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Ahwatukee Take 2
As mentioned in the Waymo post, I recently visited Phoenix. To hike in South Mountain Park, I returned to Ahwatukee, the fancy suburban-style neighborhood where I'd been in spring 2021. This Airbnb was actually a half-mile and around the corner from the previous one.
More than any of my travels in the past years, I had a chance to see the before and after. I visited my old Safeway without a mask, walked the miles-long circle road, sat down at the nice pizza place instead of sneaking a slice in the parking lot. I knew where to find delicious breakfast burritos, and saw a new brunch place open. There were the same trails, but I could hike the opposite direction or try a new route. I crossed to the north on one trip, and went much further than last time to visit the Buena Vista Lookout. It definitely felt easier going this time, partly because it's January and not March.
On the Lyft from Baseline Road back to Ahwatukee, the driver, cool and relaxed, started telling me about how it was 20 years ago. None of this was built up, this was all desert. He was up in the hills as a kid with his friends and scorpions and stuff; looking back he feels lucky to have survived. I said something about the trail and he laughed, there were no trails back then.
I was only here when the governor opened up vaccine appointments to all ages. There were ups and downs when I interviewed with Amazon's Quantum division and an NLP startup. I met an awesome maps person on a video call. Sometimes I imagine that we can send images back in time to our past, in dreams maybe, when we're in the same place. Not to say that I believe this, but some superstitious part of me collects evidence for and against, nonetheless.
Last time I never saw the Airbnb hosts because there was a separate entrance. I saw a guy on their porch once and waved. Their dog would sometimes come to the door and freak out, I could imagine his dog-brain churning guys, there's a stranger in the house, you've got to believe me. I figured it was a covid precaution, but it made everything more awkward, for example when they asked why I took something from their mailbox (I'd ordered a t-shirt).
This time I met the hosts right when I came in. It's going to be better if I go back to shared-space Airbnbs again to save $ and be social, but it didn't seem like we had a lot in common to talk about. The hiking was good, but I still spent too much time inside. So I have aways to go before I feel like I am using these trips to connect with nature and other people.