Monday, July 18, 2011

Things you probably didn't know about Arizona

1) All areas of Arizona don't get blazing hot in the summer. You may not realize but Arizona has mountain ranges and the higher the elevation the cooler the weather. So while Phoenix and Tucson are miserable, places like Flagstaff are nice (except in winter when it snows).

2) Our light system is set up different. For left hand turn signals (green arrows), they follow after the light has turned green to red as opposed to having a "leading left turn signal" where it gives you the signal before turning green after being red. Although this is not true for all areas, which creates problems because people don't read the signs, dart out into the intersection, and turn left on red. It also is problematic for out of state drivers who get confused and for those of us who go back east.

3) It's not as hot as you might think. We have what I would call a baking heat as opposed to a frying heat. Because we don't have humidity, you can find coolness in the shade and by using water. Many houses in Arizona do not have AC (central or otherwise). They use what's called swamp also called evaporative cooling. The concept comes from the Native Americans who would soak blankets in the river and hang them over their doorways. When the breeze would blow through the air would cool. And that's basically how the system works.

4) We don't have trouble with bugs. We do have bugs: roaches, mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and huge beetles with giant mandibles (which scare me to death). But you don't have to deal with as many as you do back east because it's hot and very little water.

5) Arizona does not have a true dessert. The technical term is "semi-arid" because we have rain. We have two rainy seasons: monsoon (which occurs around June until August) and in the winter. It's nice because it cools off in the evening when it rains (that's when it usually rains). So we have normal 70 degree weather as opposed to 115 in the afternoon.

6) The vegetation is very lush. You can eat cactus and their fruit. You can also grind mesquite pods for bread. We have a variety of wildlife including coyote and javelina (pronounced Havaleena) which aren't pigs. They are related but not pigs.

7) You learn a lot about water conservation here despite people abusing it. A lot of people have rain barrels to collect rain water to irrigate their plants. They also plant plants that are native and therefore don't have to be watered as often.

8) Having a low humidity actually has a lot of benefits. You can dry your laundry outside in the time it takes to dry it in the dryer. And not a whole lot of things mold because things dry to quickly.

9) One of the things that annoy people from back east is having to consume water. Arizonans usually drink a lot of water and order it with their meals. It's not a cheap skate thing to do. Because of water conservation, a number of restaurants will not provide you with water unless you ask for it. Some people like their water with lemon; others prefer it plain. Also you have to be careful about drinking things like soda which act as diuretics. So in the summer, I avoid them. You have to drink water. There's no way to get out of it. I've had several people visiting having bouts of nausea and whatnot simply because they waited too late to drink water (or refused to). You can't wait til your sweaty or dry mouth because you'll never get sweaty (evaporation is strong here) and dry mouth means your already dehydrated. So it's real trendy for people to carry water bottles everywhere.

10) Dress code is super casual around here. Even in church (I personally hate the Hawaiian shirt with shorts look). I wear skirts a lot because it allows air flow and doesn't look underdressed. Flip flops are big here. I prefer my birkies.

11) Arizona is actually a very conservative state. We may be neighbors with San Diego, but there are very few pockets of so called hippies. Of course the Universities are liberal, but all Unis are like that.

12) Health is a big thing here. There are very few overweight people because outside of the summer the weather is nice. There are ample places to hike and bike.

13) There are only three big cities (that is if you consider Flagstaff big): Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. The rest of the state is largely rural with pockets of towns.

14) We have the largest number of Native American speakers.

15) 25% of the population is Catholic followed by 23 % of evangelicals (the largest group being Southern Baptist). Yeah, Catholic country!

16) Our education system is one of the worst because our constitution requires a balance of the state budget. So lots of cuts.

17) Lots of site seeing areas like the Grand Canyon.

And I think that's it.

1 comment:

  1. :-)

    My middle sister lives in Arizona, but I've never been. Most of that makes a lot of sense to me because I grew up in far West TX where a lot of that applies too. I thought I was going nuts when I moved here and couldn't take 80 degree weather when 100 wasn't so bad before.. wasn't until we visited last summer that I realized it wasn't me changing, but the difference humidity here makes.

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