"To be happy in this world you have to ignore some things." -- Alan Drew, "Shadow Man"

Saturday, June 12, 2021

P as in Phoenix

     We are vaccinated and masked and traveling again. Are you?

     We spent two weeks in South Carolina at the end of April. Last week we flew to Phoenix for a family get-together. We have plans to go to Wisconsin later in the summer. Why? Because we have family in South Carolina, Phoenix and Wisconsin.

     Masks are required in airline terminals and on airplanes. And they're serious about it. I had to keep a mask on for over seven hours each way. I thought that might be a problem. But it really wasn't. I got used to it.

     In Phoenix these days many people have dispensed with masks, especially when they're outside -- or in restaurants. We went to two museums. At the indoor Musical Instrument Museum, a little more than half of the people wore masks. At the outdoor Pioneer Living village, hardly anyone wore a mask.

The view from our condo

     Whenever I think of Phoenix I recall the Nichols and May telephone skit where May is confirming the spelling of the name Kaplan: "K as in knight," she says. "A as in aardvark. P as in pneumonia . . ."

     I guess I understand why Phoenix is pronounced with an F. So is Philadelphia. But there are a lot of things I don't understand about the Sunbelt. The first of them is: why does everyone move here?

Local fauna includes the pig-like Javelina

     The Phoenix area use to be cheap, uncrowded and not quite as hot as it is today. But now Phoenix has gotten expensive. Six of us went to dinner at a restaurant in a strip mall. It was a nice enough restaurant, but the bill was over $400!

     The city is also mobbed. When Glen Campbell recorded "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" the population of the whole area was under a million. Now there are over 5 million people crowded into the Phoenix metro area. And that doesn't even count the tourists.

At Pioneer Village they aren't kidding about the snakes

     We were there for a week. We agreed ahead of time that we'd go swimming in our airbnb pool every day the thermometer hit 100 degrees. We went swimming every day.

     But it's only getting hotter. We saw the sun out every day, with temperatures rising to 104 or 106 degrees. Next week, according to weather.com, the temperature in Phoenix is climbing to 117 degrees. Meanwhile, although we did not see it, the Telegraph fire is burning east of Phoenix, consuming 40,000 acres and counting. 

     But I have to admit, I enjoyed swimming every day. And there's a silver lining to the heat. Our rental complex wasn't very crowded. A lot of people who live there are snowbirds, and they've fled to cooler climes for the time being. 

     Anyway, I was visiting family. They moved to Phoenix in 2002. And they love it.      

The teacher's house circa 1890

     There are a lot of things to do in Phoenix -- from the sports venues to the zoo and the botanical gardens and the art museum and an American Indian museum. 

     We spent most of our time hanging out with family. But we did make those two excursions. The first was to the Musical Instrument Museum which houses a large, well-organized and interactive collection of instruments from around the world. We saw all kinds of strange instruments, listened to lots of different music, and even caught a live bluegrass show.

The sheriff's office included a jail

     We also spent a morning at the nearby Pioneer Living History Museum, located in an area that was once a ranch, a few miles north of the city.

     Some of the buildings are re-creations; others are original buildings that were moved there when the museum opened in 1969. Either way, they were all sitting in the desert, baking under a remorseless sun.

Peek inside a fancy dress shop

     Now we're back home, outside of Philadelphia. It's raining. It's 58 degrees. There's no swimming pool, just a lawn that needs mowing. Maybe I do know why people move to the Sunbelt!

Phoenix today, at the corner of . . . well, any corner


Carole said...

The sunbelt is a lovely place to visit in the winter. I'm guessing those who live in the sunbelt are mystified as to how we in the northeast manage the freezing temperatures and the snow storms during the winter.

Mage said...

But not there. We live in 71 degree comfort, with a pool, and with sunshine. Much better.

Rian said...

Sorry, as much as I can't handle the cold, Phoenix has always been way to hot for me. (Texas in August is bad enough). But I loved your pics and that you were able to visit with family.

Tabor said...

Our weather is moving into the 90s next week I am sure. I will hate it. Here on the East Coast masks are worn by about 30% of the people and the Governor has lifted wearing them outside.

Juhli said...

What a lovely, fun and interesting vacation while visiting family! I find Phoenix too hot for too long myself but as someone who grew up in Illinois and had my share of blizzards and ice storms, I do love S. California weather.

Arkansas Patti said...

I'm a Florida girl and I find those temperatures toooo hot for me, pool or no pool. It is 98 here today and miserable. Phoenix is not on my wish list. Glad you had a good time though.

Suemn said...

Phoenix is too hot for me. At least it's a dry heat, right? I'm not a fan of the humidity my state gets during the summer. I wouldn't mind being a snowbird there during the winter.

SueW said...

You will love Wisconsin in the summer! Although we have had a couple of hot and humid weeks recently, it is usually very comfortable. It is a big state with lots to do, and so many beautiful lakes, waterfalls, state parks, etc. I hope you enjoy it and get lots of family time too.

Olga said...

I have been to Arizona but not to Phoenix. I think the southwest is an beautiful place to visit but I don't know how much travel I will being doing from now on.

Tom said...

