A museum day in Phoenix. That wasn’t quite the highlight, though, which came as I chose the lower level route over interstate 10 (which is buried in tunnels) by going through Margaret T Hance park. I’d already walked through a green and pleasant part and was intrigued by the urban art I’d spotted. I was also intrigued when walking through, as a creature in a red dress appeared ahead of me and spoke briefly to two girls passing through. I don’t know what was said, but then they spotted me and walked over. I’m friendly, learning to be more so, I smiled and accepted a damp handshake.
“My, you’re cute. Can I have your number?”
“I don’t have a phone.”
“No phone? Oh my. Facebook then?”
“No Facebook. I’m off the grid, man.”
“Did you call me man, I’m no man, I’m a she-male.”
Well yes, you are. But I am edging past.
“Are you busy?”
Yes, I am busy. This is definitely the correct answer. For once my brain does not insert the wrong answer when I come to speak.
“Yeah, I’ve got to go.”
I move another step.
“Oh, because I would **** **** **** in the bathroom.”
And I moved on.
It’s not the journey, it’s the adventure. I’d had a short run in the morning then finally got out to walk round town a little. It’s not that great a walk from the hostel, out at McDowell and 13th Avenue, but on a hot day I ended up overdoing it by walking 5 miles. Those 5 miles included visits to both the Heard museum and Phoenix art museum, though.
The former was started by Dwight and Maie Heard to house their own collection of Indian artefacts, and has expanded from their 3,000 to 40,000 objects. It looked to be energetically curated, with exhibitions coming and going with speed to supplement the large main room to which you head first, which has pots and paraphernalia along with some tribal history. The exhibit on Indian boarding schools was particularly affecting-children were sent in some cases, but others as young as five were taken, with the idea that the ‘Indian’ would be educated out of them.
The Art museum is free on Wednesday afternoons, from 3-9pm, and has modern art on the ground floor, traditional on the first. By now I was pretty tired and fading, but appreciated the exhibits and found the ‘Read my Pins’ exhibition, showcasing the pins and brooches worn by Madeleine Albright much more effective than my initial reaction expected it to be. She wore some beautiful objects, some of them large, such as the zebra pin that sat on her shoulder to meet Nelson Mandela. As a quote from Albright says, her pins may not have ever set the world on fire, but then avoiding anything inflammatory is exactly what a diplomat is supposed to do.
Once through the museums I was tired and hungry, and only realised how thirsty I was when on my third refill of water. A huge pizza at NYPD pizza put me straight, only for two beers in their happy hour to knock me off line again. Overall I came out on top, and spent the evening in the hostel first talking to a friendly man from Oklahoma I’d met the day before. He had moved on from explaining what Spring training was all about-all the baseball teams gather in Phoenix and Gateway, and fans can see them at low cost, along with minor league games. One facility in Phoenix has 17 diamonds.
Who could imagine football clubs doing something similar?
Tonight he was more interested in how far I lived from The Queen, how much I followed Downton Abbey and which stately homes I’d been to. The accent was worth listening to, even if the subjects were hokey, and he looked very well for someone born in the early 50s. Eventually I left the younger guests playing games in the living room, which is great, just a lovely comfortable home living room, and went to bed. The Grand Canyon’s minor peril stayed with me for a couple of days, with my brain straying on to thoughts of how close I’d been to some big drops, but today’s excitement caused barely a ripple in my consciousness.
Reading: Rome 1960, David Mariniss. I’m a third through, the athletics hasn’t even started yet and already I’d put this in my favourite books.