Palm Springs: a stream of consciousness

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.

The view from my hotel room. The contrast between golf course/desert/mountains is quite a striking one

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. 

I ended up buying this denim jacket… not using a store credit card

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?




  1. 19th January 2019 / 00:54

    I’ve never been to Palm Springs but I’ve been to L.A. a couple of times and it’s hot for sure.

    Unless there’s a sign, you can definitely turn right on red. Living in a town now where you can’t (there’s signs everywhere saying “no turn on red”), I’m super annoyed by how much time I waste just sitting there lol.

  2. 19th January 2019 / 01:06

    oh goodness i love a good stream of consciousness post. i have not been to palm springs so i quite enjoy your thoughts. and i have heard its unbearably hot ha. who knew so much shopping? 🙂
    xoxo cheshire kat

  3. 19th January 2019 / 10:43

    So fun to get a take on the USA from someone not from here. Great read!

  4. Kelly
    19th January 2019 / 20:14

    I loved Palm Springs and yes…it’s freaking hot!
    We spent a lot of time shopping as dad had a really bad cold in 45 degree heat and couldn’t stand going outside…it was the only time I’ve ever seen dad suggest going shopping while on holiday.
    It’s such a weird place to visit but I loved it, it’s one of my favourite spots in the US. Did you see all the ladies on their morning walks with wrist and head bands?

  5. 21st January 2019 / 07:32

    It’s been ages since I’ve been to an In N Out burger, but it was fun to go to when I lived in L.A. 🙂

  6. 21st January 2019 / 19:28

    Ahh, love to hear/read someones perception of the US when they’re not from there. Having lived away from the US for 12 years, I have also forgotten what America is really like now and I definitely get some reverse culture shock!! Not too much because I’m usually just in NYC, so I can’t even imagine going into the burbs..! On another note, I could so eat an In N Out right now! 😉

  7. 24th January 2019 / 02:34

    Beautiful pictures and great summary. Everyone in the US wants to know what everyone else in the world thinks of Trump, but are Americans willing to let go of him? Nope. Americans are stubborn and hard headed. They’d rather hang on to the loser than admit he was a mistake.

    You should try driving in Egypt! Except not. Turning on red is such a tiny thing compared to what goes on there. I feel like drivers make up their own rules over there. No seat belt? No problem. Is there enough room for a fourth lane? So there will be a 4th lane even with only 3 actual lanes on the road. Want to race another cab back to the hotel? Go for it! Why not? It was definitely a different experience getting around there.

  8. S
    26th January 2019 / 20:14

    So… what ARE your thoughts on Trump? ;-p

  9. KenP
    26th February 2019 / 05:28

    Trump is a hard right Republican. Most old school Democrats are just about left of center. According to several polls (Gallup, USA Today, Washington Post, ABC News, Pew) the country is mostly further to the left of center and the President does not represent most of American’s ideals of the key issues facing the country. Trump did not win the popular vote but won in the Electoral College (those overseas will have to look that up). Sadly, if “Did Not Vote” had been a candidate In the 2016 US Presidential Election, It would have won by a landslide. It’s because our young people mostly felt that there was no one to vote for that they could relate to and share their political philosophy. Which is why, in your travels throughout the USA, you won’t find many Trump apologists.

    • Katherine
      3rd March 2019 / 13:07

      As an American, I was curious as to your assertion regarding the polls showing more liberals than conservative. A 2017 Gallup poll (written about in January 2018; ) showed that those identifying as conservatives still had a narrow lead over liberals and moderates. So I’m not sure where you got your data? Granted, it shows a trend towards liberalism, but it does not yet show that the majority are liberal.

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