As I mentioned, I was in Phoenix over the weekend. I went because Mark was in town at the Western Psychological Association’s conference, and, well, I had never been to Phoenix.
Mark and I tend to meet only in neutral cities, since he hates L.A. and I despise D.C., thus making it difficult to visit each other at home.
It’s almost suspicious. As Mark put it, “You know, sometimes I feel like we’re having an affair or something.” Well, except for the sex and sneaking around, yes. But since those are the main ingredients of an affair, then no.
But I hadn’t seen him since I dragged him to Atlanta for thanksgiving, and probably wasn’t going to see him in a while, I decided to go to Phoenix to see him.
Well, actually, the bulk of the weekend was spent getting to and from Phoenix. Took thirteen hours to get there, was there for about thirty-six hours.
It’s a better ratio than when Mark and I drove 40 hours round trip to San Antonio to spend about two days there. But still, it was fairly whirlwind.
It would have been a better ratio, had it not taken me over two hours to get out of L.A. It took me as much time to get from work to Palm Springs (100 miles) than from there to Phoenix (250+ miles).
Anyway, I got to Phoenix at about 12:30am, so I didn’t really get to see much scenery on the way there, and basically passed out as soon as i got in.
When I woke up for good around 1pm, I went for a walk around downtown Phoenix, since Mark was actually there for work and had to cover a bunch of sessions.
It was hot as hell, since it was, after all, Phoenix. The whole city is the same sort of sandstone-y color, although design is more of a consideration than it is in L.A., where earthquake protection is paramount.
There’s a nice blend of faux-Mexican and faux-Native American all over Phoenix. Everything there is very new, though. Nothing looks like it’s been there for longer than about 20 years.
After my walk about town (followed by the chugging of enormous amounts of water, because it’s ridiculously dry there), Mark and I drove out to Tempe to see ASU and then to Scottsdale.
There’s a good bit of nice scenery around Phoenix. I maintain my previous opinion that Flagstaff is still the prettiest city in Arizona, but Phoenix ain’t bad.
Plus, Flagstaff doesn’t have a professional baseball stadium with a retractable roof that’s retracted to the tune of an extremely bad 80’s synthesizer song.
The Bob (the Bank One Ballpark) is actually a pretty decent stadium. I will admit, as stupid as retractable roofs sound, they are kind of cool to watch in action.
The game was pretty lame, it was low-scoring and then the Diamondbacks pulled their starting pitcher and the bullpen stunk it up. But it was still really fun.
The fun was seriously enhanced by the fact that they sold ginormous beers at the ballpark. I had one of those hilariously oversized cans of Foster’s and a giant Heineken, and Mark had a pair of large beers as well.
We followed that batch of drinking with…more drinking. We went up in the rotating restaurant atop Mark’s hotel and had maragitas, and then went to the sports bar in the lobby and had more drinks.
You’ve gotta love benders.
Now driving in, I didn’t see much except lit up signs of restaurants along the road. But one of those restaurants was Waffle House. I cannot tell you how exciting this was.
This was the first time I had seen one (and I saw three!) this far west. There are a few in New Mexico, but to see one outside of the former Confederacy is pretty rare.
Waffle House is a grand dispenser of greasy food and sketchy atmosphere, and Mark and I have come to love this fine chain. The background may change, but the dentally challenged waitresses and cooks with massive tattoos all over their arms never do.
So clearly, after a night of drinking, it was time to go grab some Waffle House hash browns (smothered and covered, of course) before I had to drop Mark back at the airport, or as Phoenix calls it, the “Sky Harbor.”
I don’t think they could be more pretntious than that if they tried.
I dropped Mark off and started driving back to LA, passing hundreds and hundreds of cacti that I missed in the dark. The sedona cacti (the ones that look like people) were particularly entertaining, because they made the desert look populated.
Overall it was a very fun trip. I’m still kind of exhausted (as you might have noticed given the rambling and parenthetical nature of this post), but it was definitely worth it.