Exploring Phoenix

Exploring Phoenix at night. Tonight I took a walk around downtown. A break from the heat? Not really. It was still 102 degrees out at 9:00 PM. Heat has been relentless. But I'm enjoying my visit. Like a lot of desert cities, much of Phoenix is so clean, as if the sun just bakes all the grime away.

I spent a good part of the early evening in Scottsdale in the swimming pool!

I love the cafes of Phoenix. I looked up five of the best in the city on Yelp, and then proceeded to do my writing in each. My favorite as far as a unique location was this one, Jobot Coffee. When I arrived, I thought my GPS got the address wrong- it looks like a residential area. But each of the houses on this little street near downtown is actually a cafe, coffee shop, art  gallery, etc. Jobot is the red one. (I captured the above photo off Google Maps to get a nice view of the whole street).

The place was pretty empty when I was there, but it was an excellent spot to chill and do some writing. 

I sat indoors. Tuesday I think the heat peaked at 110. 

I really liked Jobot and the cool little art-colony type neighborhood it was located in, but my  favorite spot in Phoenix so far, was the more upscale Lux on Central Avenue in the heart of Phoenix. The place had a nice vibe to it, very friendly, welcoming people (which in my experience I've found to be an Arizona trait) and just a great overall place conducive to getting some writing done. 

Speaking of traits in Arizona, as I've been driving around all over Scottsdale and Phoenix, traveling the freeways and rambling around through everyplace from sleepy neighborhoods to packed city streets, I started to ask myself… "What is it? What's wrong with driving here?" Then it hit me. I was caught off balance because I'm so used to the shitty, rude drivers in LA. But here, I swear, people are the most polite drivers anywhere!  I'm used to a city where half the population is either a full blown prima donna, or aspires to be, and their driving is often as obnoxious as their personality types. But there's just something about Phoenix drivers- they're polite to a fault and therefore it's such a pleasant city to drive in.

Walking around downtown tonight, even with lots of traffic, I noticed the near-absence of one nearly omnipresent big city sound: blaring car horns. 

Phoenix: Piestewa Peak

Out and about in Phoenix, AZ today. Did some writing, then I decided to do a little exploring. This led me to Piestewa Peak (formerly known as Squaw Peak) in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve overlooking the city of Phoenix and Scottsdale. 

(Click image for full size view) A panoramic shot from my cellphone, back down toward the parking lot from the hiking trail to the 2400 ft elevation at the top of Piestwea Peak. 

On the horizon, the Phoenix skyline, living up to its name, seeming to rise out of the desert. 

I'm definitely a city-slicker. Armed with my water bottle, I "attempted" if you can call it that, a trek up the 1.6 mile trail to the top of Piestewa Peak where I understand the view is stunning. No, I had no real intention of reaching the peak, none at all, I just wanted to see what I could see along the way. Checked my smartphone: temperature 106 F.  I hiked about 80 yards up the steep trail. Checked my own common sense: Hell no. I've seen enough episodes of Man vs. Wild to know that Me vs. Heatstroke is not a good matchup. The scenery was beautiful. The heat was outrageous. I turned around for the air conditioned comfort of my car. 

I was curious if Phoenix has Fry's Electronics, so I asked my phone to take me to the nearest one. 22 miles and 30 minutes later, I was at Frys in Central Phoenix. All Fry's have different themes. This one is an Aztek temple.


It's been a real shame the way its worked out this year that Leila and I have had different times off, and so have had to take separate vacations, not together with our son, but I'm making the best of mine. I've really needed to unwind and recharge. Exploring and hanging out in Phoenix is very relaxing. I love the laid back feel here, and the desert surroundings. Scottsdale in particular, is immaculate, just a beautiful area. The people are extremely friendly and welcoming. I always have a relaxing time in Arizona.

More later.

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