SubscribeStar Saturday: Christmas Break Travels, Part IV: Scottsdale and The Whale (2022)

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After our trip to Grand Canyon National Park and Prescott, my brother and I indulged in a more leisurely start to our second day in Arizona.  His idea of leisure is a ten-mile run; while he did that, I walked further into downtown Phoenix to pick up some sundries at a local CVS.

Downtown Phoenix feels a great deal like most mid-major American cities:  some tall buildings, often with scaffolding; a few historic sites; and a general sense that public transportation is the preferred method of travel, even if everyone still drives.  There was also an ubiquitous homeless population, which makes sense:  why spend your winters in North Dakota if you don’t have shelter?

Like most mid-major American cities, Phoenix also had its commercialized outdoor shopping mall area, with the kinds of higher-end chain stores that one tends to see in more tourist-y areas.  This zone held the CVS, but it felt like a scaled-down version of City Walk at Universal Studios.  I picked up our vittles and stopped in at Bad Ass Coffee Company of Hawaii, which has apparently colonized the mainland, and picked up a beautiful souvenir tin for my mom (it did not featuring a braying jackass, but rather a woman in a sun hat tending to her coffee plants).

Resupplied and refreshed from our morning, we set out for Scottsdale, the tony, artistic suburb of Phoenix, for more Southwestern culture.

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7 thoughts on “SubscribeStar Saturday: Christmas Break Travels, Part IV: Scottsdale and The Whale (2022)

  1. It’d be great to read about your travels during the week rather on the behind the paywall Saturday section. I’ve very much enjoyed seeing America through your eyes – the Georgia back road article remains my favourite piece – and being an avid consumer of knowledge, would love to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m fascinated that, from a tourist’s perspective, public transportation seems to be the preferred method of travel! In my 35 years in Phoenix, I’ve never used public transportation. The system has always been terribly unreliable, dreadfully hot in the dead of summer (with buses always breaking down), and we’re always rated worst in the nation for pedestrian safety. I haven’t been downtown in a few years, so I wonder if things are changing… I’m so intrigued.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, let me clarify, E: I don’t think most residents of Phoenix use public transportation. I imagine it’s a lot like here in the South(east): public transport is there, and some people use it, but you pretty much have to have a car to get around.

      What I was trying to capture was that feeling of the ubiquitous *presence* of public transportation medium-large cities (like Phoenix or Atlanta, etc.) have. The bussed and trains and trollies and such might be empty for the most part, but they’re part of the backdrop of urban life regardless.

      I doubt many people take public transit in Charlotte, North Carolina, but I’m sure the city uses it to advertise its essential, modern urbanism, if that makes sense. That’s a lot of “hey, look, we’re a big city!” with public transportation.

      Haha, I hope that word salad makes sense. I loved your State, by the way. It’s beautiful. But after reading your blog, I’m hoping I haven’t breathed in any deadly desert spores. Gulp! Your own ordeals with that sound terrible.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, that makes sense! The city has spent a boatload on public transport over the last few decades, but the car-based infrastructure was already so well-establishing, that it never really captured the attention of the general public.

        I have a love-hate relationship with Phoenix, but the state is great… drive a few hours and you’re out of the desert and in an entirely different world. Lots of diversity and, I suspect, very different than most part of the country.

        Oof, valley fever is no joke! The more I learn, the more I suspect I was somehow immunocompromised because it’s typically just babies and elderly that have rough cases. Fingers crossed you’re all goo!

        Liked by 1 person

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