Monday, February 17, 2014

Phoenix in February with the Family

I came back from Australia and New Zealand on January 31st and spent two weeks in Phoenix at my parents’ house until we all left for Greece on February 12th. I was able to spend some time with Karla and the kids and to try to recover from jet lag before our next trip. 

We visited the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park at the recommendation of Nathan English. This was a great park with a train ride for kids and a carousel. They also had a train museum and a new large building with three model train scenes. Two of these were under construction which was interesting because you could see how the landscapes where created.

The Arizona Renaissance Fair started in Apache Junction the weekend before we left. This has been going on for more than 20 years and each year it gets more developed.  I remember attending this when I was an undergraduate at the University of Arizona in the 1990s and it just had a few temporary structures. Now it is an entire village that has many medieval activities, shows, food, and many craft shops with medieval goods such as blacksmithed swords, leather pouches, clothes, and toys.

We went to the local AAA office to get international driver’s licenses and it turns out that this office also houses Hertz Rental Car. They had two electrical car charging stations out front. It seems that electric cars are becoming more popular which is nice to see. This is especially true in Arizona where the sun shines over 300 days a year and solar power is an obvious and easy alternative energy choice. Many houses have solar panels for energy production on their roofs and even more have solar water heaters on their roofs.

I received some good news while I was in Phoenix. One of my favorite ice creams (Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch) would be sourcing non-GMO toffee bars. I am glad to see more companies are thinking about how the food is produced that goes into their products. I do think that someday, we will have GMO labelling on food products so that we know what goes into our foods and we can make the choice of what we want to eat. On the flip side, I am a little depressed that Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream was not sourcing non-GMO ingredients before.

We had some time for walks around the neighborhood with the kids on tricycles. This was nice to make up for some of the time that I had been gone for the whole month in Australia. I particularly liked how L1 would take L2 on his tricycle when L2 got tired and then he would tow L2’s tricycle with a rope that I brought (It has been suggested that it might be good to keep our kids identities off of the internet for as long as possible, hence the abbreviations for their names above with L1 being the elder). L1 is taking photographs with his imaginary camera. They had a lot of fun playing outside in the backyard for much of the day since the high temperatures where in the 60s with sun every day.

 We experienced some classic and beautiful Phoenix sunsets on just about every night. The dust that is kicked up in the desert combined with some light clouds tends to create great sunsets in Phoenix on most evenings.

Organ Pipe Cactus with California Poppies.

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