Sunday, August 7, 2022

MM# 185: An Idaho Falls Fourth of July

Is anyone else around here in shock that it's already AUGUST???  Since I am deep in denial, this post is re-winding to our Fourth of July weekend with #1 Son in Idaho Falls.  Between classic patriotic events such as the parade and fireworks, plus typical tourist attractions (the Zoo!), we were on the go, go, go. And the time spent with #1 Son was the cherry on the sundae!

Given Friday was his day off, we drove down on Thursday, and were greeted by the newest members of our family, Daisy and Ruby.  #1 Son has been dying to have cats.  Once he secured his job and his own apartment, he was ready.  He waited until after our family trip to Cayman (but even in Cayman I was helping him scour the 'net for cat trees and other products), and by then he had identified two adoption candidates at a nearby shelter.  He was so thrilled they were still available when he went for his appointment!

We parted with the girls just long enough for a little outdoor dining at Smokin' Fins.

In the past, I have written posts about the love that #1 Son and I have for museums.  We were delighted to find that the Museum of Idaho was hosting the "Genghis Khan: Conquest and Culture" exhibit - bingo!  #1 Son has a particular interest in all things Asian.  Friday morning we headed to this display, showcasing more than 300 original artifacts including ancient weapons, jewelry and domestic items. 

The exhibit presented multiple facets of Genghis Khan, including his unprecedented leadership capability, even if some of his practices might be considered barbaric by today's standards.  Being a Mongol meant being a warrior, but Genghis Khan turned individual warriors into an army.  He also incorporated defeated soldiers, mixing them in with his troops to help ensure individual loyalty.  To facilitate discipline and provide a clear chain of command, the troops were organized by tens.  The ten men in the basic unit were responsible for each other - if one failed, all were punished.  An imperial guard served the Khan.  To be selected was considered a great honor - it was the military academy for the next generation of elite leaders.  Each young officer-in-training, chosen from the sons of regimental leaders, was also a kind of hostage, guaranteeing the fathers' loyalty to the Khan. 

The morin khur (horse-head fiddle) is the national instrument of Mongolia.  In Genghis Khan's time, every man was expected to know how to play it.  (see left side of collage below)  While at the museum, a gentleman was playing a horse-head fiddle, sometimes accompanied by a woman on a dulcimer-like instrument.

At its peak, the Mongol Empire revived and controlled the "Silk Routes" that united Asia with Europe.  That control meant more than just access to essential supplies and tariffs to support the Empire.  It also allowed Genghis Khan to spread innovations between cultures.  Many features of modern Western life were brought from the East by Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire.  Genghis introduced the concept of the printing press, diplomatic immunity, the pony express and the use of passports.  These innovations sped transit and safeguarded trade across his vast Empire.  The next time you eat a hamburger, put on your pants, shout "Hooray" or play the violin, remember to thank Genghis Khan!

You can click on the photo below to enlarge it and read more about these cultural contributions.

These papier mache masks are among 108 fashioned by dozens of Mongolian artisans under the direction of the exhibit curator.  The Tsam Dance is an elaborate ritual performance of masked dancers performed on the 9th day of the last month of summer.  The dancing figures represent the demons which protect the soul after death in the journey to rebirth.

Tsam was banned during the 20th Century Russian domination of Mongolia.  These masks were worn in the first public performance of the Buddhist Tsam Festival after Mongolia won independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.

We went searching for some lunch in downtown Idaho Falls, and along the way I saw these two murals.

And our day was not over yet; the Zoo was holding an evening fundraiser with live music and access to all the normal exhibits.  Given the cooler evening temperatures, many of the animals were lively.  Check out the video of the Serval.

These cats are just a LITTLE bigger than the kitties back at the apartment.  And yes, I only took pictures of cats ...

The next day, we went to the Farmer's Market.  I was fascinated by these Chimney Cakes, which I had never seen before.  Labeled as "Transylvanian Treats", the batter was slathered on the skewers and baked over a charcoal fire.  When done, the skewers "rested" upright on the table, and then your selected coating (cinnamon sugar was popular) was applied.  Final step was to bang the skewer on the table, and the cake would magically slide off into the bag.  Voila!  Too bad I closed my eyes for the photo! 

