We are traveling the beautiful Southwest, that part of the country where Swede would be so uncomfortable. Everything about it appeals to me – the people, architecture, food and beautiful canyons, washes, and the Sonoran Desert. It’s a different kind of desert, extending from here to Baja and receiving enough rainfall so that there is lush growth of the type of plants that can use sparse water to maximum advantage.
Our first trip down here had to do with baseball, as the Reds moved their spring training facility here. I had only TV-inspired perceptions of desert and heat, and Phoenix is just that. Because there is so much land of so little value, there are miles of nothing but warehouses along the highways of that city. Traffic there is frightful as so many people have to drive such long distances every day. The food, we are told, is California-inspired and lackluster. We have to get out of Phoenix to find TexMex, a delight.
But Arizona is mostly mountainous, and New Mexico is indeed enchanting and beautiful. Right now we are in a Super 8 in Sedona, a wealthy artsy place in a spectacular red rock setting. Our waiter last night was a young Russian man from the Caucuses. We only got part of his story, but he came here as part of a group from New York City, fell in love with the area, and like Ed Abbey, came back as soon as possible. (We were guessing his nationality, and I guessed Russian, but when I asked him I said Czech, so as to avoid the Yakoff Schmirnoff comparison, which was why I guessed Russian.)
Anyway, we’ll be watching baseball with Bozeman friends, hiking the desert. Eventually, with luck and long life, I’ll be wearing white pants, polo shirt, yellow belt, and will be driving a golf cart down the streets of Sun City on my way to play shuffleboard (and picking up free oranges, grapefruit and lemons from the boulevards on the way). That is not a stereotype. That is Sun City.