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Published: January 25th 2015
We have now settled into our house in Arizona. I forgot to mention in the last Blog the price of gas on the way here averaged about $2.00/US gallon or about $.50/litre USD. When we left Niagara the price was about $.98/litre CDN. Gas pricing will help a little to off set the much higher exchange rate we're paying. Our house is okay although we're a little disappointed that the patio backs onto a noisy road. This is more than made up for by the golf course, fitness facility and olympic size pool that is part of the Starr Pass Marriott resort. The golf course is designed by Arnold Palmer and as you can see from the pictures, it's a desert style. Our rate, as vacation renters is $45.00 which is great value for this premium course. It also has very good practice facilities that we have free access to. We've played the course already a couple of times. It's very challenging but in excellent condition with many interesting holes. The course requires strategic play and for those who know my game, strategic golf is an oxymoron. There are numerous golf courses in the area but it will be difficult to
find any that provide the same value as Starr Pass.
Tucson with a population of appx 500,000 is quite spread out and has less density than Phoenix/Scottsdale. The city is nestled among 4 separate mountain ranges with various passes that have been developed around the core of the city. Starr Pass resort is about 5km from the core so it does require a little driving for shopping etc. Our initial grocery shopping experience suggests the quality and price of fruit and vegetables are superior to Canada and other categories comparable except for meat products which, at least anectdotally, appear to be inferior.
We've spent a day touring the downtown part of Tucson which, unlike most other cities, has very few high rises. The University of Arizona is located here and it has a large campus in the downtown. There is a streetcar service that we took ($4.00 each for a day pass) that provides a good overview of the core. Walking along 4th street is interesting as it reminded us of Queen Street West in Toronto. Lot's of "funky" retail shops, restaurants and artistic areas.
One famous incident in Tucson back in the 1934's was the capture
of John Dillinger, one of America's most infamous bank robbers. He and some of his gang were holed up at the Hotel Congress and were arrested by Tucson's finest. We happened upon a reenactment of his arrest outside the Hotel and there were numerous vintage vehicles from that era parked on the street.
The City has also preserved Old Tucson which contains many historical houses as well as El Presidio which was an Adobe brick fortress built in the early 1800's. Also in this area is quite a few art shoppes that had an eclectic range of art and crafts. Of course we had to stop for some Taco's and Beer at El Charro's, reputed to be one of the best Mexican restaurants in the area. Overall an interesting downtown that wasn't particularly busy on the Saturday that we toured.
Temperature here has been quite enjoyable with highs around 22-25 degrees celcius. It cools down quite a bit at night and we've had lows of 5 degrees with some nights turning on the fireplace!!
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