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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Making the most of summertime in Tucson

    The summer heat has a tendency to exhaust students and make them more lackadaisical than they already are, but instead of hugging your air conditioner all summer long, why not get out of the house and take advantage of some of the exciting activities that Tucson has to offer? * During the fall and spring, students are often too busy with work and school, but the summer is the time to take advantage of all that Tucson has to offer. * But ask a hundred different students what their idea of a perfect summer day is and you will get as many variations. * Some students’ ideal summer day would involve sleeping in all day and then going out and partying all night, while others might head outside and take advantage of the early morning hours, when the temperature hasn’t reached triple digits. * I set out to have an exciting summer day loosely based on an agenda of yoga, rock-climbing and sneaking into a four-star resort while allowing some room for the unexpected. * I opted to make use of the morning hours and began my perfect summer day with some yoga at YogaOasis, 2631 N. Campbell Ave. * I had never tried yoga before, so I wanted to find out what all the hype was about. * I figured it would melt any tension that I may have had while relaxing and preparing my mind and body for what was to come. * Having never practiced yoga before, I enrolled in the “”basics”” class offered by Mira Shani at 8:30 a.m. * After borrowing a mat, I found my place in the middle of the room amongst the other students. * I immediately noticed that I had the worst posture of anyone in the room, so I tried sitting up straighter.

    Shani guided the class through the opening invocation – a Sanskrit prayer about inner purity, consciousness and bliss. The prayer began and ended with “”Om,”” which was the only part of the prayer I could recite.

    As the class proceeded, I was amazed at how flexible the other students were; some of them were twice my age and could bend in ways I thought were unnatural. I managed to twist and stretch my body into almost every position without too much difficulty, but there was one position that I just couldn’t do.

    Shani came to my aid but didn’t physically help me into the position. Instead, she instructed me how to adjust and encouraged me until I finally achieved the position on my own, prompting cheers from the rest of the class.

    After the class was over, I spoke with UA economics professor David Reiley, who was my partner for the exercises that required two people. Reiley has practiced yoga on and off for the past couple years.

    “”I become more mindful and more aware of my body and what’s going on around me,”” Reiley said of his experience with yoga.

    Reiley enjoyed his first class with Shani so much that he kept coming back. He tries to practice yoga everyday over the summer, but during the semester he can only find the time to go twice a week.

    Astrid Chan, a UA musical arts graduate student, said she usually goes to the yoga classes offered at the Student Recreation Center but prefers the classes at YogaOasis.

    “”After the class, my whole body is open and relaxed,”” Chan said. “”It releases the tension I get from playing piano.””

    Feeling euphoric and enlightened, I crossed the street from YogaOasis to the Blue Willow Café, 2616 N. Campbell Ave. for breakfast at about 10:30 a.m.

    The back patio was a different kind of oasis in the desert; it resembled the small, quaint backyards you would expect to find accompanying the small, quaint houses in England and was full of well-groomed plants and vibrant green ivy that scaled the walls of the patio.

    It was the perfect environment to enjoy a fresh sour cream and avocado omelet and a cup of coffee.

    Hanging out with cliffhangers

    From there I set off for Le Buzz Café on the northeast corner of Catalina Highway and East Tanque Verde Road to rendezvous with several members from the UA Cliffhangers, a rock-climbing club.

    On the way, my perfect summer day nearly ran into a brick wall, or rather, a canary-yellow Chevrolet Camaro that pulled out in front of us, forcing my photographer/chauffeur to slam on the breaks..

    Proceeding with caution, we drove on and ended up missing our turn, but by making a necessary, although illegal, u-turn, we were back on track.

    I met Aaron Mike, a member of the UA Cliffhangers. Our group of veteran climbers consisted of Mike, a geological engineering sophomore, alumni Sean Harris, regional development senior Mike Carpenter and Harris’s friend Josh Rofs.

    The 15-minute drive up Mt. Lemmon was marked by wide-open panoramic views of the city of Tucson, the charred mountain landscape mixed with the flourishing of new plant life and impossible rock formations.

    Air conditioning was no longer necessary as we climbed in elevation, and we rolled down the windows, inviting the cool fresh air.

    We drove up the mountain and parked along milepost 19, just before the Palisade Visitor Center, and after a brief hike we were at the Ridgeline Cliff at about 1:45 p.m.

