We Arizonans already know our state is unique, but we often lose sight of just how extra special — some would say flat-out weird — it is. So what really makes Arizona stick out from the rest of the nation? From driving in kilometers to dodging horses, cattle, and ostriches on the road, here’s some surefire signs you’re in Arizona.
1. Autumn means absolutely nothing to half the state.
The temperature has dropped to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The rest of the state is getting out their puffy jackets and snow chains.
2. There are mountains everywhere.
From low-lying rolling hills covered in spring and autumn wildflowers to 10,000-foot skiable peaks, there are no flatlands in the Baby State.
3. All the ladies and gents are packing pistols.
There’s signage prohibiting firearms and ammunition at various places of commerce, education, and sometimes worship. But you’ll see a shootout reenactment in many an old-timey township — and right near a school.
4. Road signs suddenly switch to kilometers.
Certain parts of the state, down by the border, measure distance not in miles but in metrics. Yes, we’re worldly that way.
5. The streets are full of horses, cattle, and ostriches.
You still see people riding down a paved road in full Western regalia on a Tuesday, as well as horses hitting up drive-through liquor stores or hitched up outside taverns.
6. There is no shortage of bars.
We probably have more bars than churches, though the race is a close one. The only things we have more of are mattress stores, casinos, and antique shops. So we can get drunk, pray, pass out, play blackjack, and buy a vintage chandelier all within an afternoon. And we do.
7. Everything is in Spanish.
Street names, city names, building names — you don’t even realize it if you’re from here, but if you’re not, you’re probably having a heckuva time with Siri. And if it’s not in Spanish, it’s a derivative of an indigenous word.
8. It can be hard to find food that’s not spicy.
The cuisine has diversified from old folks’ buffets and taco stands to food trucks, international restaurants, and haute cuisine — but it’s all spicy!
9. You drive really, really, really fast.
That is until you come up on a two-wheel-drive truck loaded well past its roof with everything they bought from a little old lady’s yard sale — then you have to slam on your brakes.
10. The governor is impeached — again.
And the capital city’s sheriff is in jail — again.
11. Fresh fish is not available on menus.
Except for the most expensive restaurants, which get it flown or driven in from California or Mexico. Tortillas, on the other hand, will always be fresh.