I've never been to Arizona really. One trip for a three day Buddhist conference close to ten years ago where I didn't pack appropriately for a long weekend in the mountains, doesn't really count (I also froze my butt off on that trip).
I was quite excited to fly into the Phoenix airport today to meet up with my friends for our annual "gather somewhere in the US" vacation. This time the theme is show Angel the state of Arizona.
We started with lunch by the timeshare in Peoria at V's Tap Room in the middle of a golf course –
but first we had to drive 40 minutes to get there in a large vehicle on a wide freeway surrounded by cactus.
I think this experience was very Arizona. I couldn't help but analyze the billboards and other advertisements we drove by on the way to Peoria – there was some campaign against mattress sellers and middlemen and Rafi is now a personal injury attorney, instead of a singer of kids' songs. Many billboards were only two or three words – very different from the wordy signs of my Pacific Northwest. Then there were the made up names of things and places. Indian School Road and Happy View Lane and made up words for new development communities like – Vistancia – our favorite. I failed to get a photo of the large sign as we drove into the development ocean, but I did catch this road sign.
After lunch we went to the mall to purchase supplies for our evening at the timeshare. I took no photos of the mall it was scary and what you would expect from a gigantic village of big box stores strong together by wide four lane roads, multi-car turn signals and U-turn lanes. What surprised me were the car lots selling just one type of large SUV sprinkled here and there among the big box stores – I've never seen so many Cadillac Escalades in one place before. It is a bit concerning to look upon. So here is a cactus pretending to be a tree – it was a bit of beauty in the middle of a pavement ocean.
Luckily, after our mall adventure, it was time to check into my timeshare resort in – Bluegreen Vacation Club Cibola Vista Resort and Spa. Essentially, a cluster of four-story one and two-bedroom apartments with a pool overlooking the urban sprawl of the Phoenix metro area bound in by mountains.
It does however, have a pretty awesome pool with a three story water slide. As I'm writing this post, swearing at my Google Photos app and confounded by technology, my friends are out there in the rain playing in it right now. This is Jeremy winning at the water slide when it was not raining when the events of this post were actually happening.
There was also amazing sun, resulting in some type of crazy air balloon race or whatnot.
We finished our day with dinner from the provisions from the big box stores and items packed in our suitcases including truffle almonds, ten-year-old cheddar, fancy sparkling wine and more. It was a great start and more exploration of Arizona was to come.