Saturday, February 4, 2012

Palm Springs

I love the desert.  I love the vastness, the stillness, the silence, the light, the colors, the smell, the feeling of being so tiny and insignificant. It puts the whole world and our place in it, in perspective.

The first time I went to the desert was in my early twenties when I was backpacking. I arrived in a tiny oasis town in the north of Chile by rusty bus and spent a week in the Atacama Desert, purportedly the driest desert in the world. It was unforgettable. (The fact that I had a lovely affair whilst there with a native Indian who breathed into my hair as we rode bareback together into the desert as dawn broke over the mountains, may have had something to so with it.)  Since then, I have been to the Moroccan desert, the Bolivian salt flats and the Australian outback, but never the American West.

That is why I was so excited to visit Palm Springs. Everyone said, "Don't go. There's nothing to do and it's full of retirees wearing pastels." OK. There was that. But there was also beautiful architecture. And the desert. Wonderful barren, rocky desert surrounding the PS oasis. So I left the golf courses to the men in lemon and pink and immersed myself in tumbleweed, palm gullies and cacti.