Ha ha. Well, I guess not everyone is moving to Phoenix! I found that 85 or 90 was comfortable in the dry heat. Unfortunately, it was usually 100 or 105. But actually, I have been to Phoenix in January. Quite nice.

Anonymous said...

I toyed around with the idea of moving to Phoenix 25 or so years ago, so I spent a couple of weeks there to check it out. No way. I do not love the cold winters in PA but knew I would not tolerate the kind of heat they get in Phoenix. The day I discovered the misting devices on the streets - to mist the pedestrians! - told me all I needed to know. Plus, every single person I entered into conversation with opined that Phoenix was on the path to be the 3rd largest city in the US. New York and Chicago can manage big populations, partly because they have access to plenty of water. LA is bad enough, but the desert Phoenix is not meant to sustain such a large population, not to mention the resorts and golf courses built for that population.

DJan said...

With the ongoing drought, I hope Phoenix will be able to keep everything going as the heat brings a need for more water. I've been to Phoenix but only in the winter, and even then it was often too warm for me.

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm one of those weirdos who can't stand the heat so would be extremely adverse and uncomfortable in Phoenix.

But I am happy for you both with all that swimming and revisiting family and I love that pic of the dress shop and the old clothes. Fascinating.


Celia said...

Sounds like a fun trip, especially getting to see family but Phoenix is not for me. Our winters here in SE WA are not too bad, two or three weeks of some snow and ice but not like the midwest. Summers 80 to 90 mostly with occasional sortees into the 100's. We are lacking rain these days, more each year but we live in a small city, 30,000+ people. This year it heated up unseasonably in this spring and the flower growers here had their cut flower crops bloom early and then wilt. The changing climate may get us yet.

kathy@kathygottberg.com said...

Hi Tom! Nice to hear you are getting out and about with traveling again. And visiting family is always nice. But Phoenix in June??? I live in the California desert but we do whatever we can to GET OUT of the heat this time of year. While the four or five months of summer can be pretty uncomfortable. The seven or eight months or great weather more than makes up for it. Plus, having living in the great Phoenix area for about six months and visited on and off, I vastly prefer "my desert" to it. But just like there are different flavors of ice cream, different places appeal to some and not to others....sounds like another confirmation of "rightsizing" to me :-) ~Kathy

Rita said...

I'm glad your trip went well.

gigi-hawaii said...

Hawaii is a happy compromise. In June, it is 87F during the day and at night it is 74F.

Laurie Stone said...

I guess its all a trade-off. I couldn't take their summers and I know, they couldn't take our CT winters. Still, love my home state and wouldn't trade my beautiful elm trees for palm trees ever.

Rebecca Olkowski said...

Sounds like a fun trip. My parents lived in Phoenix for a while and I remember visiting when it was still over 100 at 10pm at night. That's a little too hot for me but other seasons are wonderful.

Bob Lowry said...

I've spent 36 years in the Phoenix area after being raised and educated back East. Yes, the heat is brutal. But, most of us spend very little time outside at this time of year. Walking the dog very early in the morning and later in the evening are the only real concessions we make.

Even so, I could never go back to cramped. older cities, snow, slush, freezing rain, bitter cold, and humidity. As Rebecca says above, I will put up with 4 months of crazy heat for 8 months of very pleasant living.

Tom said...

Bob -- I'm glad SOMEONE came to the defense of Phoenix, since it obviously has its appeal for many people. There are always trade-offs, and we all manage them differently. I guess there's no perfect climate this side of heaven ... well, maybe Hawaii or San Diego, if you can afford them.

Kay said...

Gosh... I don't know Tom. Swimming pool or no swimming pool, 100+ degrees is not good. I would prefer the 58 degrees by far. The Pioneer Living History Museum looks very interesting. I'd love to see that. My son lived in New Mexico for a few years, but I don't remember the temperatures back then.

You've made me want to see Phoenix again, but probably more like in spring or fall.

Linda Myers said...

We spend half the year in Tucson - Phoenix is too large for me - and the other half in a Seattle suburb. Works for us so far!

Jennifer (UnfoldAndBegin) said...

Over in Florida here. When we moved down here, we moved specifically for the heat. I needed to be warm. But people who grew up in Florida don't want to be warm, they turn the air conditioning so low in buildings that I feel like I'm standing outside in January in Connecticut. They don't want to drive in the snow, but they certainly want to feel like they're in the snow. :0

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Margaret said...

I know people who love Arizona, but I'm not one of them. Although our temperatures hit 3 digits for a couple days recently, I'm not into hot weather. I love being outside and dislike A/C.

Mark said...

I'm a Phoenix native, born there in 1956 and I moved in July 1990. The fact was it simply wasn't home anymore so I left. By then the metro area was three times as big as it was since I was born. The cost of living was getting very high and wages didn't keep up with that but it was the crime that is most notable. Home invasions---even in good or upscale areas are not uncommon. There was an average of 220-240 murders a year. What were once good areas that my classmates lived in back in the 1970's are now rife with gang activity and blight. When I rarely go visit my brother I don't go out at night as it isn't safe anymore. Road rage is very common. Yes it is hotter now and not because of climate change. Every road now is paved (compared to when I was growing up) there is much more traffic and the glass laden buildings contribute to the heat as well. Most of Phoenix's historic building and many old residential houses have long been razed and thus lost forever.