That afternoon, we took a break from the heat and went to the movies - have you see the Elvis movie with Austin Butler and Tom Hanks?  A terrific film - even though it was hard to watch Tom Hanks in a "bad guy" role!

On Sunday, we went to church and had a lazy afternoon (more time with the cats!) before an evening baseball game.  The Idaho Falls Chukars are an independent baseball team of the Pioneer League, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball but is an MLB Partner League.  What is more American than hot dogs, popcorn and baseball for the Fourth?

And then it was the Fourth!  We began our day early, staking out a spot to watch the Parade, which began at 9 am.  The theme was "Let Freedom Ring".

There were several "cheer" floats, and all of them had the cheerleaders on these boxes - didn't seem too safe if the trailer needed to stop suddenly.

We are partial to marching bands since #1 Son was in his high school marching band all through high school.  If you are similarly inclined, here is one video for you.

And I know #1 Daughter would love this VW bus.

Idaho Falls is home to the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration, the largest Independence Day fireworks show west of the Mississippi River.  Leading up to the 10 p.m. "high-flying, ground-shaking, adrenaline-filled display", the Snake River Landing venue is home to live music, a massive Kids Zone (I have never seen so many bouncy houses in one place), and a plethora of food and beverage vendors. As chance would have it, #1 Son's apartment is within 5 minutes' walk of the venue!  We alternated between the venue and the pool at his apartment complex - it was HOT.  We wondered how the cats would deal with the booming noise of the pyrotechnics, but when we returned to the apartment close to 11 p.m., they did not seem distressed.

And then, as quickly as it started, the weekend was over.  #1 Son leaves quite early for work, so we left at the same time.  The Idaho sunrise greeted us as we navigated northward on the mostly empty highway.  We were thrilled to have this time with #1 Son, and to see him so content in his home.  

"I hope you realize that every day is a fresh start for you.  That every sunrise is a new chapter in your life waiting to be written."  Juansen Dizon 

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  1. ...I would love that VW bus too!

  2. Yes, family first... and I smile with your activities to help. Wonderful!

    At last my stepdaughter has her own head by the way...

    The two cats are so sweet and I'm glad to read, that they sure have a good new home.
    Dschingis Khan is well known. He was a cruel human. But he was clever too.

    I enjoyed your Post again, and wish you a very good next week.

    Happy MosaicMonday 😘

  3. Great post - I love tigers and lions - as far as they are inside of a corral. The last two pictures are great.
    All the best

  4. I feel sorry for the Serval, it should not be in such a small enclosure. It deserves freedom. :( Love that beutiful sunrise. :)

  5. That looks like such a fun trip, some many great things to see. Hooray for Ruby and Daisy getting their forever home!

  6. ';m soo happy that you were able to see your son in his new home and meet his adorable two cats. Wishing him much success in his career! We stopped in Idaho Falls when we drove to Glacier NP one summer and enjoyed our visit there. Hope to make a longer visit next time!

  7. Yes I am shocked it's August but I am looking forward to spring days and wildflowers of Septermber! Stay safe, enjoy your week and thanks again for the link up.

  8. Yes it was a shock it came round so quick. You have had a busy time from the photos and that museum exhibition looked interesting. Can you send the VW over to me please I'd love to have that. Love the sunrises. PS you should not shut your eyes when you have a photo taken spoils it

  9. Hello,
    Sounds like a fun visit with your son. Ruby and Daisy are cute kitties. I love the masks, the mural and the pretty sky images. Take care, have a great new week!

  10. Interesting museum exhibits. Happy you had fun at the zoo as well. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful photos and mosiacs. Happy Monday


  11. Another great post, Angie. Loved the museum!

  12. What a marvellous adventure! I enjoyed it.
    (ツ) from Jenn Jilks , ON, Canada!

  13. I love masks, and I have a priceless collection in my home. They didn't cost much, but they are priceless to me! And life is better with cats. Welcome to Ruby and Daisy!

  14. had a very busy time of it. Lots of interesting things in the museum. And oh, your sky photo...WOW! You really captured it.

