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Phoenix
3/28/06-4/1/06:
I took a quick trip down to Arizona in order to FINALLY get my new crown placed by my dentist brother David. It
also served as a good excuse to take a day and play some golf as well. Left on a Delta flight Thursday morning
and sat next to a real "Chatty Cathy" who kept me from cracking my new book. She seemed like a nice lady who
probably doesn't get out much, so I indulged her in a conversation that lasted the duration of the flight (an hour
and a half). Once on the ground I made my way to the new central rental car center. As of January, the Sky
Harbour Airport has adopted an ever popular system of dealing with rental car customers by shuttling every
rental car customer to a central location in order to pick up their vehicles. It seems to work quite well, though the
shuttle takes about 15 minutes from terminal to car center. I rented a car and was at my brother's house in
Gilbert within 20 minutes. David was at work and I was able to visit with his wife Natalie for a couple of hours. It
was great to catch up with her and the kids. They really have a great family and are a lot of fun to be with. By
4:00 I was in one of David's dental chairs. He worked on my situation while also working on a wisdom tooth
extraction in the next 'room.' Sounded like a pretty intense procedure, and I was glad mine was simply a crown
placement! Dave did a great job on my tooth and the whole thing was quite painless.

Dave had to stay with the kids that night while Natalie attended a meeting, so I took the opportunity to drive out
to Scottsdale and have dinner at a great Japanese/Pan-Asian restaurant called "
Sapporo." Tee and I had dined
there about 3 years ago when it first opened and really enjoyed it. When I first arrived I was a bit shocked by the
huge crowd filling the indoor/outdoor bar area, as well as the number of people waiting at the front for a table. I
told to hostess I didn't have a reservation but was alone and hoped to get a seat possibly at the sushi bar. She
took my name and I went toward the bar without a lot of hope for actually getting a drink. However, just as I
approached the bar I spotted a single seat open up and hopped right up. Halfway through my Sapporo beer I was
called by the hostess to take an open seat at a great two-person table just in front of the sushi bar and on the
elevated section of the restaurant from which there is a prime view. And a view is what you want at Sapporo,
because this place has obviously become one of THE places for the beautiful, wealthy people of Scottsdale to see
and be seen. The people-watching was almost enough to distract me from the food. Almost. I ordered mostly from
the sushi menu although the pan-asian/kitchen menu is full of temptations. I had the Hamachi, Tai, White
Salmon, Saba, Toro, Uni, and Tako/Seaweed salad. All but the Toro and Tai were very good. I also had the
"Premium Sake Flight," which consisted of four generous servings of various sake (including a Mu Dai Ginjo and
Wandering Poet Junmai Ginjo). For a price of only $12 I felt is was a perfect potable companion to the sushi.
Service was friendly, but a bit slow due to the large crowds.

Although I kept Dave and Natalie up late visiting with them in their kitchen later that night, I was able to sleep in
a bit the next morning and joined David at his local diner (I think it's called 'The Good Egg') for breakfast. I took
advantage of being deep in the Southwest and ordered a breakfast burrito which turned out to be fabulous. We
then headed out for a day of golf at the wonderful
Dinosaur Course at Gold Canyon. Gold Canyon is located
about 15 minutes from Dave's house in the heart of Superstition Mountain. David and I were able to arrive with
just the right amount of time to browse the Pro Shop (where I splurged on a hat), hit balls on the range for about
20 minutes, and putt for another 10. Not only were we able to play as a twosome, but easily kept about a full
hole's distance between us and the group in front the entire round and only saw the group behind us within the
last few holes! It really was a perfect situation. The course was challenging, but playable. The weather was also
ideal, with light winds, light overcast, and temperatures in the upper 70's. These are the times I like Arizona
best! David and I both struggled with our games a bit, but considering the limited amount I play golf nowadays I
can't complain, and regardless of how we played, I think we both had a great time just hanging out together.


















On the way home from golf David drove me by the house they just purchased and plan to move into within the
next several weeks. It is a truly beautiful home which is larger than their current home, but within the same
community (Finley Farms). This will allow them to continue to attend church in the same building and the kids
to attend their same schools. I'm very excited for them and can't wait to take full advantage of the new guest
room next time I come to town!

Natalie let us boys have the night to ourselves, so I dragged David to a local
Pho (Vietnamese Noodles) restaurant
I had looked up in order to introduce him to one of my main culinary weaknesses. Turns out the place (Saigon
Pho and Seafood) is just around the corner from his dental practice. The Pho was good (not great), and served it's
purpose in showing Dave what it's all about (I'm determined to take him to my favorite Pho place, Pho Tay Ho,
next time he's in Salt Lake).

We then headed into town (Phoenix) to check out a live Blues place that was recommend to us by the snack bar
girl at the golf course earlier that day. The place is called
Char's Has The Blues. I liked the place right away. It's
an old house that has been converted in to a club, with a comfortable looking patio area, bar, pool table room,
dance floor and "main" room. We took a comfortable seat well to the right of the stage. Dave stuck to his Mormon
guns and let me do all the drinking. Much obliged. The waitress was friendly and attentive, and the crowd was
diverse, with all types and ages of people comfortably dancing and mingling. In fact, our favorite crowd member
was a VERY entertaining white lady of about 80 years of age who "danced," hooted, and howled through every
song. She was the life of the party. People seemed friendly and very willing to dance. There was also a feeling
that this is a spot popular with amorous couples, and made me think we might be better off bringing the girls
next time. Ironically, the only complaint I had is the music itself. The band was OK and kept us entertained for a
couple of hours, but a "Blues" band they were not. The play list was soul/funk/R and B (Stevie Wonder, Gap
Band, Temptations, Earth Wind and Fire, etc.). It's not that the band was bad, it's just that I was expecting a
"Blues" club to feature the Blues! I guess I had also been spoiled by my trip to Memphis the week before. Well,
we left about 11:30, and I was ready to go. However, leaving the club I was struck with a sense of inadequacy
knowing that "grandma" probably had another couple of hours in her!

The next morning I slept in again, and then only really had time to enjoy Natalie's home-cooked breakfast before
heading out to the airport. The return of the rental car and check-in at the airport went smoothly. I said
'goodbye' to a sunny, 85 degree Phoenix and an hour and a half later said 'hello' to a Salt Lake City that was
smack in the middle of a minor blizzard! See you again soon Arizona!
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