Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Snowing In Scottsdale!

If it’s Wednesday it must be…”Where are we Pat?”
That’s the trouble when need to travel 2000-odd miles in a limited time; you are often not sure where you exactly are, so you can probably guess we have touched down on the US mainland and are currently in cowboy country in Scottsdale, Arizona, staying with our pal Vaughn, surrounded by cactus and desert.
Our route here, since I last wrote, has been varied and very interesting. After a week on the beautiful island of Maui we flew the 30-minutes to Honolulu and to its beach resort neighbour, Waikiki. But not before I had got my ukulele which I am really pleased with.
Pat & Monica enjoy the sunset on Maui

"I'm Leaning On A Lampost......"

Waikiki  was much more full on tourism with loads of Japanese and Chinese in evidence. That was a bit weird when, on entering the Pearl Island Commemorative site, crowds of Japanese were taking various tours. I wonder how they perceive it?
Despite it’s “in your face” reputation, I rather liked Waikiki. The beaches were crowded but everywhere is beautifully kept and very clean with flaming Wiki torches on every corner. 

Pat on the beach at Waikiki

Statue of "Duke", the man who popularised surfing in Waikiki

We only had two days there so we hired a car for the second day and drove right around the island. On the north shore the big breakers attract the surfing crowd but there was little surfing going on though the breakers were very impressive.

Pat in the Pearl Harbour site. The sunken Arizona is in the background

From Honolulu it was a five-hour flight with American to LA. A note to all travellers thinking of flying with American. If you travel tourist class they will not feed you. We did not know this and wondered why the passengers around us had bags of food with them. They were generous with the drinks though.
Got a good view of the Hollywood sign as we banked to land at LAX.
The man at Avis persuaded us to upgrade to a Ford C Max Hybrid. I had never driven a hybrid before. It’s quite good fun and the car has loads of buttons and electrickery to play with. Satellite radio and the thing that parks your car for you, hands free, though I am quite nervous about trying it out.  Anyway, it’s very comfortable, which it needs to be. From LA we took the coast road down to San Diego where we had two nights in a really nice hotel at Luna Point. On Sunday I insisted we drove over to Coronado Island so I could see the hotel on the cover of the Eagles classic album “Hotel California”. The beach in front of the hotel was also used in “Some Like It Hot” and Rick Moranis danced the Merengue on the deck there in the film “My Blue Heaven”.

Roger welcomes you to "Hotel California". What a lovely place!!!

On Monday we drove over into Arizona through the mountains and parked our car on the Mexican border for the night. From there we crossed the border by foot and took the short walk into San Luis Del Rio Colorado where Alex put us up for the night. The town was far more Mexican than we had thought. Alex was a great host and took us to Munchies, a local restaurant where we ate a plate of very spicy shrimps, washed down with a huge glass of Modelo dark beer – very good it was too. Getting into Mexico was no problem – getting back took us around 45 minutes going through US immigration.

Pat with Alex, our Couch Surfing friend down Mexico way

Yesterday we arrived in Scottsdale, on the outskirts of Phoenix, in the middle of the desert. Here we are with one of our oldest pals, Vaughan, who lives in Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan, and has this as a holiday home to get away from the freezing conditions they experience up there. He reminded us on arrival that we had known each other for 43 years. It rarely rains around here. I think it last rained before Christmas abut today it snowed – unbelievable and the traffic couldn’t cope. We saw two weather-related car smashes today, just driving around.
Vaughn is a great host and we are having a great time. He is also Captain of the Maricopa County Police,  which comes in very handy, if you get what I mean.

Vaughn flashes his law enforcement badge. I tried to get the cactus growing out of his head, but the bugger moved

Unbelievable... Snow in Arizona

Route 66 beckons this weekend and we staying with three other members of the Couchsurfing community along the way.

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