Before I forget, here is the view from my room. It is one of the holes of the golf course, where they hold a PGA tournament every year:
Not too shabby :)
Friday started out with my waking up around 2:30am, which is about on par with when I start to wake up at home for work, so that was expected. Checked my Blackberry for email, had a couple already. Made myself go back to sleep and woke up once again, but finally got up at 8:30. That's some good quality sleeping in, especially since I went to bed at 10.
After first stopping for some decent maps, John picked me up and we needed some breakfast. Now, bear in mind that though I had heard spectacular things about Krispy Kreme, I had never actually had any donuts from there, so this was my first experience. We had a nice server who after finding out I was from Canada gave me a Krispy Kreme mug to go along with my donut purchase. My first donut of choice was a chocolate dip... I have a new obsession. It melted in my mouth it was so good. I won't be able to eat crappy Tims donuts anymore after that, wow. This may become breakfast for the rest of the week!! We each had 2 donuts and then left the rest for later (amazingly they survived the heat in the car; very resilient, these donuts.)
Upon leaving there, I snapped a pic this "car", which appears to be missing a vital part
We left Krispy Kreme and headed further out of the city towards Saguaro National Park. We first made a stop at the International Wildlife Museum, or as we later found out its "true" name, the Dead Animal Museum. Lots of taxidermy and Supercroc!
We left the museum and headed towards the actual National Park, but the normal road to access the park was closed so we were left to take an alternate route. We stopped at the Vistors' Centre and went to pay the park entrance fee. We stopped to talk to one of the staff to get a trail map because we intended on walking a trail or two. He asked if we lived closer to any other national parks because it would be cheaper to get an annual park pass, but we said no, since John doesn't live close and I certainly don't because I'm from Canada. He asked me what part, and I said the East Coast (not figuring anyone here has any idea.) He said try me, so I told him New Brunswick, and then he said something about Fredericton, and I asked where he was from: get this.... he said Bangor!!! Of all places, I ran into someone from Bangor, can you believe that?!?! So we had a nice chat about NS, PEI, NB and Bar Harbor/Yarmouth. Unreal.
We headed out to the first trail, armed with lots of water, sunscreen, hats and a crazy idea that we could walk in 38 degree heat. By the end of it I thought I might die, and at one point in my heat-induced delirium I actually uttered the words: "I wish I had snow right now." Scary. I think I went insane there for a minute.
We did manage to do the whole trail and saw great scenery such as this:
Standing there looking at miles of cacti, and no tall trees like I am used to, is quite a sight to behold. I wasn't expecting to see the huge dichotomy of flat desert with tall mountains in the immediate horizon. The saguaro cacti are everywhere here, they really are the tallest vegetation around. It just seemed so weird to me, especially thinking of the tall evergreen and deciduous trees right in my backyard.
On our way back from the park, we saw this sign on the road. After almost croaking from the heat, and being out in the desert, this has to be one of the weirdest sights to behold:
"Ice forms on bridge first" Who knew?
Friday evening was spent tracking down some much needed Halloween decorations. Ok, well, maybe not "needed" but definitely desired :) Target was a disappointment for Halloween, unlike last year. I did happen to stop by Wal-Mart to look for karaoke CDs (nothing we didn't already see in Portland) and picked up some stuff for Halloween. I nabbed 2 sets of outdoor blacklights (like outdoor xmas lights), some candles for jack o'lanterns, 2 more carving kits, the new power saw for carving (can't wait to try that one!!!) So a decent haul this time around thanks to Wal-Mart.
I also hit Costco, where I picked up a book (Shopaholic & Sister) and drooled over some really nice xmas ornaments that I couldn't take back with me. I then stumbled on a really nice pillow, agonized over whether to buy it b/c it was $35 US. Walked back & forth down the aisle a couple of times, then gave in.
After that we weren't feeling up to the task of karaoke, I had overeaten at supper and wasn't feeling so great. We stayed in and watched some TV. I also got to open my birthday present - a beautiful crucifix necklace in white gold with a sapphire in the middle. I absolutely love it.
Saturday was a pretty slow day really. Did a little more shopping around, and after sleeping on the new pillow, I decided it wasn't worth $35 and took it back. Both of us were recovering from either not enough sleep or time zone issues, so we ended up napping and missing church. Thankfully I did manage to wake up in time for the meet & greet, so I headed there and saw lots of familiar faces and met some new people to mark the start of the conference.
Sunday morning was tough as we had to part... it was hard. I had the conference to distract me and it was full of info. I met another customer from Ohio and I think I made his day by discussing parts of how I do my job, and even gave him a demo of some reporting I do after bringing my laptop down to the conference. Also had a nice dinner with my main support guy, it was nice to sit and chat with him one on one. After that, I came back to my room to finally start to write some emails back to people, when my co-workers came along and coaxed me down to the pool/jacuzzi, so I gave in for a bit.
So all in all a great time so far. I am really looking forward to making plans for future visits with John and spending more time together. :)
Monday ends up with my having a good chunk of the day to myself, so I hope to get some more shopping in. And now that it is the equivalent of 4am at home, I think it's time to go to bed!