June 26th, 2010
I’ve long held the belief that Papua New Guinea is a land of horrors. Between the cannibals, the biting frogs and the over 100 species of poisonous flowers, it would give Neil Gaiman nightmares.
For the sake of comparison, however, I’ve been looking for local anti-tourist destinations that might be slightly comparable to Papua New Guinea, you see, I have no passport, nor do I have any time or money with which to travel, so if I want to spark my horror writing mind with new and horrifying venues…I better start looking locally.
Luckily, Arizona has been doing a bang-up job of making themselves horrible lately. Forget about the Stasi-esque immigration bill, Arizona has a lot more going for it than the distinct possibility that the next time you run a red light, you might have to prove your citizenship. Forget about the move by Governor Jan Brewer to bump out English teachers who speak with an accent – see my previous blog about Arizona for details on that one….no, Arizona has a lot more going for it, check these beauties out:
1. Whitewashing Elementary School Kids:
An elementary school in Prescott, Arizona has a mural that depicts the kids who attend the school running and playing. Most of the kids in this elementary school are black and brown, hence the mural…. Well, some local racists decided that a big mural that prominently featured black and brown children was unacceptable and began the really classy move of screaming racial epithets at the school and children therein.
The principal’s solution? Whitewash the mural. Yes, seriously, the school’s solution to raving, lunatic crazy people racists was to bow to their demands and lighten the skin of the children in the mural. Seriously.
As you can well imagine, there was public outcry and eventually the principal backed off and cancelled his whitewashing project.
Okay, so alright – they did cancel it. But the fact they even considered whitewashing it in the first place is so horrible, I can’t help but think all the damage has already been done.
2. Lion Patties:
A restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona decided to honor the World Cup by serving, yes; you guessed it – lion burgers. Actual burgers made out of lion meat. Before you get too upset, the restaurant wants you to know they were farm raised lions, not like those wild, noble, endangered ones in the wild in Africa that they were trying to honor by grinding them down and serving them with ketchup and cheese….
It was a one-week event; guess there wasn’t quite enough lion meat to stretch it out until USA beats Ghana….
I think it’s probably a good thing that Chicago didn’t get the Olympics….lest the rest of the world decide to honor us by frying up Bald Eagles.
Venomous Bark Scorpions in particular, also throw in that mix the Southwest Tarantula, which while decidedly less venomous is no less creepy. I realize that scorpions and giant fuzzy spiders live all over the southwest, but they have a special concentration in Arizona, specifically Phoenix.
I suppose it’s a matter of taste, I prefer tropical So Cal insects like cockroaches and brown widow spiders….wait, I think I’m losing my own argument here….well, the point still stands – they’re one creepy freakin’ insect.
From May through October the average high temperature in Phoenix is between 95 and 105 degrees. I realize that ass hot weather is a thing that some people like, but really? 105 degrees? How can you like that?
I had a work buddy a few years back who moved to Phoenix briefly. In mid July he was crossing a busy street when his flip flop melted to the newly laid asphalt. He was forced to abandon his flip-flop and hop to safety. He then got a blister when his bare foot touched the 105-degree sidewalk.
I have no evidence that this story is true, but he looked really, really serious every time he told this story, and he told it a lot.
5. Speed Traps
AAA has labeled the entire state of Arizona a speed trap. Let me repeat myself, the entire state of Arizona is a speed trap. They issued a warning in their recent travel guide that due to the heavy handed use of speed cameras mounted along the freeways, not to mention hidden in vans that are scattered along the sides of the state highways….you are extremely likely to get caught speeding in Arizona.
There are conflicting pieces of advice out there for drivers who get caught by these cameras. On his Consumer Watchdog Radio Show, Clark Howard recently fielded calls from people who had been nailed with hugely expensive tickets while driving through Arizona. Some said they had simply not paid the tickets, some had contested the charges, Howard said to ask a lawyer. I say drive through Nevada instead.
In short, if you can’t make it to Papua New Guinea this summer, try Phoenix. To be clear, I don’t necessarily blame the residents of residents of Arizona; I look to the systems in place. We could all be Arizona, and from the looks of the immigration bills brewing in places like Boise and Topeka….we might just soon be…..