As I go back to school for nursing I’ll be supplementing my teaching income by driving for rideshare services (it’s easy money, I have a nice car to drive, I have a weird work/school schedule, and still need to be able to hike and camp when I want). Phoenix is my hometown and I know it very well. It’s a very diverse valley with lots to see. You can go from multi million dollar homes in Paradise Valley to barrios in southwest Phoenix in a less than and hour. I figure I’d document some of the interesting sights I see in a week.

I spent a lot of time in southwest Phoenix this week. As schools opened up the new year, I found myself picking up entire families, dropping kids off at school before driving their parent off at work. This is a pretty rough part of Phoenix, but is composed of some of the hardest working people you will ever meet. It’s easy to spot the bad actors lurking around neighborhoods. The vast majority of people are working hard trying to make a life for their families. I have some of the best conversations with the kids and parents on these early morning school and work runs and am usually able to practice my Spanish a bit with kids acting as my tutors. Once you hit extreme south Phoenix the apartment buildings and factories fade away into farms.

Pretty crazy that you can go from from to an Intel plant in about thirty minutes. Also pretty crazy that you can have a whole Mad Max-esque homeless colony around the corner from the capitol.

Most of our homeless here have severe mental health issues. Our shelters are all full up, forcing them to spend all day outside in 105-120F degree heat. My BIL works for a mental health crisis response unit, and received frequent calls from Phoenix PD, as their officers have no idea how to deal with people suffering from mental illness.

Food

I got some good grubbin’ in this week. I was on a big Mexican food kick. I hit up El Norteno a few times. It’s a really good family owned joint. They are cash only and offer some good and cheap daily specials. I enjoyed a nice Spanish omelette with beans and a tortilla for breakfast one morning. I also hit up Rito’s for a delicious enchilada style green chili burrito.

Another one of my favorite places is Cornish Pasty. An English kid moved to Phoenix and opened up a bunch of these. Delicious pasties and beer served up in an establishments reminiscent of Cornish pubs. Finally, I hit up the Melrose Kitchen while I got an alignment done at a little independent Merc/BMW shop. The Melrose District is a very cool area with lots of vintage shops and cafes. It was a good week or my belly.

Cars

I saw a lot of interesting cars this week. A cool Land Rover, an old Land Cruiser, a couple of Jeep Forward Controls, a Wrangler pickup and a Jewbaru (mazel tov!).

Fuggin’ Phoenix