Sunday, January 1, 2012

Year End Travels

Even though this blog is about Teak's experiences in Malaysia, sometimes a detour is taken, such as travel overseas or even to other parts of Asia.  This post highlight just a few moments from a trip made to Arizona and California (USA) in November and December.

To many, travel is about R&R, aka 'Rest & Relaxation', and I am picking up a theme here, using the letter 'R'.  For Teak, travel can be about seeing interesting ROCKS, such as this group of semi-precious stones found in various gift shops in Arizona:

Semi-precious stones
Starting at the bottom right and moving counter-clockwise, we have turquoise, various colors of quartz, hematite, jasper, and then beads and stones for jewelry-making.  Finally, a ring with insets of onyx, coral, turquoise, and other stones sits awaiting my finger.

Of course, one needs to see the source of these rocks, and so we have ROCK OUTCROPS, for example the Superstition Mountains, outside Mesa, Arizona:

Superstition Mountains, Arizona
One of the advantages of the dry climate in Arizona (apart from LACK of humidity) is that it is easier to see the rock outcrops, unlike Malaysia where most are buried under a jungle of vegetation.

But, Arizona does have its own set of quirky vegetation that REACHES out to the sky, begging for a bit of moisture:

Saguaro Cactus Reaching Out for Any Amount of Moisture
Arizona, does, in fact, lead the world in RADICAL landscaping, meaning that Xeric landscapes are used to save on water and reflect the natural vegetation of the area.

Xeric Landscaping
Since many RETIREEs also settle in Arizona, it means less work to maintain the landscape.  Only RETIREMENT villages plant grass sod since they have maintenance staff to take care of the high water demand vegetation.

Life in RetirementVille
One thing Arizona does lack are sufficient RIVERS to keep this water scientist interested long enough:

When Does the Water Come Along?
In fact, in one town (Bisbee, Arizona), I espied a "Monsoon Drain" beside the road.  I asked a local, how many inches of rain makes for a monsoon rain?  Apparently, they get flash floods from only a few inches of rain.  So, these empty stream channels are called "washes" (wadi in the Middle East, arroyo in Spanish-speaking countries) which means that occasionally a pile of water will come washing along.  Beware!

What would a vacation be without visiting some RELATIVES?

Niece with Her Chickens
And to get around to all of these relatives, and sites, takes a good RIDE.  I was lent one such, a six-speed Mazda Miata that, although a bit lacking in the suspension, made for a fun trip.  What could be more of a cliche than to drive through California in a convertible?

Mazda Miata, Great Ride!

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