Our arrival in Tucson was about as different as an arrival can be. Right now I feel stranded, bleak and I miss San Francisco and my own home like crazy.

It began with what was (for me at least) the flight from hell. After being delayed for over an hour, our flight was downsized (because the previous plane had experienced some technical difficulties). Half of the passengers were asked to ‘volunteer’ to catch a shuttle to Tucson – a 2 hour drive away. We were one of the ‘lucky’ few who got a seat on the new downsized plane. I’m a tense, frightened, crybaby of a flyer at the best of times and as we walked onto a plane and our heads brushed the roof my stomach dropped. We were the last two of the fifty guests awarded seats on this flight and frankly, I wish that I’d caught the shuttle. We sat at the very back, over the engine, where we couldn’t hear a word that the captain or the hostess said, but could hear every bump and change of the old engine. Looking up to the ceiling barely skimming our heads, it wasn’t much of a relief to discover that a long line of gaffer tape ran peeling from the back to the front of the overhead lockers, holding them together. The small plane meant greater turbulence, and although the flight was short even Matt, who loves to fly, was shaken by the end. I was a wreck.

I am in our room now, in a motel whose main office is housed in the back of a Denny’s burger place. Apparently there are no buses to town (so they tell us when we arrive) and from my searches leading up to the trip, I know that we’re a 20 minute drive from whole food shops, tourist attractions and restaurants (that aren’t a Domino’s or a Denny’s). The 20 minute suggested cab ride won’t be cheap, and stocking up once isn’t really an option, since we’re not able to upgrade to a room with a fridge – I don’t know why.

I want to give Tucson a chance, but we’re off to a rocky start, and since this leg isn’t really for travelling I think a lot of it will be spent writing from the hotel room or derby stadium, with some desert trekking to fill in the gaps – if I can figure out how to get there. I can’t help but compare this to San Fran and the differences are as clear as day.

  • Instead of homeless people there are military
  • Where the trees were lush and green they are fat and spike or dry brown and tall, with a mop of weak green punching the air at the very top
  • The houses are not a lively cocktail of colours and shapes, they are different shades of brown (although not very) with sharp square corners and roofs
  • To look around there is no water to speak of.
  • The airport greeted us with a bar rather than an organic cafe and yoga room.
  • Already we’ve driven past three lots filled with campers and caravans, and some have set up permanent residence in the blocks allocated to them.
  • The beauty is in the mountains that circle this expanse of brown and dust. They cut jagged lines across the sky, peaking on a knifes edge, looking impossible to climb, although I’m sure they’re not.
  • People drive pick up trucks with the paint worn and peeling. Although I know that this is probably not the reason, it seems as though the desert has worn them like coarse sandpaper and I wonder if it will wear me the same way.

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