We're back from les Springs des Palmes, where the rugged beauty of the landscape is juxtaposed against predominantly drab cinderblock architecture that would make an old Soviet factory town blush with pride. More than ever, I notice that the population seems to belong entirely to one of four subsets: the obviously-Tourists, the obviously-Retired, the obviously-Gay-and-Fabulous, and lastly those who look suspiciously like they would not feel out of place in a meth lab.
Palm Springs is where one goes to spend an off-the-radar Christmas. The town is quiet (especially quiet this year, we noticed that most hotel parking lots were gapingly empty) and unless one wishes to induce a nervous breakdown by trying to shop the after-Christmas sales at the nearby outlet mall, there's little to do aside from eat, read, and watch DVD's. Even though I brought my laptop, internet connection was spotty at best, requiring sitting outside in the cold and wind to piggyback onto some unknown neighbor's unsecured wi-fi.
However, there are a couple of attractions which you can still catch this week, if you want to keep that Christmas-at-zero-humidity feeling going just a little longer. First there's the WildLights display at The Living Desert: acres and acres of holiday lights, music, fog machines, and an "iceless" skating rink. There's also a half-acre (my guess) model train setup, which features sawmills, a loop trestle, the Grand Canyon and several other scenes. Very cool, in all senses of the word (nighttime temperatures hover near freezing).
Mix Santa Claus vs. The Martians with some robots, reindeer and Godzilla, and general Christmas kitsch tossed in for good measure and the result is the RoboChristmas house, featuring very unique and bizarre Christmas displays (click on link to see pics) which include robot and other "found item" sculptures juxtaposed against more traditional Christmas decorations and a total of 7 million lights in displays over a four acre area. Not your average Candy Cane Lane! (Fans of alien autopsies will be delighted.)
I enjoy our visits to PS, but am always glad to get home. We're mostly unpacked and laundry has been done. It will take a few days of hourly hand lotion and lip balm application and ingestion of a gallon or two of water to get my coastal equilibrium back and lose the dessicated look, however.