Many years ago on a very different journey of discovery I met two girls from New Jersey at Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls. We spent nearly 24 hours awake and talking (and running). It was the first time I’d made friends en-route and I can only wish they’d all worked out so well. I met them a few more times across Europe and in America. It’s been over 4 years but these last few days I have had the chance to renew that friendship with Brie who has since relocated to Arizona with her boyfriend Colin (a professional private detective. Cool).
Brie’s job is pretty cool too. She’s an elephant handler at Phoenix Zoo and used one of her days off to take us backstage. Tania and I both got to feed one of the three elephants that Brie looks after and watch as someone else gave one a shower. Have you ever wondered why our world is so normal and animals like those Dr Seuss drew don’t exist here? Then take a step back and imagine hearing of elephants for the first time, their rough skin with a few short tough hairs. Ears bigger than their heads and a nose they can pick things up with. That’s pretty strange to me and seeing them up close and personal was a privilege. Next on our list was a personal favourite of mine. The gorgeous little orangutan called Kasiah was just 2 years old and enjoying the cheerios the handler was feeding him. I got to shake his hand and watched with interest has he immediately withdrew and took a sniff of his hand to better understand what he’s just been in contact with.
On our first night in town Colin and Brie had recommended a drink at the local brewery. But it’s a popular place and parking is hard. Check out this shot of Colin’s excellent 45 point turn. Our troubles weren’t over then though because some genius in the state government decided that foreign drivers licenses are not valid ID here, in Arizona. Oh it’s valid in California and lots of other states, all of them I think, but not here. Plus even a 90 year old wouldn’t be allowed into a pub without ID because the offense is not to let in underage people, it’s to let in those without documentation. So we had to drive back to the house and get passports instead. Frustrating but worth it in the end.
They’re getting married in July 2010 so Levi, we might have to move forward that plan to climb Independence Rock.