David Fitzsimmons: Just a little primer to help our snowbirds acclimate to ... well, everything

2012-12-08T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T10:56:19Z David Fitzsimmons: Just a little primer to help our snowbirds acclimate to ... well, everythingDavid Fitzsimmons Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

On behalf of Tucson I want to welcome all of our winter visitors here with a hearty "Bienvenidos" - that's Spanish for, "drive faster, granddad."

In the spirit of hospitality made famous by Geronimo, a great man who once said, "take their boots, but leave their bodies for the vultures," I have assembled this nifty guide for newcomers - which I am pleased to say has been disavowed by the the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau and most emergency room physicians.

With this primer we'll cover the wildlife, local points of interest and food of our desert paradise, a town famous for its yards festooned with metal coyotes, gravel and weeds, or as we like to call them, native plants.

The plant life here is beautiful, bizarre and out to get you. Did you know saguaros are members of the porcupine family or that jumping cactus can jump over tour buses or that prickly pear fruit can be plucked straight off the pad and eaten like apples? Well now you do. Skype your friends with your savvy knowledge and text them a photo of your scarlet-spine-infested tongue.

Did you know hummingbirds hum because they don't know the words?

One species of bird, the quail, is so enamored of punctuation that every year it grows a black exclamation point out of the top of its head. This later becomes an apostrophe that falls off when it reaches maturity and feels less possessive.

Southern Arizona is home to the wily wildcat, a creature with beautiful markings and a grudge against ASU. I have no idea who tomcats are named after but I do know bobcats are named after a guy named Bob. These Bob-like cats keep our feral poodle population in check and love jackrabbit stew. And yes, you will find scorpions here, and yes, our governor eats them for breakfast every day.

Aside from the cold-blooded lizards we affectionately call "lawmakers" there is no more iconic reptile in Arizona than the rattlesnake.

Rattlers are notoriously uninhibited and will readily shed their skins after just a few drinks. Rattlers will warn you if they are about to strike by sending out a memo from their union headquarters.

Shop at our world-famous swap meet and marvel at what people will buy when they are fed a steady diet of beer from the back of a golf cart. Or take in the astonishing Biosphere 2 - more than a terrarium, it's a gift shop!

Take the kids to Old Tucson, a re-creation of an old Western town that was built for the movie "Fahrenheit 451," or just pass out poolside after drinking too many margaritas. And you know what we say about the morning after -but, it's a dry heave!

We all love the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and so do the lazy worthless wildlife who are thrilled down to their little beaks and claws not to be on display down the road at the International Wildlife Museum. They'll come out of their dens and tap dance if they think you're a taxidermist.

Take in the Titan Missile Museum. Dug by an elite army of 42,000 prairie dogs during the Cold War, this enormous hole in the ground houses Arizona's most Freudian object. Check out the Pima Air and Space Museum's breath-taking collection of air, which includes a vial of thin air from Mt. Everest, something called "rarefied air" and a nugget of smog from Los Angeles.

The food here is to die for! If you've never sampled a chile pepper before, you're in for a treat. Stuff as many into your mouth as you can at one time and munch away at them like grapes.

When steam shoots out of your ears and strangers rush at you with fire extinguishers, you'll thank me for the fun memory.

Hopefully your choking episode will be serenaded by mariachis who, stuffed into tight polyester clothing that leaves them gasping for air, will squeal and flail at their instruments while you're trying to eat your nachos.

Tucson is the birthplace of the chimichanga, a dance modeled on the lambada. If you're out at one of our 4,796,400,318 Mexican restaurants be sure to ask the mariachis if they know "The Chimichanga."

Those mysterious frisbees on your plate are called tortillas. We roll them up like soda straws and, like Scarface snorting coke, snort the beans up into our nostrils until our plate is clean. Try it. It's fun!

On behalf of our governor, let me shake my finger in your face and welcome you to Tucson for the season!

And by the way, the light is green.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Latest Fitz Report video

More

Fitz studio: How to draw the President

In this video tutorial, Star cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons teaches you how to draw the Preside…

Latest Newsmakers video

More

Dr. Peter Rhee on mental health

Dr. Peter Rhee discusses mental health and other issues surrounding gun violence.

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...

Beautifully cleaned windows.... Pass it on!

Call Crystal Clean today!  520-325-7829

Fall Classes are going on now @ KU Studios. Click here for a schedule.

Kids Unlimited is a non-profit 501(c)(3) performing group for …