Summer Time in the City

It’s Tuesday in Phoenix!

It’s also the first day of August!

Do you know what those things mean? They mean that it’s still hot as hell in Phoenix! NEWS FLASH, uhh, not!

After an eventful day of traveling and site seeing, I slept like the dead last night. My body is also on Houston time, two hours ahead. So, at around 7:30 pm, I was thinking, “Gosh, when will the sun go down?!”

Oh, I forgot to write about the expensive, but tasty, dinner I had last night. I had a turkey burger from the hotel restaurant, which is called “The Blue Hound.” It’s some kind of chic and swank place; I know this because I looked at the full menu online. My guilty pleasure of staying in a hotel room is ROOM SERVICE. I know that it is overpriced, but how often do I get to ring some friendly person up and they have the food delivered to my bedroom? Then, I can eat the food, in the bed, knowing that the bed will be re-made in the morning, by someone else? There’s simply nothing like room service.

Here’s a photo of the delicious food from last night:

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I had a turkey burger with fries, unsweetened iced tea, free tap water (the water in the background in the bottle cost $8, which is why I am celebrating the free water in the glass), and a strawberry trifle. The strawberry trifle was surprisingly good, but not as surprisingly good as the turkey burger. It was flavorful and beautifully presented.

The other thing I failed to mention last night was this creepy bird sculpture. It is about the size of a real bird, and it creeped me out when I first entered the room yesterday. It is some kind of creepy green bird sculpture thing, covered in felt or some such foolishness. This bird is my least part of the room. I hate this bird more than I dislike the Phoenix temperatures.

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This morning, I ordered room service again for breakfast because I was starving. I also had to order some toothpaste, since I forgot mine at home. Both came and were quite satisfactory.

I am not feeling well again today, though, and that’s kind of a bummer. Also, several of the things I wanted to visit, like the Frank Lloyd Wright house Taliesen West, is closed for the summer. I understand why things would be closed during the summer here; the heat is brutal. So, I decided to just go out for a few hours, even though I am not feeling so great.

I first went to Target for some supplies to help with my current ailment.

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Lucky for me, I stumbled upon a BRAND NEW TARGET! Have you ever been into a brand new Target? I haven’t and Target is basically the best place on Earth in my opinion. So, for a Target to be both TARGET and NEW, was basically the best thing ever!

I did not take photos inside the store because I didn’t want to be *that* obnoxious, but it is small and the ceilings are lower than what I am used to. Whenever I travel, it’s always fun to compare things to how things are in Houston, where I live. The saying “everything’s bigger in Texas” is true in lots of cases. This Target was almost what I’d describe as “quaint” when compared to the smallest Target that I know of in Houston. It had all of the essentials I needed for my ailment and a Starbucks, which of course I visited. A drink from Starbucks can cure almost any ailment, right?

When I left the Target, I casually wondered where all the homeless people are. Since it is so hot here, I wondered if there were special places for them to sleep. Where I live in Houston, it is very, very common to see homeless or transient people, so for them to be missing from the “urban landscape” (excuse me if that’s offensive, I have no idea how better to say what I am trying to say) is strange and noticeable for me.

Just as I was leaving the Target, I heard a lot of loud yelling and fussing. I then saw a man, dressed a little shabbily, talking and fussing very loudly with himself. He was making threatening gestures to people as they walked by, but nothing aggressive enough for people to run or even seem really upset by it. Perhaps he’s well known in that area; perhaps it’s just too damn hot to even be afraid of anything. What are you going to do? RUN? In this heat? Hell nall.

That experienced reminded me of home, all of the countless transient or others in need who I see every day. Perhaps some of them need mental health services, perhaps sometimes they’re inebriated. Either way, the guy outside of Target still reminded me of home.

After the Target visit, I decided to go to the Heard Museum. It had very high ratings on YELP and other internet places. On the way there, I took some more photos of the roads. I am obsessed with the roads here and it is fun to compare them to roads in Houston. First, every road that I have driven on has been smooth and pot hole free! That’s a big change from driving on the roads in Houston!

Also, all of the roads I have experienced have such nice trees and other plants planted alongside. I love all of the beautiful angles and photo opportunities the greenery gives as you’re driving along. IMG_6418IMG_6426IMG_6428

 

I also found a cactus and two people riding their bikes, even in this crazy heat!

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I made it to the Heard Museum. It is an art museum and they had a big Frida Kahlo exhibit going on.

Sorry to spoil it here for you, but I did not go inside and see the exhibit. I began to feel even less well while I was there, so I decided to tough it through long enough to go into the shops, get souvenirs for family, and then head out. However, I have to say that there is so much beautiful artwork on the grounds of the museum; I do still feel like I had a great experience there.

