Saturday, January 20, 2007

Playing Tour Guide

I'm a little late with my blog this month, because I've been playing tour guide to winter visitors, friends and family. This is the first morning in a week that I haven't been running somewhere -- to birdwatch, hike, or just see the attractions. You see, I live in Tucson, Arizona, a city that swells with visitors in the winter and empties quite a bit in the summer. (Why doesn't anyone want to visit us when it's 110 degrees in the shade?) The irony is that this winter we're in an El Nino, and it's actually been warmer back east than here. Okay, the recent cold front, which started here, has now swept east, but it's still rainy and cold in Tucson. Atypical for the desert.

Actually I love playing tour guide, and it allows me to revisit many of the places that attracted us to this area. Like the old mining town of Bisbee and the beautiful mission at San Javier del Bac. I never forget that Tucson is one of the premier destinations for avid birdwatchers, which describes my brother and his fiance. I'm no good at telling whether that feathered streak was a wigeon or a pigeon, but I do know where the birds hang out. The one bird everyone wants to see is one of the most elusive -- the roadrunner. Oh, they're big enough to see at 26-30 inches, but they're dashing through the cactus, not conveniently sitting in a tree. When you spot a stealthy roadrunner, you're amazed at how they move exactly like those velociraptors in Jurassic Park. They're meat-eating predators with a strong beak and deadly claws, and you can easily believe the current theory that birds are descended from dinosaurs.

This year I do feel sorry for the visitors who have been looking forward to sunning by the pool in their hotel instead of trekking to Tombstone. That just means more sightseeing for me. At least we saw a coyote yesterday -- the roadrunner has to be nearby.



Jennifer Echols said...

I actually have been to Tucson when it was 110 degrees, and I loved it! You're lucky to live in such a gorgeous place. I drove there from Birmingham. At some point during the 15-hour trek across Texas, I got a sunburn on one side of my face like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Caroline Goode said...

Jenn, that's funny about your sunburn. I drive around Tucson in a convertible with the top down 98% of the time, and I have the world's best farmer's tan!