Interesting little factoids suitable for the China Rhyming blog pop up in the unlikeliest of places. I while back I spent a couple of days in Phoenix and Scottsdale promoting Midnight in Peking. I cannot but recommend the excellent Poisoned Pen booksoire there, a murder/thriller readers treasure trove run by the dynamic Barbara Peters – it’s a delightful place, Barbara was a great host and a nice crowd came along and bought books – what more could you ask for. Well, I did get a bit more. Some book lovers took me along with them for dinner where I was staying at the fantabulous Valley Ho Hotel, built in the 1950s with all the hubris of that decade in America and a now beautifully restored to its beach blanket Babylon hula hula glory.
Anyway, while in Phoenix I did see this photo from the archives in a local tourism and what to do magazine – a downtown Phoenix street from the 1920s where apparently all the Chinese run opium dens were….this is by Jackon and First Street where you could have found Chinatown or China Alley approximately where the US Airways Center is today. Opium smoking was made illegal in Arizona in 1909 apparently but the local cops were reporting having raided four Chinese dope dens in 1911.