25 February, 2009

Just like in the movies

I have never been to the Southwest before. It's one of the few parts of the country that I hadn't seen. And by "Southwest" I mean Texas, New Mexico, Arizona. I do not mean Southern California (where I have been before). There are many things there that are truly otherworldly. The most notable of these, of course, is the cactus.

The most amazing thing was the sheer size of these things. I always imagined cactus, from movies and cartoons, to be in the range of 6-12 feet in height. but many that we saw were seemingly between 20 and 30 feet tall. And here's another interesting factus about the cactus. Apparently if a cactus has side branches of any kind, it is likely to be upwards of 75 years of age. So one might imagine that the cactus in the photo above would be quite a bit older than that.

There were many types of cacti, and I did not manage to adequately catalog all of them. But here's one more that I thought was really cool:

Fortunately, I managed to not sit or lay on any of these prickly little creatures. The weather in Tucson was not as wonderful as it supposedly usually is at this time of year, but it was still a good 35-40 degrees warmer than sunny Seattle. There was definitely a beauty and calmness here that is absent from "the big city", and as a small city, Tucson had a fair amount of character. There was a decent music store called Chicago Music that I managed to pass at least 2x a day, every day of the trip. And there was some decent food to be had. Tucson felt, at least in the parts I visited, like it had a funky hip character, not entirely unlike Seattle. People seemed generally kind. And they seemed reasonably happy, too. I suppose people would seem happy if it is never cold and hardly ever rains.

A couple more photos for you:

It was quite a breathtaking experience. And I would venture to guess I will return soon.

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