Last time I went to Palm Springs it was only for one night. One night ‘tween Las Vegas and La Jolla.
Yep, it’s clear to all those in the geographical know, I forced the issue. I do admit I didn’t quite realise how much of a torsion I’d put onto the Carmichael charabang until we still hadn’t got to our pit stop hours and hours and hours after we left the Strip.
Also this was August. The height of summer and in Palm Springs that means one thing. It’s rather hot.
It was rather hot when we pulled up at the motel we’d (Carmichael mom and pop, Daughter #2 and boyfriend) booked.
Needing some perspective here I will tell you that, having grown up in a modernist house in New Zealand, I have been for quite some years desperate to indulge in a spa treatment of modernism back in the heartland of the movement. A veritable whirlpool of butterfly roofs, glass, concrete block, single story design stemming from the 50’s and early 60’s is my utopia.
I wanted to rent a house. I wanted to stay at a cool hotel. I wanted to drink cocktails and look fabulous, Darling.
I could do none of these things due to the brevity of our stay, the fact the kids were under 21, they, the kids, had no interest in Palm Springs and Mr Carmichael’s interest was centred on the golf courses. Hmmm.
I compromised. I promised myself I would return so it didn’t matter. I booked the Palm Tee Hotel on East Palm Canyon Drive.
Oh my Lord, a word to the wise. Compromise is never a good thing.
The owner/manager met us outside the gate as we fell from the relatively cool car and hopped around in the 112 degree heat.
“The AC’s not working,” he informed us keeping eye contact to a minimum.
“Don’t get the suitcases out, ” I shouted at the offspring and companion.
I got cross with Mr C who seemed to think we might still be staying there. I noted the inside sofas outside and the decrepit nature of the Palm Tee’s surroundings once inside the gate, deciding this, the defunct air conditioning, was a benefit in disguise.
“When’s it going to be fixed?”
Mr Carmichael got cross with our surly host because we’d already paid. He demanded our money back and a recommendation of a real hotel.
We were handed the mankiest phone directory I have ever cast eyes upon. This sent my husband into the stratosphere apoplexy-wise.
I suggested the kids went outside. They weren’t too happy given the 112 degrees but could see how the burning land was lying and exited at pace while we had a frank and sweaty conversation with the owner that included him contacting his bank and refunding our money.
We got out of Dodge. If you want a laugh/ more insight read some of the reviews on Trip Advisor. You will wonder how he manages to keep a 4 1/2 star rating.
We stayed up the road at the then Holiday Inn now the Seguro. We had stunning views of the San Jacinto mountains, sunset and the bar. I was both relieved and happy.
Still jet lagged the next morning Mr C agreed to drive me round while I snapped the modernist masterpieces I had come to sample.
The drive was a great success. We even found the Parker. At least the numerous photos provided some yin to the one night only yang.
I lost my camera in La Jolla.
I am left with one photo of that 24 hours in the Springs. It’s of my daughter taken by her boyfriend outside the hotel room. In the background is a car-park. It is not a modernist car-park.
You can see so many things needed putting right this trip.
I rented an Albert Frey house in Deepwell.
With a fabulous pool, authentic furniture and you will remember, grapefruit for the ripening I was in heaven.
We did not drive.
And most of the flight was ok apart from the minuscule head and leg room and Almodoverish “I’m So Excited” crew and events that we were subjected to from time to time above the desert.
“There may be some turbulence into Palm Springs,” the air steward informed us about forty minutes out as he strapped himself in to his jump seat.
Somehow Mr C failed to hear the announcement. It was therefore a surprise, nay shock, to him how dramatic the approach to our destination was.
It was very bumpy. I am, here, employing understatement. It is the first time I have known a seat belt to actually serve a purpose and keep our heads away from the ceiling of an aeroplane.
I even thought for a flash there was a wee risk of my being air sick but I am made of sterner stuff and this was my idea after all.
“Won’t be doing that again in a hurry, ” Mr C whispered to me as we taxied to the terminal.
A chap at baggage collection told me that his neighbour had wept while she devoured the escape manual. He, he said, had decided to do exactly what she did in the event of catastrophe.
There was no catastrophe. We were here and it was a mere 90 degrees. Bliss.
I leave you with a soupçon, a taster, a metaphorical iceberg tip of Mid Century modernist magic.
I have only taken 738 more.