Chandler, Phoenix, Arizona

Trip Start Mar 26, 2008
Trip End Dec 07, 2008

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Where I stayed
Mirka's Place

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Thursday, April 24, 2008

We drove to Chandler and stopped to visit the Sonora Desert Museum on the way.  Not really a museum, more like a zoo with major plant displays, namely cacti.  It was really well done, a great way to see the plants and animals of the region.  Two highlights here were the wolves, and mountain lions.  My favourite was when we saw a wild rattle snake just slithering through the undergrowth at the side of the path.  No glass or fences between us, very cool.  I'm also hoping it is my one and only encounter with a snake. Though this was a great spot it was also scorchingly hot and we began to wilt rapidly.  We headed for old Tucson which is like a Western movie set where heaps of the western movies were shot.  We approached the entrance and then made the call to call it a morning as the heat was really beating down.  We pulled off at Pikacho Point and visited the Plaza which had an amazing array of different local craft, but was also where we unwisely decided to eat lunch (not pretty).  We drove on to Chandler and decided to escape the heat in a local movie theatre where we saw a movie Drillbit Taylor, predictable, but perfect light humour for our current state of exhaustion. Then it was a quick pasta dinner and off to meet our hosts.  Mirka and Tomasz and their kids Zuzanna, 6 and Kuba, 13.  Tomasz was away on business until Friday night, but Mirka and the kids made us feel very at home.  We slept down stairs and the three kids slept on the upstairs landing which was like a rumpus.  We blew up a new electric blow up mattress that we bought and the kids took turns sleeping on that or on the floor.  Chris and I slept downstairs and we enjoyed some good sleep especially when Chris started sleeping with the window open so the temperature was more like home.

We went one day to the Heard Museum in Phoenix and found it really informative about the different Native American tribes and cultures, well worth the visit.  We risked a fast food pasta joint for dinner on the way home and it was surprisingly good.  There are so many restaurants and eating outlets around here it is really amazing.  Tomasz and Mirkas place is in a new area and in a gated community.  Lovely environment and a bit surreal as it is designed to be like a Tuscan village, so there are a lot of trees and grass and not a cactus in sight.  It really feels like it could be anywhere except Arizona.  The only give away is the heat. 

The kids have throughly enjoyed hanging out with Kuba and Zuzanna.  They have really been made comfortable and we really feel like welcome visitors.  Spending time just playing at the pool and hanging out has been great for them. 

Chris Samantha and Zack went to watch Phoenix Suns (NBA Basketball team) play in Phoenix one night, while Cass and I stayed home.  The game was a playoff game against the current NBA champs, the San Antonio Spurs, and unfortunately the current champs were too good on the night as they won by 20 points to 3-0 up in the best of seven series.

We also spent an evening with friends of theirs, Piotr and Mariola who lived nearby in a beautiful new home.  Such interesting people, also originally from Poland and both having travelled extensively and worked in many different places around the world.  

We enjoyed the meals we shared and the relaxed way we could come and go, and especially how the kids all entertained each other!  We will enjoy more of that when they make it to New Zealand.  Our last breakfast together was great and it was really sad to wave goodbye as we hit the road for our next destination.  munds park, just south of Flagstaff.
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