Friday, February 23, 2007

Tucson: Day 2

Another gorgeous day in AZ. I believe the temps were up around 75 and not a cloud in the sky all day long. It was a little slow going in the morning for Denise and I since we were both still fairly tuckered out from traveling the day before. When we finally got ambitious enough, we headed to my parents house for a delicious breakfast of french toast and bacon, which my mom buys right from the butcher shop. Mmmm... bacon...

Then we made a run for the border. Even though I forgot to bring my birth certificate, we talked to some locals here and heard that you can park on the US side and walk over to Nogales, Mexico, and all you need to get back in is a driver's license. So we hit I-19 and went about 40 miles south to the border.

This might sound odd, but Nogales actually reminded me a little bit of New York City. Certainly not in size, but it's essentially filled with dirty little storefronts and persistent street vendors that relentlessly hassle you to check out their knickknacks as you walk past. Oh yeah, and farmacias. Muchos de farmacias! But we did have a lot of fun exploring and buying some souvenirs. We also made friends with one store owner nicknamed "Fish"--he never explained the nickname, only telling us it was "a long story" (see picture at right).

On the way back, we stopped at a pretty famous little spice shop, the Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co, in Tumacacori. Then we continued north through a little "city" called Tubac. It's called an "artist colony" down here but it's basically a bunch of hippies selling arts and crafts stuff. But it was good enough for us to look around and grab a quick bite to tide us over until dinner.

We spent the next few hours beating up the rental car driving through Madera Canyon and Box Canyon where we witnessed a typical (i.e. awesome) Arizona sunset. Afterwards, we picked up my dad (since mom was a little under the weather) for some dinner at an awesome local Mexican place right in Green Valley called Manuel's. (Every time I come down here, I absolutely have to go to Manuel's at least once!)

Even though I was tired by this point, Denise somehow talked me into going a few miles up the road to the Desert Diamond Casino where we played some slots for a couple hours. Then it was back to the hotel for some much-needed sleep.