The local time in Phoenix is one hour earlier that Chicago. We landed 40 minutes early. Last year I loaded 30 minutes early. I'm beginning to think it's me. If this scenario continues I may, one day, land before I take off. I've noticed on previous visits the difference between my personal tolerance to heat and cold and that exhibited by the year round residents of a desert clime. Hence I found myself barechested in the backyard attempting to make my skin somewhat less opaque while the locals are donning sweatshirts, it being a mere 72 degrees outside.
The remainder of the day passes in a pleasant, relaxed, uneventful fashion. We take the dog to the dog park. Fenced areas divide the dogs by size and level of mischief. The dog meets and plays with her dog friends while we eye a deeply tanned, powerful looking, "hot in a serial killer sort of way" to quote my host, young man attempting to excert control over the three large white animals which accompany him, with mixed levels of success. We stroll through the desert garden adjacent to the canine playground discussing the unique architectural detail of river rocks encased in steel mesh which form terrace retaining walls, as well as buttresses and a portion of the facade of the public building in the space. This was followed by a vet visit where the dog stoically endured a shot and probing that less well behaved animals, as well as some humans, might have viewed as somewhat personal and invasive.
Dinner involved "Bloody Mary Margaritas". Grand Manier was added to the usual tequila based beverage; and excellent mexican food was served by a waiter so impossibly young that I can scarcely recall ever being that age. The restaurant, called "The Mission", is next door to a church, with mission inspired architecture, built in 1935. It is located in "Old Scottsdale", a touristy, imagined recreation of the old west. Shops vending western wear and turquoise jewelry line the street which is crisscrossed overhead by strands of tiny white lights. The area teeters on the edge of kitsch, the oversized concrete cowboy boot adorning one corner threatening to throw it headlong into that abyss at any moment.
On the return drive home we pass through an area still held in the hands of a native tribe with the requisite tribal casino resorts. One, the "Talking Stick Resort", led me to remark, "Well, as long as their ancient traditions are remembered and treated with respect!"