this time (some of you may chuckle in remembering the beach scene).  But, he was quickly gone, scampering up the back of the cactus only to appear happily on top!  He pulled one of the loose fruit up from the cactus and settled in for lunch.

"I think I will just have my lunch in the sun."

"You will need a model release and my posing fee is not included in your admission.!

Yum!!  Yum!!

I watched him eat for 8 minutes, slowly moving my tripod ever closer.  I wanted him to hurry up and scamper back down.  I had a plan on how I was going to capture him going down.  You know the old saying, "The best laid plans . . . "  Some 50 shots later, he set down his fruit.  I did not capture his descent as he quickly turned and went down the back side of the cactus.  The fruit he left behind on top was quickly picked up and carried off up by a nearby bird.

"OK, did you get it?  Would you like me to do it again?  He scampered right back up the back.  Once he realized his food was gone he quickly went down the backside again.  I think he believes I took it!

To celebrate chili and chocolate, the patio and surrounding garden is turned into an indoor/outdoor market with about 30 vendors, most of them small local businesses.  It looked to me like most of the products were organic, utilized local ingredients and had a bit of kick to them!  Some had a LOT of kick and came with names like Scorpion Hell!   We had lunch on the patio, watched flamenco dancers and just kept mentioning that we hated to leave.  So we didn't!!

If I thought flamenco dancing would make me look like that I would spend hours a day at her school. 

The young 'man' in the middle had the personality to go with his fancy footwork!  He could pull off the 'looks' like the one below . . . only when on a young face it was cute instead of . . . . well, sexy.