Visiting Arizona, Part I: Ashes to Ashes

In an attempt to escape the claws of winter that keep scratching St Louis, Mrs Missouri and I decided to take a break and reside in Arizona for a week. Ironically enough, we left the first promising spring day, and returned in a blistering cold and road conditions only suited for one horse open sleighs (our taxi slid down the road almost horizontally, while another car came sliding by a little faster, almost hitting a police officer alongside the road). Because I married the most optimistic travel planner in the world, I will spread out the findings over a few posts, not in the least because Arizona has so much to offer.

80% of that being rattlesnakes.

Mostly rattlesnakes, though.

The first thing I noticed about Phoenix, was the amount of space available. The roads are neat and wide, because there is only one climate, and they aren’t based on Indian trails (I mean native Americans, but as they advertise their merchandise as ‘Indian artifacts’, I’ll stick to a respectful non-PC option), as I sometimes suspect St Louis highways to be. In fact, Phoenix seems built on the idea that in the desert, there is indeed plenty of space for everyone. Its city parks are half a mountain range, and I’m pretty sure nobody has ever died of dehydration in a St Louis city park, whereas I expected to see scores of skeletons along the hiking trails we visited. Risen from a ground scorched by an ever present sun, the only reasons the city isn’t named after the inventor of the air conditioner (Willis Carrier) is that Carriertown sounds silly and less impressive.

I like St Louis, but naming your city after an awesome fire bird is slightly more impressive than a 13th-century French king.

I like St Louis, but naming your city after an awesome fire bird is slightly more impressive than secretly honoring a  dull, 13th-century French king.

Arizona had more to offer than a spacious city, even tough nothing we encountered on our trips could exist in a small space (some of them even need a ‘grand’ space). In the coming weeks, I’ll take your metaphorical hand and show you the grandeur of a State that made sure to include some natural wonders in its borders to have at least something other than just desert and rattlesnakes. This is the America you always dreamed about: cowboys, cars, air conditioning, and bumper stickers the size of the Grand Canyon.

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6 thoughts on “Visiting Arizona, Part I: Ashes to Ashes

  1. Pingback: Visiting Arizona, Part I: Ashes to Ashes | visitingmissouri | 23599 N High Dunes Dr

  2. Having been brought up by a fanatical fan of John Wayne Westerns (my dad), I picture Arizona filled to the brim with those bizarre cactus things that are taller than basketball players and supposedly juicer than an orange inside. I imagine those cacti things to front the entrances of supermarkets and town halls, children’s playgrounds and dentists’ surgeries. Naturally, those dry bushels of prairie grass are hurtling down the streets, entering households through open windows, driven there by an ever blowing desert wind, knocking over small children, grannies, cats and dogs along the way.

    I suspect that the ordinary Arizona household keeps one of those giant cactus things as pets, with Dad using it as a coat stand, hanging his hat there every evening and Mum using its bristles to clean her hairbrush every morning…oh, the power of Hollywood on a vulnerable child’s mind is frightening:)

    • You are right about the cacti, they are absolutely everywhere. The tumble weed is not in urban areas, though, and even when I’ve seen it, there was no tumbling. And I think the cacti are a protected species, and I would imagine that includes protecting them from usage as furniture.

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