A trip into downtown Phoenix

Last Tuesday, Eoin and I took our first trip into downtown Phoenix. I’ve decided that Chandler is to Phoenix as Bray is to Dublin: a town (well, city) in its own right but Phoenix  is where the action is. We drove to Tempe, which is another town five minutes down the road, parked the car and bought tickets for the Metro Light Rail. (Note: this train is super-cheap. A one ride ticket (it doesn’t matter how long) is only $1.25. Bargainous. And an all day pass is a mere $3.50. Take that, LUAS. )

Unfortunately our plan for the day was slightly scuppered by an inconsiderate gas leak, which caused us to run 20 minutes late. To ease the trauma, we popped into a cafe place called Tom’s Tavern to chow down before we hit the Arizona Science Centre. And guess what? Our waiter turned out to be a Belmullet man (his words) called Sean, who has been living here for seven years. What are the chances? After we’d finished up, and fended off his offer to buy us pints, we wandered down to the Science Centre which is through a little spot called Heritage Square that I’ll definitely come back to.

The Science Centre was great, if a little, er, geared towards children. The first exhibit we saw is a new one called RACE, which was really interesting. It explored the idea that “race” is not really a thing, and how we look, and the colour of our skin is all down to how close to the equator our ancestors lived. Makes sense, eh? They had some headshots of various different people and I was not surprised to see that most of them were of Irish descent. What can I say? We get around.

After that we had planned to have a snack in the Compass restaurant, which is one of those revolving ones but alas, it was closed. After getting stuck in the elevator for a couple of tense minutes, we wandered around and took in some sights instead. One place I really liked, and definitely want to see properly, is the Orpheum Theatre. There is a tour on the 23rd that I have just put into my calendar.

We then did the obligatory oohing and aahing over all the tall buildings (it’s in the Tourist’s Handbook, okay?) before heading back to the homestead.

My (future) new home – Arizona

Image courtesy of http://www.latina.com

For the first 18 months of the American assignment we will be living in or around Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve been to America a few times (New York when I was 20, Las Vegas two years ago and again in April of this year) but I’ve never stayed for longer than two weeks. Hence, I’m excited. Knowing nothing about Phoenix (apart from the fact Bella is from there), I turned to my dear friend Wiki and made some exciting discoveries:

  1. Phoenix is hot. In fact, along with Baghdad, it’s one of the hottest inhabited places in the world. It’s dry, deserty and dusty, and the average summer temperature is around 40C. Scorchio, scorchio, scorchio.
  2. Most condos in Phoenix have community pools. See above.
  3. Arizona has some fun border states, namely California (LA! Beach!), Nevada (Vegas!), Utah (mormons!), New Mexico (don’t know anything about it, sorry) and Mexico (MEXICO!).
  4. Everyone drives over there. This is not a problem for most 28-year-olds but I learned to drive six years ago and promptly forgot everything immediately. I’m back behind the wheel now but I only have a Learner Permit and I don’t think I’ll be close to passing my test by October. This worries me. Eoin maintains there are  no footpaths or public transport in Phoenix. Will I be house bound?
  5. It’s cheap. I’ve looked at some condos online (how could I not?) and rent seems to be about half what we’re paying for our one bed in Stoneybatter. Petrol, I mean, gas, is waaaay cheaper too. This pleases me muchly.
  6. The state of Arizona has the death penalty.

And that’s the extent of what I know about Arizona. The Massive Multinational Company That Cannot Be Named where Eoin will be working is actually in Chandler, around 30 minutes outside Phoenix. We might be living there, or in two other nearby cities, Mesa or Tempe. It really doesn’t make any difference to me, I just can’t wait to find out for sure.