Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Back Where We Started

Since the sis is too swamped with work since coming back from Portland to do her long-overdue second post on the city, we're moving on without her first ... to sunny Palm Springs! (But check back for her post on how 3 squawking Asians held up a chairlift while snowboarding in Oregon. It could just have been us...)

We left Portland in the midst of a grey wet winter for good ol' southern California. We flew on Southwest - our favourite US domestic carrier after JetBlue - cos they let passengers check in two bags each for free. Which is, well, two more free bags than suckypucky American Airlines and United. Those wretched moneysuckers. Plus, Southwest is pretty affordable and at least you get fed a packet of nuts and a drink. While the snack selection can't beat JetBlue's free-for-all basket selection of blue corn chips, animal crackers and Doritos munchie-mix, Southwest's offerings did the job when it came to fighting the munchies during the short flight to Los Angeles.

Upon landing at the airport, we picked up our spiffy rented Chrysler Cruiser and headed for Palm Springs right away. No time to waste when it comes to chasing sunshine during winter! We loved what greeted us on the other end of the highway two hours later:





The weather was beautiful. We got tanned golden brown while walking around outdoors in air-con temperatures.

Winter in Palm Springs!

Life in this desert oasis is a bit atas or geared towards high-spending retirees. Beautiful resorts and golf courses abound, alongside posh restaurants, chic cafes and boutiques-that-I-didn't-even-consider-entering.

But travelers on a budget need not forgo a visit to Palm Springs. We got a room at Travelodge for about US$60 per night.

Travelodge - highly-rated on the ever-so-reliable TripAdvisor website

Travelodge held true to its promise of 'affordably hip rooms':

Easily the most modern and stylish of all the motel rooms that we've stayed at in the USA. And we have stayed in MANY rooms on this trip!

Crisp white bed linen! *salivate* I love love love the feeling of clean white sheets!

The room was perfect. We were really pleased to be treated to such a nice stay during our last days on the continent. It really helped that Pizza Hut down the road had an unbelievable promotion - US$10 for any pizza: any topping, any size! It was really hard not to go crazy and 'whack' an entire large Super Supreme just because it was the most value-for-money. Our inner Singaporean cringed when we forced ourselves to be sensible and stick to a modest 'medium'. Even then, I was stuffed, especially since the cheerful waitress kept bringing us Pepsi refills non-stop, on-the-house.

Fantastic weather and much-missed palm trees aside, our real reason for being in Palm Springs was for the Desert Hills outlet mall! It's one of the biggest Premium Outlets mall in the US and it took us two days to cover all the stores. Aside from scoring some good deals for ourselves (well I had to buy new work clothes, didn't I?) we helped friends pick up a few branded goodies from Coach, Kate Spade and Gucci. Ooh la laaaaa! But even with the factory prices, there was still stuff that I flat-out couldn't afford or see any good sense in splurging on - like Diane Von Furstenburg's dressy prints and golden Jimmy Choo slingbacks. As drool-worthy was they were, I just couldn't find it in me to be a guilt-free high-spender. (And I guess that's a good thing? The husband seems to agree.) While the shopping in Desert Hills was good, it just didn't have the added kick that tax-free shopping in Oregon did!

In between trawling the discount racks and chowing down on pizza, we embarked on a more serious mission in LA - paying tribute to Michael Jackson's star along Hollywood Boulevard.

Here's to you, King of Pop

The rest of LA didn't hold any interest for us since we had already played tourist in Hollywood and chilled out on the idyllic Santa Monica pier at the start of our trip. Except for one thing (or person, rather):


Why does my face look 3 times bigger than hers in this photo?!

Tsui Lyn and I were classmates in SCGS in Sec 3 & 4, and later in the same arts faculty in VJ for 2 years. Since then, she's been living in LA and working in the film industry doing post-production marketing initiatives. It was great catching up with each other 12 years later over coffee along 3rd Street Promenade in hip little Santa Monica.

Back in LA. Back where we started this amazing journey down the Americas 10 months before. We hadn't even made it home yet but it felt like our adventure of a lifetime had come full circle already.


Tracy Su said...

Oooh, hello Ruilian!! *wave*

Maybe on my next trip home, I'll get to see both of you :)

Yeepster said...

Yea, the hotel room is stylish! More than the one we had in Melbourne Travelodge and that one costs US$100! Expected to see at least flat-screen TV... oh well, at least had a nice kitchenette to heat up some soup.

Wow! Clear blue skies & snow-capped peaks! Beautiful!

Yi Lin said...

Trace: yes, looking forward to meeting up! Even though it's prolly gg to be in December! Come back earlier for say... Mid-Autumn Festival mooncakes!

Cuz: yeah, Palm Springs is truly an oasis. For retirees... it's rather boring after awhile!

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