    Mike quickly scaled the cliff and secured a belaying rope then gingerly descended along another route and secured another line.

    “”I would probably go to a Sidewinders game and drink with friends and then go to a bar afterwards.””Hamid Nikseresht, sociology senior

    After about 15 minutes, Mike had secured two lines for us to ascend.

    Rofs and I were up first. I crammed my size 11 feet into a pair of size 9 climbing shoes that Mike assured me were supposed to be uncomfortable. The pain I felt quickly subsided as my toes went numb; I was ready to climb.

    “”””I would not be in class and maybe go to the pool.””
    Lindsay Miller, fine arts senior

    Convinced that the morning’s yoga had improved my ability to reach new heights, I scaled the rocky wall, not once daring to look down. I managed to get five feet from the top and had to stop; my feet were in excruciating pain and the next handhold seemed to be miles away.

    “”Sitting at Home Plate (Sports Pub) with an ice-cold beer hitting softballs.””Keegan Gotto, chemistry senior

    Trusting the gear with my life, I leaned backwards and slowly walked down the side of the cliff, astonished at how far I had actually climbed.

    “”I would probably stay home, relax and watch TV.””
    Ryan Foo, undeclared freshman

    Back on the ground, Rofs told me of his other extreme activities – one of which was long boarding down Mt. Lemmon at speeds up to 55 mph, which he was once arrested for on “”public nuisance”” charges.

    What I enjoyed the most about rock climbing was the feeling of Zen it provided.

    “”When you’re rock climbing, the only thing you think about is rock climbing,”” Rofs said. I had to agree.

    Harris, who works as a certified rock climbing guide, commended me for getting as far up as I did for my first go at proper rock climbing.

    A guided tour, like the one I went on, usually costs around $150 per person, Harris said, but the larger the group, the cheaper it is.

    I thanked the gang for their time and accepted their invitation to go out again sometime then headed back to the car.

    Next on my agenda was sneaking into La Paloma Resort and Spa to take advantage of their swimming pool at about 3:30 p.m.

    Sneaking into the resort was a cinch: all I had to do was walk in through the side entrance, act like I owned the place, avoid the towel stand where I would have to provide proof that I was staying at the resort and conceal the fact that I didn’t have a guest bracelet.

    While relaxing in the hot tub, I cursed myself for not bringing my wallet because there was a poolside bar that you could swim up to.

    Having sun dried on a lounge chair, it was time for my afternoon siesta so my photographer/chauffeur drove me home.

    Street with a beat

    After a two hour break, it was time for dinner and I proceeded towards Belushes’ Bar and Grill for one of their delicious teriyaki mushroom and swiss cheese burgers and a Four Peak’s Hefeweizen but was thoroughly disappointed when I arrived and discovered that the restaurant was closed for renovations.

    I settled instead for a couple of slices of pizza from No Anchovies, 870 E. University Blvd. at 9:30 p.m. then hopped on the historic Tucson Trolley to Fourth Avenue.

    A group of six break-dancers was performing on the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Seventh Street.

    “”The tip jar is for tips!”” One of the dancers yelled out before jumping into a combined barrel role and a front flip that kicked off his dance routine. Having never seen the breakers before, I watched them dance for a while before dropping a couple of dollars into the tip jar and walking over to Che’s Lounge.

    Inside, the bar was packed with beer-drinking and cigarette-smoking patrons, a couple of retro arcade games and some band equipment set up along a wall.

    Al Foul, a street musician who has worked his way up to performing in clubs, was entertaining the crowd with his stray-cats, grassroots bluesy tunes on his acoustic guitar while he yelled his lyrics into the microphone.

    I wrote my drink order down on a napkin for the bartender; verbal communication was futile over the music and noise.

    Having had my fill of the Tucson night scene, I walked down to Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., where my roommate was finishing his shift and got a ride home with him at about 2 a.m. Besides missing out on the Belushes’ burger and beer (nothing is ever perfect), I felt I had accomplished my mission of spending the perfect summer day in Tucson.

    A final word of advice to the adventurous: it’s great to have a vague agenda of activities, but it’s important to take advantage of the unexpected. That is what’s most fun after all – going somewhere you have never been before, doing something you have never done before.

    Click here for tips on what to do in Tucson over the Summer!

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