Friday, March 19, 2010

A Day of Contrasts


Contrast l: Last Friday we were on Playa Requeson on the IMG_1771


Bahia Concepcion in Baja; today we were at 8,600 feet on Mount San Jacinto in Palm Springs, California. When we left the valley at 10:30am, it was 80 degrees; 10 minutes later it was 45 degrees, and on the north side of the mountain, much colder when the wind chill was factored in. And there was SNOW on the ground! It was just as beautiful as Playa Requeson, but so, so different. The trip up the mountain on the Palm Springs Tramway was great! This tramway claims to have a greater elevation gain than any other in the world. We’ll admit it did feel like there was more exposure than on the tramway up Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa which we rode a year and a half ago. There was also a real “bounce and sway” to the car each time it traveled over one of the five towers on the way up. The scenery was spectacular.


Contrast II: We traveled down from Mount San Jacinto about 1pm and drove 5 miles south to the Tahquitz Canyon Visitors Center on the Cahuilla Indian Reservation. From there, we took a 2-mile hike up to a waterfall at the head of the canyon. This hike through the desert canyon was an amazing contrast to the alpine meadows we’d walked through 7,000 feet above, just hours before. The canyon was gorgeous, filled with beautiful rocks and a burbling stream the whole way up.

2010 baja usa4

Contrast III: We just spent three months living with a mixture of gringo snowbirds (mostly retired married couples, with a smattering of loner men) and very traditional Mexicans, from conservative families to macho men (sometimes a little too macho for Cathryn’s liking). This afternoon we sat in a sidewalk bar on Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs and found we were in a distinct minority as straight couple. We just didn’t see many gay folks while in Mexico, so Palm Springs, with a strong gay presence, was an interesting contrast to our experience in recent months.

We tried to sign up for a tour of famous (for their architects, not their owners) mid-century modern homes, but the tours were filled for the next 10 days, as it seems to be spring break here, a detail we’d not anticipated. Instead, we drove our truck around the northwest part of Palm Springs through a gorgeous neighborhood filled with ranch style 1950s and 1960s homes with lovely walled gardens. Very nice.

We enjoyed the day. The contrasts made for interesting conversation while we explored this area. Tomorrow we leave for Death Valley. Should be fun.


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