Did you ever knooooowww that you're my heeeerrroooooo!!

Sorry about that...

I knew the moment I saw the cactus that James Lileks must be visiting family in Phoenix. I'm continuously puzzled how people get more bent out of shape seeing their first cactus than seeing the Grand Canyon. Cholla, Prickly Pear, Barrel, those are a dime a dozen, but the Saguaro draws tourists like a magnet. The best place to see them is, of course, the Desert Botanical Garden. The last time I was there was in fourth grade and they had a stand of saguaros that were in the 40 to 50 foot range. Whether they are still there I couldn't say. It takes hundreds of years for them to get that big, and they have to avoid the dreaded *snicker* haboob.

They sell those little potted cacti, but I'd be curious to see whether they'd let anyone on a plane with one.

    Phoenix is sprawl on a scale I’ve never seen elsewhere, but it’s such lovely sprawl, such new fresh unspoiled sprawl. Broad roads, muted signage. One or two hues, at most, by law. All tiled roofs. All so low.

This is definetly the case. We passed up LA in surface area a while ago and we're projected to pass up Philly in the list of the largest cities in the US some time this year. This lead to a little bit of whining and griping on Philly's part. Now if only the local paper kept better archives, I could link all the boohooing that happened on this end.

As far as the "two hues" and all tile roofs, I'd advise caution on praising the concept in strange company. I don't know how prevalent HOA's are back in Minnesota, but out here any and every knew housing track has a HOA and CCNR's ready to go into effect when the first family moves in. You can't paint your house or change your landscaping without HOA approval. If you forget to bring your garbage can in, you get fined. Basketball hoop in the driveway? Only if you're lucky. It's a total clusterfarg of dualing neighborhood Hitler-wannabes trying to one up each other on the "how tight is my sphincter" scale.

The prinicpal is sound. It's the ease of abuse that has yet to be hammered out.

Oh and if you're looking for quaint little Mexican food joints [shameless pimping because I know the family], I'd reccomend Casa Reynoso in Tempe. The place has been around for a while and John McCain drops in there (or at least he used to) from time to time (they have photographic evidence).[/pimping]


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