My first full day in Arizona has left me wishing I knew more Spanish…Joking aside, today introduced centuries-old artifacts and a taste of southern Arizona culture. Outside of Phoenix, we visited the remains of the Pueblo Grande, the central village of the Hohokam people. The largest remaining structures at this archeological site today are a ballcourt and walls of a platform mound. Based on their building techniques, the Hohokam seem to be fond of walls; yet, interestingly enough, these walls were not meant for defense. However, communities with walls remain a mysteriously popular topic in the current day…
After traveling to Coolidge and devouring the first tacos of the day at Robelto’s Taco Shop, we headed to Casa Grande – another Hohokam ruins site. The immensity of this structure was best taken in lying on the paved walkway and staring up at the adobe walls (which provided much-welcomed shade). An owl was standing guard at the ruins, perched in what looked like an ancient window, protecting the remains from giant pigeons.
The most surprising fact of the day actually came in the Tucson Best Western parking lot when we came face to face with an animal called a “javelina,” which, despite looking exactly like a wild boar, is more closely related to a mouse than a pig (says Eric).
Lots of cacti and strange animals today, and more to come.