I’m here! I’m here!
After a slightly dramatic experience at US immigration in Dublin airport (I’ll recount it at a later date. Just know: there was crying) I eventually landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport just as the sun was setting on Monday. A very pretty sight, although considering it was only 5.35pm I though it was a little early for that carry on. Eoin surprised me at baggage claim (yeah, they’ll let just anyone in there) and we hopped in his little silver car and pointed it towards the new gaff, which was about 20 minutes away.
Driving in America is dead exciting. Well, passenging is. I will never be brave enough to drive here. Every road, even the little ones, has three lanes each side. And there are cars and ridiculously tall trucks everywhere. It was all very thrilling, a bit like going on a rollercoaster. A rollercoaster that’s on the wrong side of the tracks.
After checking out the house (it’s actually really nice, I was mean to call it caravanesque) I went off to wash all that recycled air out of my hair while Eoin ordered us some Mexican food for collection (or take out, as they call it over here, the madsers). I wanted shrimp enchiladas and he went for beef chimichangas. We also got a side of nachos since it was such a momentous occasion. Then we went off to get it, via a quick pit stop at a vending machine to pick up a DVD. When we got back to the house and unloaded all the grub there was a slightly stunned silence. Now, I was expecting the portions to be big over here but the amount of food we had was CRAY CRAY. The nachos came in a massive tray; a Christmas turkey could have comfortably swung a cat in it. And our meals were also HUGE. Plus, they gave us three paper bags of nachos and SIX dips. In fairness, we made it an impressive dent in it but it definitely made me aware of how much extra lard I’ll be eating while I’m here.
After my first proper sleep in two and a half weeks, I was raring to go this morning. Eoin had the day off so we hit up Bank of America so I could open an account. All you need to know is that my ATM card has Hello Kitty on it. Brilliant. The lovely bank lady (Rochelle, was her name, and she chewed gum the entire 40 minutes we were there) was very polite and funny, she actually asked us did we hear “about that thing that happened on September 11th a few years ago.” We said it sounded a bit familiar alright, and she replied, kinda surprised, that she wasn’t sure whether anyone outside the US cared about it. Gas!
Still sniggering at poor Rochelle’s expense, we hit up Ikea and bought some stuff for the house (shower curtain, can opener, bin – apartments here come with nothing) so it already feels like home for me.
So far, I love Arizona. It seems a bit like a holiday at the moment, and I expect that might change, but I get a real kick out of Americans. Here are some things I’ve observed about Chandler so far:
- It’s bloody hot here. Today felt like a gorgeous August day in Italy or Spain, but it’s November. Summer is going to be terrifying.
- There are fast food restaurants on every street corner, and about half are Mexican. I’ve been here less than 24 hours and I’ve already seen at least one (two or three, more likely) of the following: McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Baja Fresh, Del Taco, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, In ‘N’ Out, Applebee’s, Arby’s, IHOP, Outback, Dominos and heaps more.
- Shops, restaurants, dentists, doctors: they all look the same. Pale terracotta buildings with red neon signs. Weird.
- People drive everywhere. I’ve seen about six people walking around all day, and two of them were just getting off a bus.
- Looking at really tall palm trees against a bright blue sky makes me happy.
- When you’re in Ikea you could be anywhere in the world. If I ever feel homesick I’m gonna go there and pretend I’m in Ballymun.
- My local radio station 104.7 KISS FM loves Nicki Minaj as much as I do. Yay!