Southwest Roadtrip Redux:
Saquaro Ribs and Jet Trail
Ostriches Wait for Us Under Picacho Peak
Excuse Me While I Lick The Sky
Squeezing Mt. Lemmon from the Ashes
Max and Ginny Dance to Nan Vernon's Moon River
Max and Ginny Take the Cake
Baby Ferns and Manzanita Trunk
> Leg 1. Red Meat Wedding
Phoenix to Tucson, November 19-21, 2004
Last time I was in Tucson was when Gore was facing off against Bush and I was staying at
some nondescript hotel where the GOP were also staked out in the lobby, at first solemn and drunk,
but when the tables turned at 3 a.m. they woke me up with their grand old hooting
and hollering. Four years under the Bush regime and here we were, back in the Red state of
Arizona, with another four years to go. It had been even longer for Jessósince we moved out to
New York. Our excuse (like we needed one) was the wedding of our friends Ginny and Max Cannon (of Red Meat fame), and then
to perform the Turkey Dance in New Mexico.
We landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor just because we liked the name. There wasnít much to revisit in Phoenix besides the Long John Silverís where Jess had her first job. Even in a big city like Phoenix, the differences between New York City and most of the rest of the country are readily apparent. Most of the people you come across can be generalized into two categories:
1. The Scared
2. The Scary
And maybe itís just me, but the scary people seem much scarier outside of New York, more volatile and unpredictable. Maybe itís because of the consistent and close contact people have in NY. Take dogs: In NYC, you can reach down and pet any dog because you just assume if itís on the streets of Gotham they wonít bite and are desensitized (for better or worse) to any sudden sounds and surprises; whereas in the rest of the country you donít know what a dog will do because they donít have as much contact with strangers or you donít know what their owners have trained them to doóespecially a pit bull on a tethered leash belonging to some crystal-methed-out trustafarian looking like a Mad Max Road Warrior, wearing dirty black clothes in the desert. Scary. And the other type is the soccer moms and dads who live in fear of these scary people. Regardless of whether they are scared or scary, you will usually find both types driving to WalMart or to the mall in comically big trucks or SUVs.
Scary maybe, but ostriches are funny creatures. They seem to have survived unscathed because of their downright belligerent disposition. A look at their scientific name, Struthio Camelus, is a testament to how they defy categorization. It literally means ďSparrow CamelĒ.
Rooster Cogburn had also added some mangy deer since we we were last here. And to think that this ostrich and deer meat will end up on somebodyís plate... A one-egg omelet large enough to feed a family is hard to pass up though. I settled for an original trucker hat just to support the cause of jolly cowboys throttling ostriches.
We arrived just after sunset and drove around visiting our old haunts and all the different houses we had lived in, and saw the changes they had made to the university. For the most part, its still a sprawl of identical strip malls with a Circle K on every corner. And of course we hit up La Parilla Suiza. We have considered taking a trip to Tucson just for La Parilla Suiza. You just canít even come close to this in NYC, i.e. real Mexican food. You also canít come close to the beauts hanging out at the bar while we were waiting for our table, letting loose and singing along to zombie Mariachis doing La Bamba over and over. One guy with a mullet was going so nuts that food and/or beverage was coming out of his mouth while he was singing, or rather, grunting like a crazed caveman that had discovered tequila for the first time at the age of 35. We were also watching the Pistons-Pacers game up until a minute before the infamous brawl started, when we were called to our table.
Queso fundido and grilled green onions,
guacamole and three different salsas as an appetizer. I had enchiladas suizas with charro beans. Unbelievable. To prep her stomach for thanksgiving, Jess even broke our meat fast to eat chicken pechuga (the last time we ate
land dwelling meat was Beef in the Bush of Costa
Rica). And the prices are jaw-dropping compared to NY standardsójust a Margarita will run you $10 in NYC, but we got a Margarita, Negra Modelo and bowl of guacamole and chips for $10! And the guacamole is better than the guac at Rosaís Mexicana, which will run you $28 for the same portion. We couldnít help ourselves
and over-indulged. The rest of the night we spent recovering at the Radisson in a hot tub under stars you can actually see, and then in a room that
was three times as big as our NY apartment.
Crashed at a Motel 6 and watched the Wizard of Oz.
Green Slabs, Mt. Lemmon Highway
Cholla, Scaffold and Dead Plane