Residents of Yuma call themselves Yumans, a playful claim to embody a universal set of common traits. And yet, like the Saguaro cacti that populate their native Arizona, they are unique to this area. Yuma and its people should not exist, let alone thrive. The town is in the Salton Basin of the Sonoran Desert, a sandy region that averages only 3.5 inches of rain a year. Most Arizonans, however, do not see the romantic nature of a town--a genuine Brigadoon--emerging where it should not be and dismiss Yuma as a backwater. "Why are you going there?" I was asked more than once, when I told residents of Phoenix or Tuscon that I was to visit this southern place. For residents of Phoenix and its elite suburb Scottsdale, home to some of the wealthiest people in the US, Yuma is no more than a pit stop on Route 8 as they make the six-hour trek to San Diego.