This desert is very livable. Yesterday it was 37 degrees C on our trip across the Sonoran desert from Joshua Tree National Park to Phoenix -- just above average -- but it felt like 28. The speed limit is 120 kmh and the wind rushing by at that speed has a slight coolness to it.
We have not seen a cloud in the sky since evening on Pismo Beach, six days ago -- not a wisp.
Phoenix is huge. Somewhere there is a 24-lane expressway (we were on a 12-lane) so traffic is not so bad. It's a largely new city.
It has two red rocky mountains within city limits. A little like the Flatirons in Boulder, but more surreal.
We're staying with my godparents in the northern suburbs in their lovely home, certainly the nicest place we have stayed at (of the various people we have dropped iin on the West Coast). Their three our-aged kids are grown and gone, so there is a lot of room.
Their parents were good friends with my grandparents in the DP camps in Germany in the 1940s and they have maintained contact ever since. When they moved from suburban Maryland to Phoenix, it broke part of our hearts. We had fun with their kids growing up. My parents have still not been to the Southwest to visit them -- which is more to illustrate that it is a long way, rather to say they should.
Of course the population centre has shifted with all the migration to the Sun Belt which began around when the Mägis moved here. My impression is that they have worked their asses off but have apparently done well for themselves with their small businesses.
Most people in this neighbourhood don't have lawns, but a dun-coloured gravel with individual trees and cacti in their yards.
Our hosts' backyard (not pictured) looks a little like the courtyard of a monastery we visited in Crete, with walled-in expanses of raked gravel and a parade-ground square of grass. And a swimming pool -- everybody has them, it is the great leveller.
Many of the trees are said to be dying (from frost, acutely, though the record number of 45-degree days this summer has weakened them) and things will change once more, though -- cheap pun -- probably the city will persevere, rise from the ashes?