10 days in the desert.

If you know me, 10 days in the desert sounds like I am describing some sort of torture. I have clear, freckled skin and quickly burn. I am known to get a purple face when I am overheated. My burnt skin looks like a hot dog, or a lobster, depending on how burnt it is. Nevertheless, 10 sunny, hot days were spent in the Arizona desert this past June touring parts of Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon and Sedona. While there, I picked up a few tips. 

1. People in Arizona get up really early. Things like botanical gardens open at 7:00 so people can view them before it gets too hot. I love this. I have always been an early bird and love getting up early in the mornings. (for comparison the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens open at 8:00 am and the historic Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia opens at 10:00 am.) 


2. 90 degrees in NC, FL and TN does feel a lot hotter than 90 degrees in AZ. That's why people from the Southeast say, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity."  BUT, 110 is hot even if it is a "dry" heat. Here they should say. "It's not the heat, it's the potential horrible side effects from dehydration." Yay, water!


3. Misters are your best friend. In case you aren't familiar with misters, you can see them on this website, just about every restaurant has one. (I know nothing about the company to endorse, or not endorse them, they just have a bitchin' mister shot.)

Another bitchin' mister shot. I don't know this man, nor did I take the photo, but the restaurant was across the street from my hotel. SCORE! Photo via PicklesDimes on Photobucket.com.

Another bitchin' mister shot. I don't know this man, nor did I take the photo, but the restaurant was across the street from my hotel. SCORE! Photo via PicklesDimes on Photobucket.com.


4. People in AZ are tougher than me. A restaurant hostess will give you the option to sit outside when the weather is in the 100s (and people do it! Even in places WITHOUT misters!). 


5. People take fire safety very seriously. You see signs with the fire threat level everywhere you go. 

A great, out of context diagram via the GoldwaterInstitute.org. 

A great, out of context diagram via the GoldwaterInstitute.org


6. If I lived in Sedona I would make Sci Fi Mars movies everyday. And I am not even the biggest space fan. 

Sedona. Photos via wallcate.com.

Sedona. Photos via wallcate.com.

 

 

 

 

 


7. Arizona takes advantage of FourSquare check-ins more than any other state I have ever been to. I got a check-in special every 1 in 6 check-ins (seven times in 41 check-ins).  


8. As a friend said, the rest of the country hibernates in the winter, in Phoenix they hibernate in the summer. It's so hot a few changes help you get along better:  

  • You never leave the house without your refillable water bottle. 
  • You never leave anything in the car. 
  • You always park in the shade, even if you have to walk a mile to do it. 
  • You always use a sun visor for your parked car. 
  • You look like a dork wearing a hat and wicking clothes, but everyone understands - and does it too. 
  • As mentioned before, people get up early to take advantage of all the amazing hiking and desert. Yay, yay, yay!

9. Phoenix is really well planned. There is urban sprawl, but there is a lot of access to freeways, there are bike lanes (at least in Tempe) and there is a light rail. The grid of the city makes it easy to get around. They also did a great job planning for public art and highway art


10. Arizona is a worthwhile vacation destination (which I kinda wasn't expecting...).

PS: I wrote a little article about some work/life balance tips I learned while touring Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West.  I also took a few photos