Arizona Adventure (Day Five)

Our last day in Arizona began with breakfast and a brisk morning swim at the hotel pool after which we got ready to head out to the home of my good friend and former roommate, Ann Segal Pratt by the edge of Tempe near Guadalupe, the Mexican community. I was so excited to see Ann, who I had not seen since I was pregnant with Julian. I was looking forward to meeting her teenaged children, Alice and Louie and seeing her husband Greg again.

After we gathered together at the kitchen table for about an hour of lively conversation. Greg and Louie needed to leave and the four of us remaining headed to the Pita Jungle,  a casual dining spot near Mesa Community College. After an enjoyable meal on the outside patio, we headed to Papago Park, the desert Park in the middle of the city of Phoenix. As Papago Park is located in close proximity to the apartment where Ann and I used to live, at the corner of Priest and West Univeristy Roads at the edge of Tempe, was an old stomping ground of mine. I used to enjoy bicycling there.

We walked up to the Hole in the Rock, a landmark in the middle of the park. After we hugged Ann and Alice goodbye for now, Julian and I remained in the park in order to view the Desert Botanical Gardens, an oasis of colorful desert flora and blossoming cacti. In addition to the beautiful array of springtime blooms, a special art exhibit by glassmaker Dale Chihuly found its way among the plants. Julian and I thoroughly enjoyed meandering along the paths through the Saguaro, organ pipe, Teddy Bear and Arizona Pencil Cholla as well as the many varieties of barrel and prickly pear cacti. We really enjoyed our visit in the Butterfly Garden, a section of the Botanical Gardens reserved for the protection of butterflies and the plants that attract them.

A brief drive downtown to the newly renovated Mill Avenue District of Tempe, with our friends Nancy and Stephan, followed by dinner at a quiet mexican restaurant not only added the finish for a wonderful day, but also for a wonderful week’s stay in Arizona. Leaving was bittersweet, but sweetened by the fact that we already started making plans to come back again soon.