|Adobe Rose – down town dreaming|
For my first two nights in central Tucson I stayed at the beautiful home of Marion and Jim Hook at the Adobe Rose Inn Their traditional, award winning Bed and Breakfast, is stuffed with eclectic furniture and artifacts from the mix of cultures which typifies this part of South West Arizona. American, Mexican and Native American features are all blended into a fascinating melting pot of style and design, which is one of the reasons why this part of the states is so interesting to visit. The bathroom was beautifully tiled and there is a pool if you need a dip for when things get a bit too hot to handle in the Arizona sun.
Originally built in 1933, the Adobe Rose Inn Bed and Breakfast is located in the historic Sam Hughes neighbourhood in Central Tucson, just two blocks east of the University of Arizona (UA) and only four blocks from the new Sun Link Tucson Streetcar.
The most requested breakfast from returning guests to the Adobe Rose, is the steel cut oatmeal with maple cream and home made banana ice cream. I can confirm it is absolutely delicious.
|Awaiting the oatmeal special|
Marion and Jim are a cultured and well travelled couple who go out of their way to provide you with local tips to make the most of your stay. They are an absolute mine of information about the area, and welcome a lot of guests visiting the nearby University of Arizona. There were a couple of astronomers staying there when I was there. Star gazing is big in these parts, but from my perspective – so is shopping!
|Sunny sea horse|
A trip across the Mexican border to Nogales (some may call it ‘No Go’ Nogales, but not me) was a lot of fun. There’s no sales tax here and you can buy the gorgeous hand made Mexican glass and tiles and mirrors and Talavera ceramics, for a fraction of what it would cost you elsewhere.
The Day of the Dead is also big here and you will see lots of skeleton related products, which are quite cool, if a little gruesome. Many small shops which suffered when visitors stopped coming for a while, have now become super cheap pharmacies and dentists undercutting the more pricey but identical American offering over the border..
|Drugs ‘r’ us!|
So, when you’ve done your shopping you can stock up on prescription drugs and get yourself a new set of porcelain veneers at the same time! What’s not to like? We had a lovely meal at La Roca which is quite a famous Mexican restaurant just across the railway line, serving speciality steak and prawn dishes, and of course when in Mexico, you have to have a Margarita. Or two. They taste so much better here than they do anywhere else for some reason.
|La Roca – neat Nogales eatery|
It seems funny just walking over the border into another country without so much as anyone glancing at your passport, but coming back, there is a more of a queue. The American Border Police can always be relied upon to treat you with a degree of suspicion, which makes you feel as if you’ve been up to no good even if you haven’t.
|It’s dead cool in Mexico|
Some Americans are reluctant apparently to cross the border into Mexico, because of a perception that it isn’t safe. Nogales is a great town to visit and needs that perception to change if it is to survive economically.
|San Xavier – Mission quite possible|
A trip to the San Xavier Mission which is the oldest active mission in the states, since its founding in 1692, was also an interesting port of call. It is set on the second largest Indian Reservation in the USA and is still a thriving spiritual and educational centre. It reflects the Spanish history of this part of the US which was called New Spain at one time in its history.
|Making Mass fun!|
Cultural diversity is a real strength of this part of the world and something you need to make sure you enjoy and appreciate when you next pass through these parts. It reminds me that we’re all one nation under a groove..
|Cheerful Carlos at La Roca|