Travel: Palm Springs

This post is part of the YAY IN THE USA series. Palm Springs is the second of seven legs in our travels.

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The Palm Angels hum, "Ahhhhhhhhhh..."

We started the drive to Palm Springs From Los Angeles early afternoon after lunch, whilst also getting re-accustomed to prepaying for petrol ("How much gas goes into an Elantra?" Answer: Not that much.)

If there was one word that could describe the drive, it would be this: Long. Traffic in Los Angeles is horrendous. What would ordinarily take an hour WILL take three. /endrant

The first two hours involved passing by freeway exit after freeway exit (in slow motion, because, traffic). The last hour is where it gets interesting - once you see the massive (emphasis, massive) rows of windmills, you know you are near.

Then you start to see the palm trees... and the sight is so beautiful all that driving don't matter no more.

The topography of Palm Springs boggles my mind. Its landscape is surreal, with what appears to be huge boulders piled up to great, rocky mountains. Each mountain appears close enough to trek to its base (they are not; it is just an illusion - but consider the scale and now think about the size of each individual boulder again).

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PS: I regretted not taking any photos of the windmills.

Things We Loved

Palm Springs homes

Palm Springs is renowned for its brand of mid-century modern chic. In Palm Springs, you 

must 

see Palm Springs homes. 

MUST.

Whether guided or not, there are two sorts of tours generally you can go for:

  1. Celebrity home tours (Note: No, the celebrities do not live in these houses, but imagine how annoying that would be.)
  2. Architecture tours

We skipped the guided tours - okay to be honest, we were far too tardy and left booking one far too much to the last minute. So... we conducted our own tour, with the help of @googlemaps (specifically @google My Maps).

Best decision ever, by the way.

Being the Masters of our own destiny has one major advantage: you can spend as long as you want at a photo stop. Besides, the only downside is you lose the stories and history and etc... But that's what @google is for.

I won't link the websites we used because there is an abundance of them online. I would suggest doing the research a day before the actual "tour" though. We did ours in the car, which was slightly awkward.

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You would be able to tell that Palm Springs has a relatively relaxed vibe. It also has good shopping and what would ordinarily be great party spots.

However, our run of bad weather continued in Palm Springs - our Airbnb host told us that you'd expect in Palm Springs an average four days of a rain a year... Which happened to just be exceeded by the solid week of rain they were getting and expecting to get in the coming days.

This dampened the mood for everyone (including us), and leaving the pools at the Ace Hotel and The Saguaro looking like [pretty, but] rather lonely places...

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Above:

Ace Hotel and Swim Club

701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

http://www.acehotel.com/palmsprings

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Above:

The Saguaro

1800 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

http://thesaguaro.com/palm-springs/

Below: Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium 1701 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264 http://moortenbotanicalgarden.com/

We were told many amazing things about the "local" Palm Springs botanical garden, but honestly were not too certain about the hype... Boy were we wrong. This place is spectacular and deserved every bit of the hype.

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Where we stayed

We managed to secure an Airbnb very close to everywhere we wanted to be, and had the warmest Airbnb host in a quirky little home (that apparently, we were told, Frank Sinatra once partied in).

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We spent New Year's Eve with our host in perhaps the most memorable travel and Airbnb experience to date - sharing dinner at a Thai restaurant as it poured a storm outside.

As we prepared to leave, our host mused (and this will stay with me forever): "Isn't it strange - today, and this is New Year's Eve, we're really strangers, brought together by Airbnb and having dinner together in this place. And tomorrow, in the New Year, we'll be off on our own ways, miles apart. How strange is that?"

Strange indeed. But Bill and Louise, you guys were ace.

Postscript: Time spent in Palm Springs, California - 2 days, 2 nights.