Sunday, 2 December 2012

Eclectic Tucson

We did a couple days diet of burritos, hit the shootout, and people watched in and around Tucson.

Last time I was on the shootout, probably 3 years ago, taught me where the pace picks up. Same deal now, and many of the same faces. Funny actually - the more things change, the more they stay the same. Which brings me to people watching in Tucson... the land time forgot, and where anything goes.

We parked near two lesbians having a "cosmic" yardsale, with assorted junk, including a cello and a kitchen sink as items large enough to spot from a distance. They were sitting in the front yard and were chatty, telling us how the sale was raging (nobody was around, or even on the block besides us). Next door was a house with Christmas lights, and a really surprising number of one foot tall plastic skeletons hanging from everything. I guess that's one interpretation of 'tis the season.

We went for lunch at Epic Cafe. Guy who ran the counter seemed to be a proprietor. Told me his brother invented a new kind of chili in the 80's. His knuckle tattoos said "no wife" on the right (no centered higher on the middle two fingers) and "no kids" on the left. His ears were stretched with big earrings, and prior to me he made a tall whip mocha with an extra swirl of chocolate sauce on top for a 300lb skin head biker who's hands looked so thick that it was hard to imagine them closing. We got our food and sat by a guy with an eye patch and his dog, and by a man and woman, both gay, discussing world politics, their partners, and mediterranean cruises. A brand new Porsche stops at the corner for a homeless dude to cross with his shopping card. Another biker leaves, pulling his stiff leg, presumably from last wipeout, in laboured fashion over his hog and roars away, helmetless of course.

We walk down the street past a mural of a monkey in Jesus robes praying and then two girls with massive breasts, no bras, and cleavage tattoos hanging out near a vintage clothing boutique. A skinny guy with white hair and a long white beard rolls by on his bike, white chest hair and brown leathery skin with his denim shirt flapping in the wind restrained only by the strap of his guitar case. I bet wherever he plays, he'll rock out.

Cindy liked the Mexican dude who cruised by in his VW Karman Ghia with all the beaded religious things hanging all over. I liked the kids in a dune buggy wearing their goggles. They looked 14 years old. Lots of original Beetles here, and old trucks. In fact, any vehicle built in the last 50 years seems to have a somewhat equal chance of being spotted here. And any personal style or facial hair. Lots looks like it hasn't changed since when people showed up. Mega afros, santa beards, Willie Nelson braids, all that. It feels like a place time forgot, functioning at a pace that guarantees it won't be part of the rest of the world.

Our hotel, the Arizona Inn, is historic and beauty. I'd highly recommend it. Lots of interesting people hanging around too, nice grounds, nice rooms.

We had some great dining experiences - one classic mexican and one newer (in the ground floor of a parking garage done up all modern). Cafe Poca Cosa served the best Margarita I've had outside of Mexico - nothing but limes, oranges, tequila and salt. None of that sugar mix crap. Cindy really likes anything with mole sauce (chocolate stuff), it's like dinner and dessert in one.

Strangely enough, when walking through the warehouse district at 9pm on a Saturday night, Acme Rubber Stamp Co. was open. But nobody buys office style stamps at that time of night - and the Steve Buscemi looking guy working there kind of gave the look that it was a front operation for something else...

On the way back, Cindy took the wheel of the C Max and really enjoyed its sportiness. Out back of Gates pass we passed what must have been the Gray Wolf's buddy. Old guy, white hair and beard, on a Specialized S-works from a decade ago - but he did have carbon wheels. But nothing more than jean shorts - no shirt, no helmet, no water bottles, and just sandals. He was just hammering it out solo. Power to him.

I really like Tucson. All American eclectic. Vacations are a break in several ways: weather, office vs. personal time, and mental space. Tucson is completely a different mental space. I could bail out tomorrow, buy a running '74 Beetle and an 800 sq. foot hacienda and pack it all in any day... but I don't.

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