The other day, I bought one of those Frommer’s travel guides about Arizona. I’ve been trucking along through the 474 pages, writing little notes about things to do and places to see. The more notes I write, the more I realize—Arizona is FULL of crazy, exciting things to do.Now, I knew this already, because growing up, my parents would take Matt and me along on out-of-this-world family vacations. For instance, I have a very, very vivid memory of my father and me, hiking the Grand Canyon. We decided to do the Bright Angel Trail, down to Indian Garden. Nine miles round-trip in the summer; 3,000 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon. By the end, I thought I was going to die, and I swear, that red sand took about a week to wash off.
Just because I’ve hiked half the national parks in the four corners states does not mean I know anything about the culture. It also doesn’t mean I know anything about Phoenix. I don’t. But since I’ll be there Thursday as a RESIDENT, I’m working on it. There are some negatives…
1) They say the smog in Phoenix is as bad as Los Angeles. And to think, I was hoping the desert air would HELP my horrible sinus problems.
2) Tarantulas and scorpions. If you need me to explain why these are negatives, go try and pet one.
3) The months of May and June have one day of rain each year on average. So I really AM moving to a dry climate.
4) Flash flooding. Arizona is known for crazy, sudden thunderstorms and dangerous flash floods. I don’t know if I can truly call this a negative, though, because I’ve been living in Charleston for almost two years now, and well, I’ve watched waves break on the doorway of my favorite downtown pub.
Having said all this, there are things about Arizona that thrill the heck out of me. Case in point…
1) PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS MARGARITAS! Seriously? Woohoooooo!
2) Saguaros (pronounced sa-hwah-ro). Picture a stereotypical cactus—the kind you used to draw when you were a kid and someone told you to draw a cactus—and you’re picturing a saguaro. These monsters only grow in the Arizona desert, and they can get to be up to fifty feet tall! PLUS they bloom! And they’ll be blooming right around the time I get settled!
3) I can wear cowboy boots and say things like “yee-haw” and no one will think I’m weird…beyond Jake, I guess, but he already knows I’m weird.
4) My favorite Western, Tombstone, was filmed two hours from Phoenix. The actual city—Tombstone—isn’t too far away! I mean, that’s COOL!
5) Sidewalk Egg-Frying Challenge. Contestants use mirrors and other devices and have to fry an egg in the Arizona sun in fifteen minutes. Where else on earth would they have an actual festival to celebrate this kind of bonehead behavior? And no, I wouldn’t miss it.
6) Finally, I’ll be called a “Phoenician.” That’s one syllable less than “Charlestonian.” So I’m saving energy out west.
For me, Arizona is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen on earth. I love the dry heat. I love the red sand. I love the FOOD. Most of all, I love Jake. The countdown has begun. I fly out Thursday. Did I mention packing is a pain in my hide? Excuse me, but I gotta go hang out with my luggage for the next, oh, three days…