Saturday, August 13, 2011

California Vacation, Day 4

The Date Tree hotel in Indio, CA has to be one of the best hotels ever. Seriously, there were so many little touches that showed they actually cared about their guests. The beds were so comfortable! I enjoyed not having to pop my neck after waking up. I especially liked the 24-hour pool and hot tub setup, which I repeatedly took advantage of. Also, the continental breakfast is very lavish, you can make your own waffles!

Now, on this day of the trip, my friend insisted on taking me to a local date garden, the Shields date farm and grocery store. I never thought I would enjoy dates so much. I snatched a bunch of goodies to enjoy back home, including date sugar, and giggled over the random tourist-y gift products, as can  be seen in these photos:
Example of the birthday popup card

These drink recipes are actually cutting mats
These are some of the date gift boxes available at Shields

My friend bought us some date shakes and we went to the attached theater to watch The Romance and Sex Life of the Date. This movie chronicles the history of the farm as well as how difficult it is to cultivate dates, which is even more impressive when one takes into account that 95% of the date crop in the US comes from the Palm Springs area.By the way, a date shake tastes a lot like a vanilla ice cream shake, but with random textural changes as one sips up a chunk of fruit. I liked that it was low fat and had nice fiber content, definitely something I'll try to reproduce. Outside, I caught a view of some of the date palms, which are actually all over the desert valley:
There are bags on these trees in order to protect the ripening dates from spoilage by rain.
I will also show here photographic evidence of my friend's unfortunate car that was bought for her. It is an old Volvo used in driver's education, and the teacher thought it would be great to have her students autograph her car. I only managed to get good shots of the roof, but rest assured the doors have graffiti as well:

I feel so sorry she has to use this car everyday.

That evening we decided to hit up the downtown art museum until the street fair opened. The exhibits contained local art as well as some masterworks donated by collectors. The museum's policy was that no pictures could be taken of works the museum did not own, which was unfortunately about 85% of the artwork on display. The one we explored first was Native American comics and comic-style artwork. Can someone explain why the comic book Tribal Force only published one issue? It looked so bad-ass, I certainly would have read it had I known of its existence! Other artists created visual commentaries on the racism that cloud views of native cultures, such as the Cleveland Indians mascot. One interesting piece was of a girl with a moonscape backdrop done in anime style, but the museum felt people had to have an example of what anime was, and set two manga books by the picture. My friend and I both felt that Trigun and The Ring were not exactly contextually relevant to a piece that had more in common with Sailor Moon, but such is the silliness of some so-called art authorities. There were also more traditional native artworks, such as rugs, baskets, pottery, and sculptures. It was a great contrast and blending of ancient and modern cultural voices.

Also of interest were glass media displays, one such piece looked like someone thrust a thin pane of glass into a tree, but on closer inspection, the glass is a thick chunk like a rock! The modern art wing was more often puzzling than not. One artist made a very lifelike replica of a nude woman. It creeped me out, as I couldn't stop imagining the thing coming to life and trying to rip my face off. My close friends ought to be well aware of my pediophobia, which I had developed long before Coraline was released. Another artist used mirrors to create the illusion of a deep shaft of bricks, which I couldn't stare at for long without getting dizzy. The contemporary art displays had a few pieces I could take pictures of, such as these:
This sculpture is apparently cast bronze of driftwood pieces
I have a thing for shiny objects with chaotic colors
That is me standing next to the statue!
Time flew by more quickly than expected, and night had fallen when we were thrown out so the museum could close. Anyone who lives in Palm Springs during the summer has my deepest sympathies, I could not live in a place where dark brings no solace from the heat. It was a great fair though, I bought a nice set of handmade jewelry to add to my collection. I found a cute set of feather earrings, a woven leather bracelet with a pretty blue stone, and three natural stone chain bracelets. See them in the photo along with the straw fedora I found at Ross:

My friend bought some handmade soaps, which I also might have indulged in were it not for the fact that 1) I dislike trying to preserve bar soap long enough to get any use out of it, and 2) I have too many soap products as it is. I was quite amazed at my restraint, although if the stuff were usable as candles I may not have had as much willpower. Another vendor had some incredibly crafted dragon and mythological creatures ornaments woven from hemp:

We ate from a food truck that had quite a charming theme going, Drunken Gourmet, which, as you may have guessed, served products that involved an alchoholic ingredient. Here is that evening's menu:

We ordered sliders so as to try as many varieties of the meat filling as possible, and I must say, those foods would also be great to serve out of a food truck. They also had carrot and banana split cupcakes, but we were too stuffed to try them. I gave the owners the idea of caramel apple cupcakes as we left, because I'm nice like that.

By that time it was 10 pm and the street fair was closing up, so we headed back to the car. My friend felt the need to stop at a cafe for coffee, and I indulged her as she agreed to pay for drinks. This place had the ability to make any of their teas into lattes, so I tried one of the odder flavors. I ordered a Japanese Cherry latte, which was so amazing I will have to scour the internet for this freaking fantastic tea. Now if I am able to find good deals, my food truck will have a nice selection of unique products.

Also, I am so happy I found Skechers Shape Ups at Ross, those things ensured my legs and feet were not at all sore after all that walking!