  15. Oooh, dear Angie, that sounds like wonderful fulfilling days! I've never been to the US on the 4th of July, but my husband was once lucky enough to fly over Miami on a 4th of July and see the fireworks there. He still raves about the sight today.
    You show so many beautiful things, I don't even know where to start. Let's just start with the adorable cats - what beauties! I am so happy that they found one of the best homes in the world with your son #1. Your description of the Genghis Khan exhibition made me think of the film "Night at the Museum" :-D
    Speaking of movies: ELVIS! WOWWOWWOW! I've seen the film TWICE and will definitely see it more often. I really like Tom Hanks in every role, but Austin Butler is TOP! What painstaking preparation for this role, two years... I hope he wins the Oscar!
    Yummie - Chimney Cakes are called tree trunk cakes here in Austria. I think they are the same - they sell them on markets, they are made from yeast dough and there are different toppings for them. I think they originally come from Eastern Europe, hence the name "Transylvanian Treats".
    I'm glad you had such a great time in Idaho Falls with your family!
    As promised, I have two posts for you today.
    Have a happy week!
    PS: I would love this VW bus too! <3

  16. Lovely time touring. Never heard of chimney cakes, hope they tasted good.

  17. The sky pics really are spectacular and you sure know how to get every bit of fun out of life and holidays! Enjoy your week and thanks for Mosaic Monday!

  18. Summer is winding down. Soon the kids will be back in school. You've been quite busy and it has been a pleasure to read about your adventures.

  19. Haha ... I am slightly exhausted on your behalf from your busy but delightful visit with your son. A man who loves kittens has got to be a gem. You raised him well. :)

    Saw the movie and didn't recognize Tom Hanks until the credits rolled. What a wide-ranging actor! I think he had fun playing a "bad" guy but the make-up artist deserves a heap of credit, too.

  20. What a wonderful and eventful 4th of July weekend. You really did take so much in! Those cakes are so interesting!! Glad you could go and enjoy the weekend with your son!

  21. Thank you fir writung your blog to share your experiences. Chimney cake looks delicious and of course listening to the marching band is always amazing Angie. #1 Son time is the best time as making memories are the true treasures of life!
    Miss being with you and Mark in Montana but holding you both close in my thoughts.
    Love you both, David.

  22. I would find that exhibit on Gengis Khan fascinating.

    Those cats are much too cute.

  23. I’m glad you had a great visit!

  24. Interesting museum exhibition! Wonderful photos!

  25. Wow you have been busy. This was a fun post to read. I like big cats so I especially enjoyed the photos of them. The museum looked very interesting, your sky shots were gorgeous and those kittens, totally adorable.

  26. Hi Angie. Thank you for the history lesson about Genghis Khan, a historic figure that I previously knew only as a name and a reputation. It seems that as usual with our adopted villains, his bite was not as bad as his bark? Chimney cake? That's a new one on me too.

  27. What a fun weekend. I loved learning from your previous posts about the shared love you and your son have for Museums ... I would certainly never have expected a display about that particular era of history to be as interesting as you found it! Thanks for sharing indoor and outdoor activities (and having had some of that extreme heat here in our corner of the PNW, I am glad for you that your son's apartment came with a pool!)

  28. Looks like you had a great weekend with your son. Idaho Falls is a great place to visit. I love their zoo. They have so much in not that big a space. The museum of Idaho is wonderful also. My dad was involved early in its development and helped build the western town down in the basement. Some of our family stuff is there and he got donations from my mother's family.
    They have really gone professional and have great exhibits like what you saw.
    I've never been to the 4th of July festivities and they sound great.
    Sadly, my parents are gone and I don't have any reason to go to Idaho Falls any more. I really loved their river path system.

  29. you are lucky to have #1 son who enjoys museums, i like them in small doses!! i love zoos!! but i always worry about the animals, should they be in captivity, are they treated well, are they happy. i enjoy seeing animals that i would never have the opportunity to see otherwise!! and you know i always LOVE seeing food, you always share some awesome food!! sounds like a fun weekend!!

  30. Ruby and Daisy are the cutest family members! I'm also shocked it's mid August... This year is flying by!

  31. Lovely post and pictures.
    Sounds like a brilliant visit with your son.

    All the best Jan

  32. Great post Angie, you had a wonderful busy visit with your son. His cats are beautiful.


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