August 15, 2010

VA-PHX-TUS


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I was lucky enough to get the window seat on all my flights.

Some people close their window shades on the airplane, a phenomenon I've never quite understood. Leaving mine open, I caught a glimpse of the Mississippi River on the way to Phoenix and back. I saw barges, cattle, rectangular countryside, sand and the blinking red light on the wing of the plane at night.

Landing into the Phoenix airport (Sky Harbor (awesome)), it amazed me again to see just how much space the city encompasses. It takes about three-and-a-half hours to drive around its circumference. Stretch across a gridded canvas, the city streets reach far enough in the cardinal directions you lose sight of their ends in the haze.

I stayed with a (newly) Phoenician friend my first night and spent all of the next day talking with editors at the city's main newspaper.

Mark came to the city to pick me up and drive me down to Tucson (roughly two hours southeast), but before our trip we polished off some In-n-Out Burger – one of the great pillars of "out West."

It was my very first paid vacation, a concept I still have trouble wrapping my head around. I used the time wisely -- lounging, drinking, watching copious amounts of 30 Rock, eating omelets and desert driving.

I reconnected with editors (of whom I've grown quite fond), met some new ones and talked with Silliman for more than an hour via phone. I made a journalism decision that may greatly alter where my career goes next.

Mark and I left Tucson for Phoenix Friday evening. We listened to Wolf Parade and The Arcade Fire:



There's something about leaving a small place and plopping down in the middle of cosmopolitania. Just the change in pace -- hearing people all around you all the time -- it makes a major difference. I like it a lot.

Phoenix was different this time around. Younger, energized, hotter and more eye-catching. It's a real city, too young for its space and still growing into itself.

I landed in the Shenandoah Valley, back in Virginia, without regrets and ready to get back into my routine. On the drive home I blasted The Hives.

Life is still good.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Mark Porter Perkins said...

The hill on the left in the video, by the way, is Picacho Peak, the site of the westernmost battle of the civil war.

I have an irritating cut on my finger, a nasty sunburn, and, perhaps, more of a paunch to my stomach. Good week.

August 15, 2010 at 9:52 PM 
Blogger Tony Gonzalez said...

The blue windshield sun shield makes sense.

August 17, 2010 at 1:25 AM 

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