Arizona: State 4 / 50
At the end of May ago we made it to Phoenix, Arizona! We have this unofficial plan to try and visit all 50 states in the US - well, some we may just give a miss in favor of stayin’ alive! (cue Bee Gees song playing in my head, which immediately triggers memories of THAT episode of The Office where Micheal manages to dismember that first aid training dummy.) Anyway….
We were in Arizona for a graduation and had been anxiously anticipating it for the weeks running up to it. Fear of hot, humid weather had Morayo-Hope and I sitting in a makeshift salon in Providence getting our hair braided the night before we left. It escaped my knowledge that Arizona is actually dry heat. So there had been zero need to fear humidity. It was also a lot cooler than we anticipated.
Upon informing locals of our plans to visit the Grand Canyon we were advised to shop for jackets and sweaters. They honestly mad it sound like we were heading to “Game of Thrones” land and I was so anxious I bought a teddy coat in Nordstrom Rack. I mean, it was $26 down from $149 - seemed criminal not to do so. I managed to find the kids some thick sweaters and leggings there on sale too. All was well! Until we got to The Grand Canyon and it was boiling hot. I wanted to skin something. I felt like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, dressed to the nines in fur, and a leather jacket to boot.
Once we were done with tempting fate at death’s door, we headed to Slide Rock State Park where we were promised a cool down session playing on rock slides in nature’s own swimming pool. (Thanks to Theo for recommending this via Instagram!) The excitement which was at fever pitch as we arrived, was soon cooled right down as we stepped into icy water. I wanted to skin something…. AGAIN. The kids still went for it though - especially Morayo-Hope who slid along happily. The rocks are extremely slippery & the water flows into a pretty dangerous bend. There was some random “CAUTION! DANGER!” tape like you’d find at a crime scene at the point where the current was dangerous. It was so makeshift and random I wondered what the point of it was. By the time you’d get to it, you would be as good as dead! There were no life guards so it really was an adrenalin filled time watching the kids like hawks.
We made it back to the hotel intact! After Saturday’s breakfast excursion outside the hotel turned into a bit of a let down, we decided to eat in the hotel. And what a great idea that turned out to be. There I was, minding my own business staring at my breakfast which had just been placed in front of me with a flourish by the ever attentive Westin waiters; when I heard a distinctly British accent say “I’ll have what she’s having!”. Two things hit me at once - “Hey, that line is from my favourite movie When Harry Met Sally” & “I know that voice!”. I looked up and standing there staring at my plate of food was none other than Catherine Tate! I started giggling like a fool and saying “Oh my Gosh it’s you, I love you SO MUCH!! OH MY GOSH IT’S YOU!” - repeatedly. Kill me now!!! She humored me and then asked what I had selected as it looked delicious. I continued giggling and proceeded to tell her my name is Tanaka. She continued to humor me. Kola proceeded to laugh and point out that she would probably rather know what I ordered than my name. I turned red inside. I told her the name of my dish and then she moved on to the table behind us with her rather hot companion. It was difficult to create room for food with all the excitement and embarrassment fighting for space in my belly. I didn’t want to be that person that fangirls so hard they disturb a celebrity and ask for a picture. Turns out I am that person, so I did.
After that episode of “How to disgrace yourself in front of a celebrity”, we took the kids to a cheap and cheerful amusement park - it was basically a funfair where the rides are fixed to the ground, lol! I wouldn’t put this on a must do list but it was definitely a highlight of the trip for the kids. There aren’t many rides & for kids over 8 this would be a waste of time. For us it was a good way to round off our time in AZ.
We will definitely do the Grand Canyon again when the kids are a bit older and possibly do a bit of hiking. This is what is going through my head at the moment as my friend Alicia who actually do stuff like this has just got back from an amazing trip with her family hiking some scenic state parks. Hopefully my default “vacation = beach” mode will evolve enough to allow for this to become a reality for us too someday!