The call of the Wild West

After a bloody long journey (thanks, Delta for 4 pointless connections) and a missed flight, I reached my destination, Phoenix, Arizona. Ray and Satoko-San were waiting to pick me up from the airport – the second time since our chance meeting in Japan! It quickly materialised into something wonderful and magical.

The first night was spent at a luxurious resort which was a surprise treat from them. This is the view from my room, scattered with cacti and desert flowers, and faraway waterfalls, humming birds and critters.

View from my balcony

View from my balcony

Next stop, Tombstone Arizona. Yee-haw. The old west was etched in every pebble I crunched on.

Wagoneer

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It took a while but it finally dawned on me; I’m in wild country! AND I LOVED IT.

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The place were Geronimo surrendered. Sad day for the Native Americans. This was their land.

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After changing landscapes, undulating hills and clear blue skies, home sweet home,  for the next 6 days.

The view from the patio. I never wanted to leave. My biggest crib throughout: STARGAZING WAS A NO-GO. Because, hello, full moon…thanks for ruining it for me 😦
Patio

Day 3. Ray told me he was bringing me to Coronado National Park. T

Sometimes, you’d drive for an hour or more before encountering another car or truck. The roads just kept going and going.

Roads

But the landscapes surrounding us changed drastically; barren stretches of deserts, lush hills, shrubs, rolling meadows with cows and horses grazing, thousands of acres of ranches. I wanted to move permanently. But err, border patrol officers keeping out illegal Mexicans and potential Singaporeans…and you don’t fu*k with em.

After an hour or so drive UP. Total drive from Ray’s to Coronado was about 3 hours. Had to stop for a picture. See that sprawling desert below? We came from there. Yeah…long, arduous drive.

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Let the hiking begin. Their national parks are as big as Singapore (mildly exaggerating, but it felt like it) and perfect for someone like me who loves hiking. Oh, just don’t get lost. Then you’re bloody dead. Literally.

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Shit got real when Ray said he spotted bear tracks and smelled cat’s pee. By cat, I mean mountain lions. Not Apple’s OS, unfortunately. Ray had two guns with him, but he wasn’t very positive since they’re experts at crouching and leaping right at us. I also don’t condone the use of guns…but I wasn’t particularly fussy about that, then.

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Ray leading the way. The summer skies were a splendid, vibrant blue (and bloody hot). I was baking.
Thanks, Banana Boat, for saving my hide. Not a single puffy cloud was seen that day.

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Driving back, downhill. I could stare out for hours at this. The terrains often became very bumpy. More dirt roads than anything. So, if you’re driving, make sure you’re on an all-terrain vehicle, built for teeth-chattering, bum-crushing rides. Ray’s all-terrain was battered with sand, pebbles and rocks.

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The scenic drive back; flanked by pine trees on both sides.

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Unequivocally the highlight of my US trip. I had the privilege of encountering a herd of beautiful horses frolicking under the sun. This friendly filly galloped to say hi.

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We exchanged pleasantries.

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At Chiricahua National Park. These monumental boulders that are centuries old stood erect like proud guardians protecting their lands. For as far as my eyes could see, every where I turned, these huge rocks, weathered by natural elements, were a stark contrast to the summer blue skies.

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Erosion is slowly taking its toll on these great phenomenon.

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A very necessary selfie.

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The last few remaining days in New Mexico, Ray and Satoko-san brought me to a beautiful little town nestled in between two valleys. Bisbee.

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Quaint, artsy and a touch of indie shops and colourful homes. It was a mining town before they shut it down.

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I skipped in delight when I saw this. The Beatles and I.

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And finally, it was the last day. The drive to Arizona, Phoenix airport.

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Sons of anarchy anyone? I slid down the car seat right after I took this picture because the biker saw me snap this picture. =/

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I loved New Mexico, Arizona. I never imagined just how vast America truly is. Wild, untamed, harsh and sometimes abysmally barren. Exactly as it should be.

And on to New York. Concrete jungle and a different kind of wild.

 

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