Simple sightseeing pleasures made all the more pleasurable with simple home hospitality by Hector and Dolores at their home in Phoenix. How many years is it since we were working together in London, and eldest daughter Alexandra’s wedding in Madrid? Three decades and four grandchildren later, we are together again kicking-back with a coffee, stroking nuzzling dogs, and catching-up in the comfort of home as if it were yesterday.
Saturday morning, a walk down Main Street of old Scottsdale reminds me of my first visit to Arizona with Des Whelan while attending my first Amex ‘Outer Space’ Meeting in 1971. (From here we flew in light planes to the Grand Canyon and on to Las Vegas. I’m not sure whether this ‘boy from the bush’ (as Des would taunt me) truly understood how lucky he was to be doing things like at age 28, and every year till moving to the US to work five years later.)
Then, tacos in America had to be ticked off my list. That done, Hector and I drive out to the Desert Botanical Gardens to meet Dolores and go walk through the blooming cactus and other desert plants in colourful Spring bloom.
Driving home, and stopping-by their local Franciscan church, preparations are well under way for Palm Sunday services outdoors ‘on the grass’ in the shade of tall palm trees.
We skip this in favour of going to Mass in the morning, in Sedona, a couple of hours drive north. The ‘greeting’ from smiling ladies and gentlemen (who must have abandoned their walkers to get up and welcome us), and a well-meaning choir of white- haired songstresses make it a little difficult to concentrate on the Mass.
A road-trip to Monument Valley has always been on my ‘to do’ list, but I’m running out of years. The red in the mountains and rocky outcrops in mountains surrounding Sedona has more than satisfied my hankering. And to stop for lunch, at a restaurant, magically located right on a bluff with full view of the surrounding red mountains and outcrops, puts the icing on the cake. A few extra squeezes of fresh lime into my Margarita made for a grand welcome cocktail as we settle in to our prize dress-circle table and wait for lunch to be served.