Monday, April 13, 2009

Greetings from Phoenix, Arizona, USA!

Wow. How 'bout that war, eh? I'm glad it's finally starting to look like Iraq will succeed, although it seems the self-identifying "Resistance" still has some car bombs and suicide bombings left in them, unfortunately. Hopefully the Iraqi government will get their act together, or will be democratically replaced in a few months by one that will, and the brave Iraqi police and Iraqi army will earn and keep the peace without resorting to the ways and means of the dark days pre- April '03. Insha'allah and godspeed!

With the curtains coming down on IBC in the coming weeks, I thought I'd follow Jeffrey's lead and tell you some about my stomping grounds. I apologize in advance if you are on dialup!

Here is a table comparing Iraq with Arizona:

The greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area, where I live, has about three million people (from memory) compared to Baghdad's roughly five million. Here's a Google Earth comparison of the relative sizes:

Note that the climate in Phoenix closely resembles that in Baghdad, but I'll leave it to you to look it up to compare & contrast. Just know that if it's hot in Baghdad on a particular day, chances are it's just as hot here! Our power is reliable though. The travel discussion that Jeffrey's very interesting Iowa post(s) triggered pulled out an interesting bit by Marxus, the Swedish commenter. He noted (paraphrasing from memory!) that he's driven through Arizona and found it OK, except for the Grand Canyon which truly has to be seen. Yes, absolutely, the Grand Canyon needs to be seen in person by anyone passing through. And I understand that if someone takes the I-40 through Arizona from left to right, or right to left, they will remember it best as time spent getting to somewhere else. If you ventured just a bit off the road, however, you could visit the Petrified Forest National Park or Painted Desert along the way.

The Painted Desert

Arizona actually has a wide range of ecological regions including low desert (of course), high desert, pinon juniper, and ponderosa pine forests. If you went from bottom to top or top to bottom you'd likely cross all these regions. You could also see some very interesting archaelogical sites, like Montezuma's Castle National Monument, a sort of apartment building built in pre-Columbian times, which is just off the road. If you were more adventurous, you could head up to the Four Corners region and buy made-in-China Indian turquoise jewelry in four states at once! This area, too, is peppered with archaelogical sites, including the Mesa Verde National Park (in Colorado) that puts Montezuma's Castle to shame.

Montezuma's Castle

Bet you didn't know Arizona even has an ocean!

///RhusLancia, III and ///RhusLancia, Jr contemplate AZ's ocean

Just kidding. That's the Atlantic. We do have lakes though:

Look Jeffrey! We have farms too!

Friend of ///RhusLancia, Jr. and ///RhusLancia, Jr. pick their pumkins

And streams...

Over the bow


///RhusLancia, Jr in the snow as a wee lad (don't worry- he looks totally different now)

Snakes... !

Friend of ///RhusLancia (l) captured a snake in the dez', displays it to ///RhusLancia,

///RhusLancia, Jr, and Friend of ///RhusLancia, Jr (l to r) this past weekend

... and mud

///RhusLancia at the "Attack MX" Amateur Race, circa 2005. Oldest guy to qualify!

And here's a bunch more moto pics:

Moto Kidz: (l to r) Friend of ///RhusLancia, Jr, ///RhusLancia, Jr, Friend of ///RhusLancia, III, ///RhusLancia, III

Moto Kidz 2: (l to r) ///RhusLancia, III, Friend of ///RhusLancia, Jr, ///RhusLancia, Jr

In the desert after a rain:

///RhusLancia and ///RhusLancia, III

2 Boyz: ///RhusLancia, Jr & ///RhusLancia, III


On the track:

///Rhuslancia, Jr.

And finally, here I am on the news in this terrible TV to cell-phone transfer. I'm on the yellow bike. My friend and I went to the track and weren't gonna let a piddly monsoon stop us from putting some laps in. A news copter, out looking for swamped motorists to film, saw us and filmed a few minutes, and clips got in three evening news programs. I love the commentary. This was four years ago, but I am presently the same age as Dennis ("I'm not old").

So there you go. If any of youse commenters come thru Phoenix and have half a day to spend, I'll hook you up with an experience that'll change your perspective in a way that's much better then you'll get from Jamaiccan Red or whatever.


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