AZ, to visit jkhedron. I was so, so ready for a real vacation after that wedding, and this was wonderful, if only for a few days.
Landed safely, on a Thursday night just after 10pm. Thanks to AZ not observing DST, the time conveniently matched Seattle exactly. As predicted, it was early enough that I didn't quite want to settle in yet, so Michael took me to Amsterdam, one of the city's gay bars. It has that funky half-outdoor thing going that you only find in hot dry climes. They even have restaurant booths beneath the palm trees. Got some decent food and a drink, and started to catch up with Michael a bit. Had a great time; just what I wanted after my flight.
The next morning, we got up early to beat the heat for a nice kilted hike on South Mountain. Took a drive around, and then walked along the ridgeline for a while. Saw a huge variety of neat desert flora and fauna. Went for breakfast at a neat place called Morning Glory cafe. Had a "cowboy breakfast" consisting of two eggs over bowl of chili. It was quite something; tasty and filling. After that, I wanted to just take in the town, so we drove around random bits of Phoenix heading back towards Tempe and Scottsdale so Michael could run an errand at his college. From there, it was a quick hop to Old Town Scottsdale to visit some art galleries, and there were many very nice installations, including some solely by student artists. On the way to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, though, we got a little distracted by Saba's boot store. We happened to find their location that specialized in boots, and actually had a decent selection of size 15s. There was one pair of cowboy boots that I considered buying, but I decided that they wouldn't get enough use to justify the price.
SMoCA was impressive; on the way in they had an exhibit of magnets, where the public was encouraged to take a blank magnet (or several), take it home, decorate it, and return it. There were some wonderful, whimsical entries. The museum itself, though, was half closed for installation of a new exhibit (called Branded and On Display, which looks awesome, BTW), but the two exhibits they had were worth seeing. In one of them, Michael and were both fooled by one exhibit that was a blown-up TIME Magazine article praising the new design of the TKTS booth in NYC. Except... we were puzzled because we both knew that that wasn't what the booth looked like! Michael figured it out when he noticed that the date on the "article" was several months after the creation date listed on the wall. :-} After a nice short break at a tea shop, which had a wide selection of tempting deserts that I was somehow able to resist, we went over to a sculpture garden, with some wonderful rusted metal pieces. It's really great that there's so much public art out in the world, and I loved seeing more of it.
For dinner, we met up with Michael's boyfriend, Matt, and two of their friends at a tex-mex place nearby. Matt had a conference to attend over the weekend, so Friday night was the only time we could all meet. Had a great time talking with everyone and had an interesting, delicious southwest stew. Yum.