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TRAVELS > Travelogues > January 2002::Palm Springs, CA


Thankfully, New Year's Day fell on a Tuesday this year, giving many people an extra long New Year's weekend. Taking advantage of this time off, I decided to explore the barren wasteland known as San Bernardino, and more specifically, Palm Springs, accompanied with only a small team of intrepid explorers: Ally (my sister), Jaime, Lil, Tone, and Wendiva. Read and be amazed.

Day 1: Jurassic Park, A Bunch of Rocks, and Tone Takes Wendiva to School

     We started off a bit late, what with my being too tired the night before to do any packing. I ended up rushing and then leaving for Wendiva's house only to remember on the way that I had forgotten some items. I picked up Wendiva first and then Tone (my sister, henceforth referred to as Ally, was already in the car with me). I had planned on picking up Jaime last since the pretty boy tends to take some time getting ready, but after picking up Tone, I was informed that Jaime would probably not be ready, so I went back to my house to pick up some essentials (on-line lodging information for me, Britney Spears and Madonna CDs for Tone) and then headed off to Jaime's house. After picking up Jaime, we started off towards Palm Springs, singing along with Britney as we drove along.
     Around noon, we arrived at the house Lil is staying in while doing her rotation in San Bernardino. We looked around the house, including her room (very empty) and the refrigerator (containing chrysanthemum tea). The plan was for Lil to take us somewhere for lunch, but since she eats her meals at the hospital, she didn't know of any local eateries. She decided to take us to this place near the Cabazon outlets that serves ostrich burgers and buffalo burgers ("eee…" For those of you who have not been hanging out with me lately, that is my new sound effect, which is very versatile, as it can mean anything from "yikes" to "ewww, gross."). Anyway, Lil missed the exit to the restaurant so we ended up eating at a Burger King with a brontosaurus (brachiosaurus?) and T-Rex in the parking lot. Wendiva and I were immediately excited about the prospect of taking a picture with the dinosaur, but I must say that the other people in the party were not. We all ate BK food, and Lil got an amusingly small 99-cent burger, which we all laughed at. We then headed off to Palm Springs and to our motel.
     We arrived at the motel less than an hour later, and it was not bad, except for the fact that the floor was tiled, not carpeted, which is not to my liking. After unloading the car, we headed off for some hiking. We ended up at Palm Canyon, which was pretty cool because it was like looking at an oasis. All around us were these rocky crags and dirt and out of nowhere you'd see large clumps of palm trees. I know I had fun, but Wendiva was feeling a little tired and Tone thought he might have twisted his ankle, so it was not as much fun for those two. We walked for a little over an hour. Highlights of the hike consisted of some really interesting rock formations, plants that looked like baby Joshua trees, and me screaming, "AAAAHHH, a giant bug!" at this large black thing crawling across our path, and everyone else saying exasperatedly, "Geez, it's tiny." (So, I have a thing with bugs…there's nothing wrong with that!)
     After we finished hiking, we headed off to Rancho Mirage, which is supposedly more hip and with more fun places, in search of a restaurant for dinner, but we were all cheap and unable to decide what to eat (are any of you that surprised?). Delirious with hunger and tired of driving aimlessly about (I am talking about MY state of mind and no one else's), we ended up eating a restaurant/tapas bar inside the Marriott or something, which was not as cheap as previously hoped. I have to say that MY food was pretty good…I got seared salmon with ginger risotto and shitake mushrooms and shared a melon and ham tapas thing with Lil, which I liked. But as for what the other people got, you'll have to ask them how they fared because everyone had a different reaction to their dishes.
     After dinner it was back to the motel for a breather before going clubbing. Some of us also changed, which was a good thing since I was wearing warm-up pants and an oversized T-shirt, which may not have been the best attire for getting into a club, and Jaime got all spiffed out in a turtleneck and his leather jacket. We went to a straight club called Zelda's, which was kind of lame. We went there early, so there weren't many people around. Wendiva, Lil, and I were the only people on the dance floor at first. Plus, the DJ was not very good. Every once in a while he'd start playing a good song, but just when everyone was starting to get into the groove (hee hee…Salty Walty!), he'd totally change the tempo and play bad music. The music was very KIIS FM, and Tone and Jaime just sat chatting it up with a waitress while Wendiva, Lil, and I blew everyone away (ha ha ha). After Zelda's started getting crowded, we decided to split and go somewhere else. Lil decided to call it a day and head back to San Marino, where her mom was waiting, and the rest of us headed off to a gay bar called Hunter's. Hunter's was good because there was no cover charge (very important). We went in and it was CROWDED. There were so many people. There were very few women in there, and a lot of the guys had their shirts off. Wendiva and I were very grossed out at the thought of having to navigate ourselves through the sweaty masses, so we made sure we put our jackets/sweaters on, despite the heat. We made it to the dance floor, and Tone and Jaime started showing off their cool moves. Tone gave Wendiva lessons in dancing to techno and house, as it became embarrassingly apparent that she was doing the butt-shake at inappropriate times and not dancing slowly enough at other times. Tone did a good job confusing the gay men in his vicinity while Wendiva showed off her true nature as an agent of the devil by trying to take off Tone's shirt. I was tired and decided to sit out and watch the fun (as a reporter, I must not be too involved in the action, of course). After we had our fun, we went back to the motel for a good night's sleep.