Here are some photos I took on the grounds of the museum. I took these photos with my iPhone camera. See if you can notice any quality difference from these and the ones from yesterday, which I took with my DSLR.

REFLECTION POOL AREA

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OUTDOOR SCULPTURES

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MORE SCULPTURES HONORING THE SERVICE OF NATIVE AMERICANS IN UNITED STATES MILITARY ACTION

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MY FAVORITE SCULPTURE; THIS ONE MADE ME HAPPY FOR SOME REASON

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OTHER VIEWS OF THE BEAUTIFUL MUSEUM GROUNDS

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CURIOUS GREEN TREES (have you ever seen a tree this shade of green? I have not; after I noticed these at the museum, I started to see them EVERYWHERE!)

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THE WALL OF PAPER FLOWERS & ME TAKING A SELFIE IN FRONT OF IT

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THIS CURIOUS, YET DELIGHTFUL, ROUND WALKWAY THAT SWIRLS DOWN INTO THE GROUND

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I would take photos of the items I got at the gift shop, but they’re for family and I don’t want to ruin the surprise for them.

Oh, when I was in the museum gift shop, one of the employees asked me if I was there with a large group of women, there to take a jewelry making class.

I said no, and he said, “Oh, I ask because you like somewhat exotic.” In my signature, very dry sense of humor, I replied, “Ahh, I look somewhat exotic because I am. I am not from here. I’m from a far off land known as Texas.” I didn’t laugh or anything; I was still not feeling well, but I can’t really help myself being a little bit of an ass whenever possible.

The teenagers in line behind me whispered, “Did she say TEXAS?” I am not kidding. All of this really happened to me.

The clerk responded, “Well, you ARE VERY EXOTIC!” He said that and let out a very loud chuckle. Since the gift shop was very small, a part of me wished that I had not amused him quite that much. I regretted making him so amused that he felt he needed to laugh so loudly and speak even louder. But, I guess it was ok. When I got back to the hotel, I looked in the mirror and tried to find what on my face made me seem exotic, since I had not spoken at all when the clerk told me I was “exotic.” I should say that I have seen very few Black folks here, but I have seen a few, so surely my race isn’t what made me look exotic to him. I suppose it’ll remain a mystery.

After leaving the museum, I went to Dairy Queen and ordered a salad and fudge sundae. I sat in the car, not wanting to go in and not wanting to order another $30 meal from room service, and ate the salad. It was surprisingly good, the sundae was a little sub-par, since they gave me peanuts instead of pecans and omitted the whipped cream and the cherry. I felt a little jipped, but decided I would enjoy my paltry sundae as best I could.

I listened to the latest episode of “Levar Burton Reads”, my new favorite podcast. If you’re unfamiliar with Levar Burton and/or podcasts in general, I highly recommend his podcast. It’s like having a friend in the car with you, reading you a great story, and who doesn’t want that?

After that, I drove the sad little rental car back to the hotel and wrote this post. Tonight is the John Mayer concert and I am going to rest up a bit before it starts. I’ll be there whether I feel like $1 million dollars or .01 dollars. I am excited!

Stay tuned tomorrow!

 

Not in Lagos, but It’s Still Hot Here

Hey y’all,

I am back after a hiatus. I don’t know about writing every day again, because I feel like a fraud writing on a blog called “Life in Lagos” when I am not currently in Lagos!

But, I do love this little blog and all of the dedication it took for me to write everyday for several weeks. It might not seem like much, but it was a great exercise in discipline for me.

Today, I arrived in a super hot place, even though it’s not Lagos: it’s Phoenix, Arizona. I am here to go see John Mayer ( YES, AGAIN!) before he ends his stateside tour.

I am already quite fond of Phoenix, even though I don’t know if I could live here. It is super, super hot, but the people have been friendly so far and I love all of the desert plant life that line the streets.

Traveling to other places, whether near or far, stateside or abroad, is my favorite thing to do, hands down. Even the miserable places help me see home in a new light: I always return home with a new understanding of it and the people there, having been to a new place and experienced a new place and the folks in the new place. Also, traveling makes me wish for some things to change about my home, and gives me a renewed appreciation for it as well.

I often think about how very, incredibly, outrageously fortunate I am to travel as much as I have. I know lots of folks have traveled more, but I am thankful for all that I have gotten to see so far in life.

The other great thing about travelling is getting to understand just how limited your own view of the world is. Unfortunately, if you don’t put yourself out there to be uncomfortable, your opinions, views, and life can become a little narrow. It takes some amount of courage, a willingness to get out of your comfort zone, to travel. I think it takes some amount of courage as well, to travel alone.

I am here, in Phoenix, alone. And I’m here to tell you…IT’S NOT SO BAD!

