For the last few years my partner and I have been in the habit of spending winter quality time Scottsdale, Arizona. We’ve done all the usual touristy things, of course, but also a few less predictable things like find a realtor and look at houses to buy.
The purchase thing hasn’t worked out yet (though we’re still hoping) and because I’m in school now and working toward a second degree, going south in January is a bit of a challenge too. But I still have my memories, and photos like this, taken at The Phoenician, a ritzy resort on East Camelback.
I like the angles in this photograph, but it’s the reflections and light play that I appreciate the most. It’s also magical for me to remember the warmth of that beautiful January day. Here in Alberta the temperatures sometimes dip to obscene extremes, so these memories count for a lot.
Oh, and by the way, at The Phoenician, which we really enjoyed, two beers and a bowl of nuts were forty bucks! No wonder we enjoyed it so much!
As a fan of Guy Fieri’s Triple D I have to say that there’s something about the diners in the States – all those purveyors of wonderful comfort food. Portions are sufficient if not ample, the food is generally very good indeed, and a juke box and a lot of memorabilia usually make for lots to see and talk about through the meal.
This is the Five and Diner at Pavilions Mall, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Every Sunday there’s a classic car show, right over the road from this diner, and anytime we’re there we always take them both in – there’s nothing finer than fifties cars and fifties ambience.
There used to be a little diner here in Calgary, too, on 11 Street, but it was bought out by one of the big breakfast chains and it’s just not the same anymore. It may look the same, but it isn’t. The food is – well, there’s no love in it.
I can hardly wait ’til my next visit to the little diner by the palm trees.
When I visited the Grand Canyon a couple of years ago I was hoping to see one of the tremendous vistas of tourist guide fame. But instead of the crisp, clear sunshine for which Arizona is known, we were given this: cloud, overcast, fog, grey. Dull.
I was obviously disappointed, but then I took another look. What we actually have here is a magnificent cloudscape. Clouds above, clouds below – cumulus, cumulo-fractus, alto-cumulus, nimbus – dull and grey, yes, but ragged, scudding clouds, full of character, vitality, and fascination. There are the mountains in there, too – gargantuan ghosts of determination, glimpsed all but apologetically in the midst of the thick, grey stew.
I went to see the Grand Canyon, and even though I was initially disappointed I quickly realized that this was not necessary: I was still seeing it – it was just in a different kind of mood that day.
Once I realized that, it was pretty easy to just step back and enjoy.
I’m on the bus so just a quick word. This is what I’m talking about when I talk about winter – frozen water and cold air. It really sucks, especially if you’re waiting for a bus and there’s no shelter. I mean, how are you supposed to work your iPhone when it’s -15C and the snow keeps landing on the screen? All I can say is ‘thank heaven for my backpack, or my back would freeze!’
Of course, my puppy loves the snow, but then – he’s loco.
The above was taken last year, this one was taken today.
Summer was oh, so very short this year, and they just seem to get shorter and shorter every year.
Behold the Star Mine Suspension Bridge, in Rosedale, Alberta.
It’s a happy adventure to drive the hour east of Calgary to walk across the galvanized metal suspension bridge over the Red Deer River. The floor of the bridge is metal too and, yes, you can see right through it, so don’t look down if heights make you nervous.
There’s a lot more to see in the area, so stay tuned.
There’s nothing that says Alberta more clearly or more often than farmland. This farm, south of Calgary, near Carseland, sports a beautiful crop of – anyone? Help me out here: probably alfalfa. There’s a lot of alfalfa in Alberta.
I really am a summer person, and scenes like this warm me. Today the weather in Calgary turned cold – from 10C above to 10C below in 24 hours. That’s a shock to any system, and a double hit to mine. I’m just not built for it.
Again in Kananaskis, west of Calgary. I love this magnificent mountain panorama, the peaks still snow-clad from late winter events, and resplendent in the early morning Sun.
Actually, these same mountains got a big hit of snow today so I’ll have to head back soon and take some more pictures.