Desert City 2011 Update #1

It’s Friday night here at Desert City, lights just turned down and all-night social dancing has begun. Packed floor. This is a fun comp! We must have heard five times today “this is my favorite event of the year,” and it did just win the award for Best Event Under 500 (just making the cut with 499 registrations for 2010.)

It’s a gorgeous Arizona night! Balmy, wind blowing through the palm trees, cacti silhouetted against a full moon. This resort is owned by the same company that owns last year’s resort but this one’s smaller but with a bigger ballroom (I think. It feels bigger, but I’ll ask Mike. Maybe it’s just a better shape.) Last year’s resort had a series of swimming pools with waterfalls and grottos and a long slow river through and around the perimeter of the property on which you could float along all day or go rafting through the fast parts. Water-slides, an entire water-park playground. This year’s resort is primarily golf but does have pools – nice, just smaller. Buildings are the same: adobe style red clay and gold, low (two-story) garden-style rooms in groups of 100 clustered around their own pools and fountains. Very Arizona-ish. Hills (pointes I think they’re properly called) covered with cacti, dusty vegetation – someone said it looks just like Afghanistan. But it is *fun* here. Float in the pool all day, parties in every room all night, floating and playing in the lit pools in the dark, ballroom packed all night into the morning. Easy-going, relaxed, casual party atmosphere. No routines! Only JJ’s and Strictly’s! So no stress, no floor trials, no practicing, no makeup, costumes, sleeping, being responsible … none of that. Just hanging out for four days! Fun comp.

I love Friday afternoons, registration, seeing all your friends arrive in groups. Here registration is little slow, however. Super friendly! But slow. Last year too. They need to fix that for next year. We were pre-registered and yet stood for for-EVAH just waiting to get banded. We didn’t mind cause registration is always fun, but it should be more efficient. Couple people were irritated cause they’d been waiting for a half hour to get their band. And then you have to come back a couple hours later to wait in another long line to register for your comps. It’s fun, you’re with all your friends from all over the world. But still.

Tonight was JJ Prelims for Novice, Masters (two heats of about 20), and Allstars (two heats of about 15). Great audience! Loud, rowdy, supportive. Very friendly comp so far, everybody dancing with everybody all around the room. Four from France as far as I’ve seen, maybe 10 or so from UK. Great energy.

Oh! Genieboy just came in to say that both of us made finals in Masters. He’s not sure if finals are posted – we’ll try to get the names and let you know who’s here and who’s made finals so far.

We almost didn’t make it here … DC has had a week of continuous rain and flooding. We almost didn’t make it to the airport because a section of highway was washed out with houses on either side completely flooded – water halfway up the house, cars submerged almost up to the roof. Never in all my years in DC (I grew up there) have I ever seen a flood. In three weeks we’ve had an earthquake, a hurricane, and now a flood? What’s left – locusts?

This was not my proudest travel-agent moment, getting to this event:

For some reason which I’m not sure what it is I made Genieboy and myself two airplane reservations for two flights leaving and arriving at exactly the same times, on two different airlines. We waved to each other in the sky. Both flights were delayed for precisely two hours, so we flew along side-by-side for six hours, landed together, picked up our bags on carousels 1 and 2, and carried on like this was the normal way for married couples to behave. I wonder what a psychiatrist would say.

Almost missed my flight because I was waiting at the wrong gate!  Kept texting Genieboy waiting at his own gate saying “this is really scary there’s not a soul in sight here! It’s barren! No agents anywhere, no passengers! I’m scared, it’s creepy like a ghost town!” At the last minute I checked my ticket and AUGHGH!! WRONG GATE! flew up in a sweat, running miles through corridors dragging my suitcase, camera bag banging on my hip.

In Phoenix we caught a taxi. Oopsie! At the airport exit I suddenly remembered I’d rented a car. Back we drove into the airport, unloaded all our suitcases (more suitcases for this trip – I’m staying out here for a week) and then went looking for the shuttle to take us out to the rental car place.

Then we got so lost trying to find our room driving round and round the resort in the dark (this was 2am our time, we’re dog tired by now), circling and re-circling the same buildings over and over. When we woke up this morning we discovered that I’d paid extra for an ugrade for a room that was so extremely far away (every other of the 499 dancers at this comp are in buildings right next to the ballroom,) up steep trails and around canyons to the most remote, highest, farthest edge of the property, that we would have to drive the car from the room to the ballroom all weekend. (Or dial “15” for the free shuttle, for which of course you have to wait a bit, and then of course give a tip.  Or not give a tip if you forgot your wallet.  And then maybe not ever get picked up again and have to hike back up which could take days.) We spent the first half of today getting un-upgraded and changing rooms.

But now we’re here! It is a GORGEOUS night, balmy and gorgeous, music is awesome so far, energy is high, social dancing is great, and we are actually, finally, really having a blast!

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One response to “Desert City 2011 Update #1

  1. Hey Liza, Thank you for your comment on Desert City Swing’s long registartion lines. This event has grown so fast that I did not anticipate the large numbers of attendees. I am aware of this and I think I have it worked out. The resort we are at, Is larger than the previous one and I do miss the waterpark even though the water village is relaxing. In 2013, we are moving the event to the location I coveted since DCS started. It was built by Hilton and is HUGE, along with being just 5 miles from the airport. It does have the waterpark with 3 -8 story waterslides, a separate pool for volleyball and a long lazy river, plus other pools. Keep me posted on other things I can change to make this event better. Much Love, Mike Gadberry, Event Director

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