It didn't start off too well for me. I got hives the minute I stepped off the plane. Darn my very sensitive skin! I definitely didn't expect it, especially since I'm from the Southwest, and I'm very used to desert weather. Oh, well. I wasn't going to let that ruin my trip. I'd have 4 days in Phoenix. I might as well make the best of it and explore the best of the city.
One thing I liked about Phoenix was the Light Rail. This is an above-ground train that stops at the most popular destinations in the city, including the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport and Chase Field stadium, where the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team plays their home games. It also travels east, cutting through Tempe (home of the Arizona State University campus) and Mesa. It costs $2/ride, but only $4 for an all-day pass. So even if you plan to go to only one destination and come straight back to your point of origin, it's most practical to buy an all-day pass. A 1-week pass costs just $20. I found this sign at one of the stops, each one containing a piece of work by a local artist. I thought it was very fitting to post as my first picture in this entry.
I was hoping to post a picture of a stereotypical Southwestern sunset, but I couldn't get a picture of both a sunset and cactus together. However, I did get a picture of a red mountain at sunset and a picture of a few different cacti.
My return flight home wasn't until the afternoon, so on my last day in Phoenix, I hopped back on the Light Rail and headed back to Frances. I was hoping for a better experience, as I actually had a whole hour and a half to browse this time. It was. The salesperson was a middle-aged woman who appeared to be very enthusiastic about the boutique and seemed to appreciate that I went out of my way to visit, particularly since I'm from out of town. Even though I spent just $20 on a T-shirt off the sale rack, the saleswoman wrapped it up nicely with a fuchsia ribbon. From the pictures and store website, I expected all the items to be locally made, but the only things I found that were were kitchen accessories, soaps, and candles. I really didn't need any of those, so I passed. I got a picture of the baby-items display. If I had a baby of my own, I might have picked something up from it. I just love the bright yellow wall!
On another stop on the Light Rail, I found a bakery called Kick Ass Kakes. I could've used a cupcake for a little sugar kick and was eager to buy a treat or 2 to take home to my family, but it was a Monday, and it was closed. I saw pictures of their work in the window, and this particular cake stood out to me:
As I was sitting on the Flyaway bus at LAX headed to Van Nuys, I spotted a paparrazzi mob scene at the Tom Bradley International terminal. As long as I've lived in LA and as many celebrities I've seen mobbed by papparazzi, I've never been in a position to get a photo, so I took the opportunity to get my first. I saw a tall blonde woman wearing a beanie and huge sunglasses. All around her, flashes went off and people held out headshots and pens. She signed a few, but then was whisked away in a town car. Who was she? I couldn't figure it out. She looked like Brandi Glanville of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" to me. I Googled "celebrities spotted at LAX March 11" on my phone the whole ride home, but couldn't get an answer. The next day, the answer was on perezhilton.com. It was Victoria's Secret supermodel Candice Swanepoel. Of course! On March 12, she was at an event at the Victoria's Secret store in the Beverly Center. Here's my photo of the mob scene. I was quite far away, and it wasn't as if there was any time to make the proper adjustments (and I'm not an experienced-enough photographer to think of what adjustments need to be made quickly), but I circled Candice's face. If you study it for a minute, you may be able to make out her features: