So what is it like?
It’s not like Barstow, the Bastogne of the desert, for one thing. It’s a town (or clump of towns, from Desert Hot Springs slightly to the north, to Cathedral City, to Palm Desert to La Quinta to Indio,) that clearly has money in it.
Whereas Barstow has motels, fast food outlets and one 4 lane road through it, Palm springs has walled off communities, massive resort complexes and freaking palm trees lining the main roads. Barstow, people drive through, maybe stop for a snack or to sleep overnight but it’s not a destination city.
Palm Springs is.
It’s really quite beautiful. Sure there aren’t any lost bits of Americana or rusted out cars in people’s front yards but there are acres of new car lots, some a large as entire blocks, there are huge shopping malls and IMAX theaters.
It’s definitely a car town (I don’t think I saw one person biking around,) and if you want to get from point A to point B, it usually quite a distance.
It’s the type of town that has streets named Bob Hope Blvd, Frank Sinatra street, and Philis Diller Dr. It’s a town of shiny SUVs, tinted-window Mercedes and town cars driven by little old men who do not exceed 15mph.
I can see why people retire to this area. It’s quiet, peaceful, surprisingly lush and friendly. Yesterday, a nice old fella lifted his walker to say hi. Today, a woman about my age actually talked to me in an elevator. For no reason (though I was wearing my cool sunglasses.)
There always seems to be something going on as well. Not far from my hotel, they had closed off a street and set up a little market. This screwed up my nav system something fierce but it was nice to see. If I wasn’t on a quest for another Barnes and Noble, I would have stopped and checked it out.
But hey, for anyone looking for a place to relax, especially in the winter when it’s raining like hell and the temperature is just hovering above freezing, this wouldn’t be a bad choice.