A report to illustrate what I 'ave done on my day orf.
After flying in direct from Laaandun veal-crate-class on BA289 I needed to stretch my legs. If only to regain feeling in them.
So awake at 05.30 – cheers to you Mister Jetlag – I start my day. First stop the nearby pharmacy to scoop up some toiletries – avoiding the discount liquor aisles (not the same as a UK chemist eh?) – and then… and then I get sidetracked into the outdoor Breakfast Club. They have a tempting menu as you will see in the following photo.
Opting to avoid cocktails at 07.00 I choose a Southwestern Classic: Huevos con Masa
Which is obviously “Fried eggs on chipotle cornbread covered in chorizo queso with pico de gallo, potatoes o’brien and fresh fruit.” And a pint – it turns out – of fresh squeezed grapefruit. I make an “excellent” choice according to the young man tasked with relieving me of money. (He is quite the traveller I learn although his sole experience of London was being held for 40 hours at Heathrow and then deported back to the US because he’d overstayed a student visa in Dublin by months. I applaud his mindset because that meant a) free trip home and b) free booze on the flight!)
Releate-to-bursting I roll out of the restaurant and resolve to up the calorie burning ante.
This involves borrowing a hotel bicycle and heading east on Washington.
After pedaling for ‘kin miles into a warm headwind I pull over. The US is big, try to remember that Beer. I am at a tram stop and note they take bicycles. Minutes later I’m being whisked along in air conditioned comfort. [I can edit this short-cut-laziness out of any later blog I think.] Presently I arrive even further out of town and pedal up to Papago Park where there is an enormous rock with a hole in it. I note with pride I am the only visitor to arrive by bicycle. [Shhh.] I spend a couple of hours tooling around the cacti and sweating profusely.
Stopping off at a non-descript cafe I sit outside and am entranced by a humming bird feeding off the shrubbery. This is only slightly spoilt by a chap pleading for some change. In my most disgusted Tony ‘ancock being mock posh I inform that “I’m awfully sorry sirah” because I am cash free.
The trip back is remarkably swift. [Bikes on trams: genius!] The landscape is industrial-urban American: Miles of gridiron, low rise industrial units under a desert sky. Punctuated by occasional outcrops of red amalgamated sandstone. Although when Google auto enhances an image, the colours are lost…
Now back downtown I ditch ma whip and have a shower to wash away some Americanisms that have crept in. Then it’s off to the historic district. In Phoenix this means a few 1920s buildings… Splendid architecture enjoyed in 30C dry desert heat. Although it’s purely thirsty work I find the nagging urge to eat. The Detroit Coney Grill beckons and I order the daily special. With cheese obvs.
There are some really well kept and well designed urban spaces in Phoenix. They are also notable for apparently being claimed by down-and-outs who are sprawled around on the manicured grass. Not the look the planners were going for I’d warrant. I am accosted by the same man from earlier asking for change. Small world! (We are near a downtown tram stop.) We’re 10 miles different and I’ve changed tee shirt. I fend him – sensitively I hope – off with a smiling “you already asked me that.” I wonder if in his addled mind he’s wondering how many Brits he’s asked for change today.
Admiring the Westward Ho – no exclamation mark – I cross the street into the State University of Arizona where a wee A board announces coffee on the 6th floor. So to perk myself up a Macchiato it is.
(Side note a Macchiato in Macedonia is a wee latte-cum-cappucino whereas it should really be an espresso with a smudge of milk.) No sir, no china cups. Shame. (I really have nailed first world problems here eh?)
And then it’s back to the hotel where an outdoor swim and – if I can find time a – snooze are in order before we meet for work at 19.00. Without a car, Phoenix is a big place. (Okay, with a car it’s big too: 6th largest urban sprawl in the USA.) And also Mondays are when stuff is closed. Although I might just be lazy?! Yes, let’s be idle: I can spend the time watching window cleaners from my room instead…..