Technically, I had two full days in Phoenix, which isn’t always the case when staying two nights. That length of stay gives time to get to a place, explore a bit and sleep, then have one full day before leaving, but I was flying at 11.54pm, so could kill a full day. My lovely hostel were happy for me to leave my bags there and after a run and breakfast I wandered off into another warm day. I’d figured I might splurge the $4 on an all day pass for the light rail, which was my transport of choice for reaching the airport, later. So nice when a city doesn’t have the ‘wedding pricing’ model for anything connected to an airport. A five mile journey? That’ll be two p…oh, you want to go to the airport? Then that’ll be four times as much, please.
I found myself walking into town again, though. Once I’d made my way from 13th avenue to Central I was hot and ducked into the public library to cool down. It also allowed me to continue my tour of world libraries; Phoenix has a large but sparse one. It’s well stocked, but the reading areas are open plan rather than cosy and comfortable.
I’d spotted a quirky cinema, Filmbar, on Tripadvisor, but their offerings didn’t start till after 5. The AMC, though, was nearer and huge, 23 screens and I could watch 12 Years a Slave for $5, an astounding bargain. I’ve got the book ready to read, didn’t plan to watch it first but it was an unsensational representation of an astonishing story, albeit with the odd over-lingering shot. Nice to be given the time to think ‘I wonder if he’s thinking about x, and what is he looking at that we can’t see off screen”, but throwing that thought around for a whole minute is a bit too much of a luxury.
Post cinema I lurked downtown, checking out ASU, eating in a public square and being approached by the fabulously polite homeless locals. I had picked up my bag by 7.30 and was on my way, and with the light rail delayed by a car accident on the tracks I only had three hours to make it through the airport. The light rail is swift and friendly-with the delay, the driver had to change ends (the train went round the accident on the west bound line then backed up to go round the top of a loop, the other way)-but the Skytrain is even better, intersecting with the light rail and whisking us to terminal 4 within minutes. It makes the airport seem further out of town than it is, I’d walked from the bus terminal, one end of the airport, to the light rail, less than a mile. The Skytrain is two stations further on out of town, then you walk up steps, onto a huge pedestrian bridge and ride a travelator, wondering ‘is this the Skytrain?’ before finding there really is a train at the end of the bridge. Three stations, all with beautifully decorated flooring, whoosh. Another stroll and onto the shuttle to terminal 2-if I’d been in a rush I’d have been off at 24th and Washington and walked, that would have been quicker.
The spring break factor kicked in again, with my flight to Chicago full. I was offered a $200 gift card to go later but opted not to work out if I could still get to parkrun that way. Two short flights only totalled 4 and a quarter hours, but with an hour and a half at Chicago to walk down 15 gates and a three hour time difference, I landed in Raleigh/Durham at 9.30, slightly bleary eyed but sufficiently with it to get the right buses and make it to Durham centre.