Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Sheep and The Scorpion

Right after arriving in Arizona I stumbled across this Irish-Mexican restaurant.

I had the realization this week that I've been in Arizona for just over seven months already. Which can't be right. So I have to literally count it out on my fingers and still it makes no sense. I swear I just got here. Geographically I'm still not here. And by that I mean every now and again I'll see a map with Phoenix on it - the Californian Pacific coast a half days drive away, Mexico a little drive south, Vegas a short drive north, New Mexico and Texas to the east - and realize that I live over here. I still do this thing some expats do. Where every now and again I'm minding my own business and suddenly it's as if I become rapidly disembodied - zooming out into a satellite, Google Map view of where I am - and I realize I'm nowhere near home. Instantly surprised that instead of drinking cider on The Apple in Bristol, I'm casually checking the gusset of my swimming shorts on a balcony in the American Southwest to see if there's a scorpion in them. To be clear I wasn't wearing the shorts while I checked. And no - The Scorpion isn't a nickname I've given my willy. I think we all know by now that's El Chupacabra. Although thinking about it that has connotations of me bothering sheep in South America. And I didn't come all this way to have people suggest that I'm Welsh.

The main problem I think is that I drove here from New York state. So it just doesn't seem like I'm two thousand miles from where I started. Two thousand miles is a long way. But when you do it in a handful of days by car it doesn't really feel like it can be that far from upstate New York. Fleetingly on my way to work each morning I still expect to be driving along and suddenly be passing the sheep farm (I really have to stop mentioning sheep - I'm not doing myself any favors here) on Cooper Street just up the road from my old house in Vernon, NY. But it should feel like a long way. Because two thousand miles is a ridiculous length. To put it in perspective I basically drove from England to Libya. Which is in North Africa. Next to Egypt. Or in other words - it'd be like driving thousands of miles from where you felt relatively comfortable until you got to an unpleasantly arid, foreign-looking desert that is clearly too hot to live in. And nobody is about to do that.

I should mention the journey here I suppose. I grant you this won't be a great commercial for America. And I liked most everywhere. Except Amarillo, Texas. That was just mental. And the rape-motel in Indiana had a very No Country For Old Men vibe to it. But in general it was pleasant enough. Anyhoo - Pennsylvania I've been through plenty of times. It's what you expect - except I was lucky enough not to be in it for very long this time. Although it did live up to it's reputation for thrill-rides-per-second with this award a place got for "snow and ice control". I know - it sounds dead sexy, right?

Pure, unbridled sexiness

 I've been through Ohio a bazillion times. But frankly - Ohio, you smell. Every stop I made had a weird smell. Granted it was different one each time. But still. Yes your gas is dirt cheap and everything seems to be half the price of stuff in New York. But you smell funny. Add the only photo I took in Ohio was this. If Ohio wants to compete with Vegas and Myrtle Beach for tourism I strongly suggest choosing anything but this photo. It's so staunchly unsexy you might actually grow your hymen back just looking at it.

Hold on to your knickers

It only rained once the entire journey and that was Indiana. As in - when I crossed the border into Indiana it instantly started chucking it down. And I swear when I crossed the border out it instantly stopped. I made a video actually (which is astonishingly loud - I should mention) that captured the essence of Indiana perfectly.

Texas is too big. Someone needs to have a word about that. I felt like I was driving through Texas for eons. Partly because I plowed through Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma rather quickly knowing if I absolutely floored it I could be in Arizona in two days. Still - I'd be quite grateful if the powers that be could shrink Texas down a little (geographically and in ego if you could, please) so that it was a quarter of the size. I'd rather like Dallas to be much, much closer thanks. All of which brings me to entering Amarillo, TX. Oh and if anyone mentions Peter Kay allegedly being funny at this point I'll be sorely disappointed. Nothing ever justifies Peter Kay. Remember when he remembers stuff? Amazing. As for Amarillo itself? Good Lord. Literally.

I bet they're building a MASSIVE wooden Jesus in that barn to go on it

Which was quickly followed up by this. I cannot express how disturbing this was.

I'm convinced he ALWAYS has these in his truck
Terrifying no? Lastly in Amarillo was this thing. It's a gas station where every conceivable flat surface has something to do with Jesus on it.

Even the power lines are crosses.

What's puzzling about that though is that it's a truck stop. The majority of people going in there are truck drivers who are doing one of three things in the bathroom. I get that you might want to evangelize to people. But you know - seems a bit over the top no? Still - I liked how it reeked  of a shonky, pious veneer but mostly seemed to try and sell beer and cigarettes galore. Anyhoo I popped in and bought a Snickers and had a wank in the bathroom. That'll show 'em. Only kidding. I don't like Snickers. Amusingly right up the street was a Hooters. Honestly - Google map it. There was also a giant Hooters billboard about 50 feet from God's Gas and Poo Shop which dampened the aura somewhat.

New Mexico I have no photos of. And it is beautiful. To be fair I drove through Albuquerque as the sun was setting - which made everything look weirdly romantic. Plus I have a soft spot for the Pueblo style architecture in Albuquerque. That link doesn't do any kind of justice though - there's A LOT more color involved than just that beige thing. Light cyan-blues, deep purples and terracotta oranges. The last being what I was going for in my old living room before realizing I'd surpassed terracotta and it looked more like an Oompa Loompa sex-boudoir.

All of which brought me to Arizona. To this heat (have I mentioned it's hot yet?). And a few weeks later to passing that weird Irish/Mexican restaurant.

I wonder if they do lamb?

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