South Phoenix's Night Life
They told us not to go. They told it would be dangerous; we might get shot or mugged. They thought we were crazy. Did we listen? Nah. South Phoenix at night was no big deal. We actually had a lot of fun on our walk down Central.
We got there around 9pm and parked at South Plaza. The small carnival in the parking lot was just closing and the cops were making their presence known. We wandered around warily cracking jokes about the danger obviously not forthcoming. As we took some flyby pictures we noticed a group of kids walking ahead of us. They had just left the carnival and were making it known that they had fun. We nonchalantly caught up to them in hopes of discovering what kids do at night in South Phoenix.
Joseph’s brilliance leading in to a conversation with the kids was marvelous. He told them that we had just moved into the area and we were wondering what there was to do. The kids responded in an outgoing manner. They acted like all teenagers act, loud, seemingly witty, and with all the flare of a showoff. The kids told us that they pretty much just hung around the streets until they got in trouble with the police for doing as such. They gave us some advice on the good restaurants in the area and they were generally right. Joseph had a Carne Asada burrito at a little 24-hour, drive-thru, Mexican restaurant that at least satisfied his hunger. While getting food we picked up some Spanish newspapers and tried to read what little we could manage. It was a very different experience trying to get the gist of the news in a different language.
As we continued to walk around Central Ave, we noticed that not all of the stores had bars on the windows. Though only about half of the stores had lighted signs, it didn’t detract from the charm of the area. We felt oddly comfortable in this part of the city at night. There weren’t very many people around, and the ones that were either ignored us or were very friendly. It was about the same as any other area of Phoenix. People are people.
After out lovely walk, we got back in the car and headed for home. As a sarcastically twisted experiment, we called Natalie (a member of our group who did not feel comfortable accompanying us to South Phoenix at night) and told her a small story. Jen started by saying “Oh my God, my car has been stolen with Joseph in it! I saved Joseph from being mugged! It was crazy!” Natalie’s response was, “Your car got stolen?!” We couldn’t keep up the charade, so we laughed and shared our actual experience with her. It was a valuable insight, proving once and for all that South Phoenix is not such a bad place at all.
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