The past few days I’ve been in Tucson, Arizona visiting my Grandpa. Ah, it’s been wonderful. The days are slow, and there’s nothing to worry about, so I’ve gotten some beautiful nights’ sleep.

And Arizona’s beautiful:

A monsoon's coming over the mountains.
A monsoon’s coming over the mountains.
prickly pears and their fruits.
prickly pears and their fruits.
Early-morning prickly pears.
Early-morning prickly pears.
A bee pollinating a Mexican bird of paradise plant.
A bee pollinating a Mexican bird of paradise plant.
Monsoon clouds approaching the golf cours.
Monsoon clouds approaching the golf course.

And one afternoon I visited Biosphere 2 and took the 1.5 hour tour. It was good, but I expected it to be a bit more – wow.

Biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
The "ocean," which is aided by a wave machine.
The “ocean,” which is aided by a wave machine.
Inside the biosphere.
Inside the biosphere.

I dunno – the biosphere is a great research facility, but it all seemed superficially utopian in a weirdly sci-fi, Margaret Atwood-esque way. Maybe it’s because I finished “Oryx and Crake” last week, but amidst all the beauty I was vaguely unsettled.

But the best part of this trip is spending so much time with my Grandpa. But it’s mostly been reading, sleeping, walking with my Grandpa and his rescue dog, (Little Orphan) Annie, and recording my Grandpa’s stories. Man, he’s got a lot of them. He’s a walking encyclopedia – Grandpa Google. I’ve taken down a lot of his Yiddish histories, stories about growing up in upstate NY, and random factoids ranging in subjects from Captain Cook to Chinese doctors.

Grandpa and Carol have taught me a little about bridge, too. It’s a world. I like it much better than poker, though. Poker’s all about lying. Bridge is all about communicating.

Tomorrow I’m flying out to Antigua & Barbuda to see my friend, Alisha, and experience Carnival! I’ll be in her dancing troupe, and she’s gotten me a costume and everything. It’s hot pink bikini, spangly, and has a lot of feathers. I’m rather nervous to be running about all exposed for a week, but I gotta keep in mind the mentality I found in Bodrum. If I decide it’s fun, it’s fun.

And then, after a week in Antigua & Barbuda, Alisha and I will head off for Nicaragua.

I can’t really believe I’ll be leaving the country again tomorrow. But this is the new normal, and I do love it.

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