Tuesday, May 27, 2008

By the Time I Get to Phoenix

Toronto didn't happen this week. I got sent to Phoenix instead, which my boss described as being "almost the same city". Actually, as disappointed as I am that I didn't get to visit the Great White North, I'm still pretty happy with this week's assignment. I've always liked Phoenix. But then again, every time I've ever been here before, it's been either November or December. The difference in temperature is immediately obvious, but does not detract from my enjoyment.

About a month ago I had a student tell me that Salt Lake City was the cleanest city he'd ever been in. While I agree that it certainly is cleaner than, say, Edison, New Jersey, I'm also guessing that he'd never been in Phoenix. Never before have I seen a city that is so neat, clean and organized. Other than the travesty of Grand Avenue, Phoenix is laid out in a grid format that makes Salt Lake look like it was patterned after the streets of Boston. It's difficult even for me to get lost in Phoenix.

My hotel is within walking distance of the training center, even in the blazing Phoenix sun. In fact, it's within walking distance of several restaurants and, as near as I can tell, even a couple of hospitals (United Healthcare and some Catholic thing). The optimist in me believes that these things (sun + food + hospital) are not related. There's also a Staples and a Walgreens on my block.

I'm two blocks from Central Ave, and glad that I don't have to drive on it. They're putting in light rail there, and while I'm excited to see it finished, I'm not excited to deal with it during construction. It reminds me a lot of what Main Street in Salt Lake looked like when they were putting in light rail there. Actually, a lot of Phoenix reminds me of Salt Lake. The grid, the light rail, the desert. Of course, you won't be finding hard liquor in the grocery store in Salt Lake, but that's a minor difference.

There have been other coincidences. When I flew into New Hampshire recently, I discovered that I was in the middle of the primary democratic elections. I then found my way into Ohio, during the primaries. I did manage to miss the primaries in Maryland by a month, but this morning I discovered that President Bush was planning to share Phoenix with me today. I hate politics. Why must politics stalk me like this?

Anyway, Phoenix has been otherwise enjoyable. I seem to have a good bunch of students this week, and thanks to the holiday yesterday, class is only 4 days long. Maybe I'll go out and look for a nice restaurant, just to throw my boss off. Then again, maybe that's just what he would expect. I need to stay ahead of him.

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