I wasn't accepted into Arizona's witness protection program. Instead of going into hiding, I'll report on my impressions of the state's capitol city gleaned during my visit there last week.
Phoenix seemingly revels in the insatiable American consumerist appetite. Its vast sprawl reflects its status as the nation's fifth largest city. It may once have been an idyllic oasis but Phoenix has become a paved paradise. Anything that's green is likely artificially implanted and sustained with imported water.
If the town has a soul, it may be hidden at the 13th hole of an exclusive golf course or at the bar of an obscure cantina- locations I didn't consider visiting. The closest I came to feeling connected to the place was when I hiked in the modest mountains surrounding the city. As this photo illustrates, however, development has overtaken the landscape.
Phoenix has terrific amenities for those who can afford them. The sports, nightlife and dining options are superb. Yet the city's economic disparities are markedly pronounced. This mythical bird might consider the ultimate price of excess.