Day 2: Free Food Is Good, Mixing with the Locals, Dumplings, and Lushes

     The following day we woke up late and at my request went to the Oasis Date Gardens. It was very disappointing because the description I found online was nothing like the actual thing. There was what could only be described as a pathway lined with plants that turned out to be the "arboretum." Although we did walk around for a little bit, we spent most of the time in the gift shop where we ate a lot of free samples of dates and other dried fruits and watched a short movie about how dates are grown. I also sampled a date shake and my sister had a date cookie. The date shake was pretty good, although I couldn't taste the dates at first.
     We were very hungry so we decided to head back to Palm Springs proper while stopping at a fast food place on the way. We walked around downtown Palm Springs and discovered that there really isn't that much to do there. Apparently, the stores tend to cater to the senior demographic because they sell lots of faux jewelry and other such trinkets (according to Jaime, old people like that kind of stuff). We did go into a couple of stores like one where they had a lot of autographed memorabilia and a poster store where the owners tried to strike up a conversation with us (but it made me feel very uncomfortable so I left that place as quickly as possible). Tone went to JAMBA JUICE and got something, as well as Wendiva, but they both decided that their smoothies were not very good. Wendiva threw hers away despite Tone yelling, "Don't throw it away! Don't throw it away!" She thought Tone was trying to keep her from wasting food, but I think Tone just wanted the rest of her smoothie.
     We debated as to whether to do more hiking but didn't because a lot of the trails close at sunset or at 5 pm, so we wouldn't have enough time to do that. Instead we all took long naps in the motel. Apparently we were more pooped out then we thought. In addition, Wendiva wasn't feeling her best, so it was a good thing that she got to rest up a bit. Jaime, Wendiva, and Tone wanted to soak up in the jacuzzi, but it was constantly occupied by plump, elderly women, dubbed "dumplings" by Jaime, so they couldn't do that either. We ended up discussing how to properly perform the "bend and snap," which was illustrated so nicely by Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, and playing cards.
      After we woke up from our long nap, we headed off to Ruby's for some diner food. We strolled about downtown Palm Springs again to walk off the effects of our dinner, and Wendiva and Jaime had fun in a hat shop, trying on different things like Viking hats and devil's horns and things like that. I was in there for a short while, but left after almost placing my hand on some fake dreads, which I find to be pretty revolting. We all went back to the motel and caught a rerun of Alias on the boob tube. Wendiva, Tone, and Ally helped walk me through the episode as I have only seen the series premiere and was confused by all the characters I had never seen before. Wendiva and Ally then settled in for the night, with Wendiva reading and Ally watching TV, while Jaime, Tone, and I went back downtown in search of a place to get some drinks. Once again, we found ourselves wandering about unable to decide where to get some cheap drinks. Although I am not decisive by nature, I am impatient, so I got everyone to go into a "supper club" called Muriel's. It was a pretty nice place, but the patrons were rather aged, unattractive, and racially homogeneous. Tone got a Midori sour, and Jaime got an apple martini. I told Tone I'd take a sip of his (since I was driving), but I ended up taking more than one sip (more like 7 or 8). Anyway, the place was deserted, and the DJ was not playing particularly good music. Muriel's was nice, but it was not "happening." We had our fun, drinking and watching one middle-aged lady in leather shake her groove thing, and then we left for a place called Badlands. That was a no-go as it was a lot of old people and the type of place where there are pool tables and sports TV, and we were not in that kind of mood. We ended up going back to the motel and falling asleep.

Day 3: On the Road Again

     So, the third day was pretty uneventful. We packed all of our stuff and started our drive back to Los Angeles, heading into the bright midday sun and saying goodbye to this sleepy desert town.



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