In Palm Springs, everything is close together and lush. Brett comments that the desert is so big that people have to live very close together to feel safe.


We attempt to go on a tour of mid-century modern architecture but it turns out more like a tour of rich people's hedges. Whoever writes books about Desert Modernism forgot to mention all the giant fences and solid steel gates. The only house that wants to be seen is "The House of Tommorow," a great pink building that is juts out ostentatiously above the street. Elvis picked this one for his honeymoon.

The only friendly building in this whole awful town

Just before sunset, we make a brief stop at Cabot's Pueblo Museum, but it's closed.

We eat dinner at a restaurant beside Claude Bell's Cabazon Dinosaur statues. A religious group now owns the dinosaurs, and there is a creationist bookstore in the belly of the Apatosaurus. We climb into the dinostore and notice that Bell's natural history murals all have disclaimers mounted next to them.

Brett and I read a children's book about the place: "So, as these dinosaurs are made out of cement and metal rebar, so are you made by a divine creator."


Roadside cement sculpture as religious metaphor

Our Oldsmobile's suspension is shot from Brett's off-roading in the desert, which makes the freeway bouncy and terrifying. We join a rush of lights and begin the descent from the hills. An hour later we're in the quiet and well-sprinklered streets of Century City, looking for Brett's great-grandmother's old apartment. She has relocated to an assisted living facility in Florida, and they've had trouble selling it. The realtor lets us into the empty condo, and we get our first good view of Los Angeles, standing on the Astroturf balcony. We put our sleeping bags on the carpet and shower. 


The city glitters