I can’t say that I prefer to travel alone, but I can say that sometimes, it’s quite nice to do things alone. I say that mainly because if you wait around for other people to have the inclination, time, money, or interest to go with you, you can be left waiting around for a long time.

I have a very small, but diverse, group of friends, but many of them have different lives, time commitments, and interests from my own. I am often left wishing for someone to go with me to do stuff, but it’s not always an option. And that’s ok; I am very thankful for the friends I have *and* also thankful that over time, I have grown a little courage to go do things alone, like travelling to Phoenix.

I will also say that once you fly back and forth to a VERY foreign country, like Nigeria, alone, well, flying to Phoenix alone feels like taking a shower alone…almost mundane and certainly not terribly frightening (unless you’re trapped in a shower in a Hitchcock movie, I suppose).

The LAST good thing I will say about doing things alone is you can be as strange and quirky as you’d like! There is no one there to judge you or disagree with what you want to do. When travelling alone, you can take the word “compromise” and throw it from your vocabulary!

With that said, here’s how I spent my first few hours in Phoenix, Arizona. Don’t get too excited because, SPOILER ALERT: I spent the day being kind of random.

After flying from Houston to Phoenix and enduring a PAINFUL two hour, eleven minute flight, filled with the sounds of screaming children of various ages, I picked up my sad little rental car and decided to just start driving.

After I left the airport, I started driving towards some, errm, mountains in the distance. I am not sure if they’re actually considered mountains and I do not know the name of them yet. But, I tried really hard to photograph them.

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It took several, several tries to get the photos shown above. Most of the photos I took will trying to capture the mountains in the distance were of highway signs. Many of those turned out pretty good, though. Good for me to see the good in the mistakes.

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The first thing I found was a Panera Bread.  I had a large salad and two bottles of hydration because, you know, it’s Arizona.

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During the lunch, I found that there was a mall (somewhat) nearby that had a Legoland. I did not want to go inside of the Legoland place (children + summer = no thanks), but I did want to go visit the large, red octopus outside of the Legoland place. When I got there, I discovered that the octopus was made of LEGOS! OMG! I was excited. I shamelessly took these photos, trying to crop out the admiring children that also huddled around the creation. Damn kids, always ruining things! Ha!

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I tried to take lots of photos of the red, Lego octopus because he was SO COOL and so beautifully detailed. Eventually, the shame over took me, and I returned to my car and continued to drive around the mall.

I ended up stopping at the Neiman Marcus Last Call, which is like the place where Neiman Marcus goods go to be picked up by the higher middle class. I say higher middle class because most of the things I picked up still cost $100 or more, but that is still quite affordable, when compared to regular Neiman Marcus prices.

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I did not buy anything at the Last Call store because 1) I did not see anything that I love, 2) I am still affected by the minimalism Netflix documentary that I watched a few days ago, which is why I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t LOVE anything I saw and 3) see above explanation about lots of stuff costing over $100.

It was nice to look around, though! I eventually wandered into the rest of the mall and continued to browse. I left after I developed a head ache (air travel almost always leaves me with some kind of minor ailment).

After that, I drove to the nearest Starbucks. I do not have a photo of my experience there, but I do have a short story to share. The young woman in the car in front of me just SAT THERE when it was her turn to advance into the drive-thru lane. I waited, and waited, and waited, seemingly forever, but probably only about 30 seconds. I figured she was just a flakey, teenage driver, so I pulled around her. I looked at her when I drove around, and yes, she was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. When I pulled in front of her, she began to blow her horn! I realized that the poor, ditzy, and slow moving young lady thought I had intentionally cut her off. Since I am the most wonderful person ever, I actually backed up, pulled out of line, allowed her to go first, and got behind her. I wanted to punch her and flush her phone down a public toilet, but I think someone somewhere would be proud of how I tried to fix my own faux pas, even though I think my actions were justified.

The young man working at Starbucks was so delightful, he made my goof up with the young lady go away, at least until I tasted my iced tea and noticed he put lemonade in it. I did not want lemonade. But, it was cold and cost $5, so I drank it.

Here are a few other photos from the highway, taken while in transit to the hotel.

 

I love all of the desert plants that dot the highways here. It is the desert, but they have done a really lovely job of planting greenery to look at as one meanders down the freeways.

Also, did you know that there are Waffle Houses and Whataburgers in Arizona? I didn’t know that!

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Lastly, I drove past these little houses that were so delightful to me. They’re kind of short and flat, and they remind me of a little house I lived in when I was an undergraduate in Louisiana.

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All right, that is it for today. I still have a couple more days here and I am looking forward to what other random fun I will have here in Phoenix.

Have you ever visited Phoenix? What was your favorite thing about this place?

 

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