Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Circle of Excellence Day 2-3

Sunday night when we came home from our dinner, we found a surprise waiting for us in our room. Sitting on our bed was a leather backpack with some really cool items inside: A blanket, swiss army knife, and a Moroccan cook book. Here is a picture of Naquel as she opened up the gifts.

We had to get to bed early that night because the next day was going to be busy. Monday was really fun for us. We started out the day getting up for breakfast at 7 AM, and then we had to meet in front of the hotel at 8 AM for our ride to our first activity of the week: Dune Buggies. Our charter bus drove us 45 minutes NE out of Phoenix to the Tonto National Reserve. We signed our lives away on a waiver form, geared up, buckled in, and then drove off into the desert. The picture below was near the turn around point of our trip. As you can see the desert is so beautiful, but there were parts of the trail where we were driving down extremely rocky dried up river beds, and that was a lot of fun,

We drove about 15 miles into the Sonoran Desert, and then took a little breather. We were pretty shook up from the jarring ride, and we were covered in dust. Our guide kept on telling us to watch out of rattle snakes, so we didn't want to venture too far from our dune buggy

The dune buggy was really fun to drive. The tires were pretty low on air, so they gripped the rocks and boulders with ease. I drove us to the the turn around point, and Naquel drove us back.

By noon we were back at our Hotel room cleaning up. We had a big night planned ahead, so we didn't venture too far from the Hotel. We drove down Camelback Rd. to the Fashion Square Mall- one of the best places to shop in Scottsdale. While there we ate lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe, and then we went to see the movie "17 again".

Later that night, we were driven about 1 hour north of Phoenix to Los Cedros Ranch where Astra Zeneca entertained us for the night with a wonderful horse show, tour of the ranch, as well as a Moroccan feast for dinner. The food was ok.

Here is Naquel posing and petting one of the beautiful Arabian horses.

This is the inside of the stables. These horses were treated so well... better than their human care takers. The stables were very clean, and had all the necessary amenities for the stallions.

This is a picture I got as one of the riders whizzed past us. Naquel kept on laughing at me because I was getting so excited about the photo opportunity. She thought that I looked like a camera geek!

I have this obsessive compulsive issue about always trying to sit on the very front seat of a charter bus... otherwise I get car sick! And the view from the front was pretty cool riding back to the hotel. It's almost like we were riding on a time machine or something. Pretty neat.

When we got back to our hotel room, there was another gift waiting for us on our bed. This time it was a pot for making cus cus, what ever the heck that is. Probably something I won't ever eat, let along make, so it will make for a nice piece of home decoration.

Tuesday morning was pretty laid back. We were able to hang out by the pool all day long. It was really nice to just relax and soak up the rays.

Later that afternoon we went back to the Fashion Square Mall and watched the movie "Ghosts of girlfriends past"- LAME. then we came back to the hotel to get ready for the awards ceremony later that night. Astra Zeneca rented me a tuxedo for the night, and they gave Naquel $200 to purchase a new dress as show below. We took a few formal pictures around the Phoenician Hotel property and then we to the ceremony where we sat around for 3 hours while they called every single person up to the stage one at a time to receive their trophy for winning Circle of Excellence.

We sat at table #43 and met some really nice people from back East. The food was delicious- surf n turf (filet mignon with lobster).

Here is a photo of the trophy I received.

When we got back to our room that night there was another gift waiting for us on the bed. I got all excited expecting an ipod or some other cool electronic device... but inside the box was a his/her champagne glass set and a chilled bottle of champagne. Seeing that we don't drink, we took the glass and left the champagne for room service to dispose of.

We had a busy couple of days. We were constantly tired because it seemed like we were always waking up at 5:30 AM and then going from one activity to the next all day long. The Pool day was a nice break, but we still had many more activities scheduled for the week. I will leave that for another post.


Leo and Jill said...

Naquel you look simply stunning!!

Keith & Allie said...

You look gorgeous Naquel! (you look alright too Chris) I'm glad you found shoes to match! Sounds like an amazing trip!

Fausett Family said...

Naquel your dress was so pretty and you looked beautiful. What fun to shop for a new formal dress. That hasn't happened since I bought my wedding dress.

Karen said...

It made me smile when you said that you are a camera geek, my husband says, "We look like tourists" because I always break out the camera. You guys look great and look like you had a lot of fun.