I wrote this on my phone when I spent 4 days in Palm Springs in September, where I had decided to stop over on my way back to the UK from Sydney. As I type this, I can’t quite remember why I decided to go to Palm Springs – I think it was because I had decided I didn’t fancy spending that long in LA, and then I found a hotel in Palm Springs I could use points to stay in for free and it was near some outlet shopping and the rest is history…
NB don’t expect my best photography in this post. As well as stream of consciousness, it’s also an iPhoto stream.
It’s so very hot. It’s been an average of 43 degrees while I’ve been here, every day. It’s so hot my flip flops have begun to melt.
It’s pretty quiet at the moment but I guess that’s because of the heat, making summer the off season which is a strange concept for this Brit. Still, I can tell it must get busy and I can also tell it must be a pretty bustling resort town in the winter – judging by the golf buggy spaces at the malls, anyway. Speaking of malls, I’ve never seen so many in my life. And they’re all huge! I even managed to find a Westfield out here, which is actually one of the smaller ones would you believe.
So I’ll admit I came here primarily to shop, but I’m still taken aback at quite how much shopping one can do here if truly dedicated. You can practically hop from mall to mall, never leaving the air conditioned cocoon of comfort. The square footage assigned to consumerism is quite scary. I went to a Walmart that would have covered at least 3 UK postcodes.
But the malls here are so pleasant. So neatly manicured with lovely fountains and flowers. It’s all such a nice experience you can quite easily forget you’re right in the middle of a barren desert- until you look up and see the rocky, rugged mountains hovering over whatever giant car park you’re currently trying to locate your car in.
Loyalty cards and store credit cards are also big here. I thought store credit cards and their 17000% APRs went out with many of the other scams of the 90s but apparently they’re still alive and kicking over here. Maybe it was just the outlet malls where they figured you were good for a punt. But I’ve never been hounded quite so persistently to sign up to multiple store credit cards before- even when advised I live out of the country and I’m pretty sure that makes me ineligible, the clerk went to check just in case. Yeah that’s a no, love.
Its a commonly cited observation that the US is cheap compared to both the UK and Australia. It’s true, and for some things even more than others. Food, for example. I decided to splash out on trying an In N Out burger (with giant drink!) and was shocked that my total bill for lunch was just over $6. Then I needed to top up my petrol tank just a little, so took a guess and put in $14 worth of gas. I nearly filled the tank.
(I also think I gave the gas station attendant a good laugh as I clearly had no idea what I was doing. None whatsoever.)
There’s a lot of Jesus on the radio in Palm Springs. Not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just noticeable coming from a country with absolutely zero commercial Christian radio.
Driving is easy enough once you get over everything being back to front, except I still don’t get the turn right on red thing. It’s RED.
People I meet want to know what I make of the country. Of trump. I try to be diplomatic but I think my true feelings are all too obvious. I think most people want a sounding board- is this as ridiculous as we think it is? What does the rest of the world think of us?
I’m practicing my diplomacy, that’s for sure.
And did I mention it’s hot?