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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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?