I had what seemed like a very quick vacation in Phoenix, Arizona.  The southwest area of the U.S. is about as opposite of the Southcoast as you can get.

Phoenix is in the middle of a desert, surrounded by spectacular mountains.   The daytime temperature at this time of year averages above 100 degrees, and the nighttime lows are near 90.

The landscape is dusty and dotted with cacti.   Some are small but as you can see, many are huge cactus plants that are tree-like.

Many of the city streets are lined with palm trees.  Those in the west seem to be much taller than the palms you see in parts of Florida.

I didn't encounter any during my four-day stay, but scorpions and rattlesnakes are very common.    When you walk around outside, or even indoors, you need to watch your step.

Early in the morning, it's no surprise to see hot air balloons hovering over the suburbs.  They are usually gone before 8 a.m.  I guess it's just too hot for them to fly later in the day.

No beaches, not much water, and a lot of heat.  They say it's a dry heat, but 108 degrees is still very hot, no matter the humidity.

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