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The La Quinta Inn, Back on the Strip, The Executive Inn Continued
Sunday February 4th - It was a cloudless, sunny day today with a high of 74 degrees.

On the strip there are several vacant blocks south of the Pueblo Inn and north of the Discovery Inn where purveyors of all sorts of merchandise congregate to take advantage of all the traffic that's generated by the Show. This area is a lot like a swap meet and you could browse and acquire all kinds of stuff if you were so inclined... kachina dolls, rugs from the Middle East, African carvings and fetishes... If you were a registered voter in Arizona, you could even sign a petition to introduce legislation to have juveniles who used weapons in the course of committing felonies automatically tried as adults. Gang violence is a serious problem in Tucson. I signed.

I did make it back to the Treasures of the Earth tent and bought a small, somewhat larger than finger-sized specimen of the fluorescent halite from the Salton Sea that I'd been pining after. While I was there, I happened to notice something new that appealed to me instantly... $8 Russian-Made Radiation Detectors! I know this is perhaps a bit on the macabre side considering some of the terrible reactor and storage disasters they've had over there... but these were just too cool. I wonder if the Russians take them to the grocery store to check out the food?

They even came with nicad batteries and a charger. I'll be presenting close-up photos and an exclusive Bob's Rock Shop product report and technical analysis on these in the not too distant future. They may have some real utility for detecting hot rocks. The price is certainly right, but I wouldn't hold my breath over warranty service. ;) For eight bucks I just had to have one of these. I don't really care if they work or not.

I walked on down the strip until I reached the Tucson Showplace, just south of 22nd Street. This is the southernmost congregation of dealers on the strip. While there was not as large a number of them here as in the motels (there isn't room), there were plenty of interesting specimens to browse nonetheless.

The ever popular Brazilian amethyst geodes were stacked up around this area in crates. This specimen from Amethysta, Brazil, had some contrasting calcite crystals. It was offered by the V- Rock Shop at $1927.20 less 20%. Just the thing for high-rent decorator projects. I wonder if they'd have let it go for $1398.35?

V- Rock Shop was also selling these slabs of picture sandstone from Arizona. There were some interesting "pictures" in some of them, and they could be had at prices ranging from around $10 to $40. If you were so inclined you could buy a framed piece with clock movement installed (batteries not included) for $36. For the decorator on a budget...

Crystal City had a major presence at Tucson Showplace with three or four large rooms crammed full of Arkansas quartz specimens. There were many aesthetic pieces on this shelf offered at $25 per pound. I selected and purchased several small, sub-fist sized clusters of crystal from it. They're really nice pieces and they didn't break my bank account. Some day I'd like to have a larger piece of Arkansas crystal in my collection.

But probably not this large. No way could you have picked this one up by yourself. Nor would you even want to try. $30,000. What a chunk...

After leaving Tucson Showplace I caught a Show shuttle and returned once again to the Executive Inn to search for some internet acquaintances I had been trying to meet up with. In the lobby I spotted this handsome malachite specimen in the Executive's show office window. There was a sign on it identifying it as "Army of Lovers" and belonging to Van Der Zalm Minerals in Room 181 at the Ramada Inn. Think I'll get busted for putting up pornographic images on the internet over this one?

While cutting through the Executive's Ball Room on my way to the annex, I was captivated by this magnificent Colombian beryl displayed at the Delta Bravo booth, which was shown to me by Helene Rosenberg. Don Bachner, dbachner@emeralds.com, owns Delta Bravo, and Helene was temporarily minding his booth. She was most gracious in facilitating these shots of this magnificent uncut emerald. I was allowed to handle it and my hands tingled where it contacted my skin. There was something about those hexagonal crystals that I found very appealing. And it was only $12,000.

If a really great collection of Colombian emerald specimen images catches your fancy, you'll definitely enjoy a visit to the Delta Bravo Emeralds web site.

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The Sunnywood Collection
Tysons' Fine Minerals
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Wright's Rock Shop

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