monday it rained all day, which as you might have guessed wasn't the sort of weather we'd gone to palm springs for. so while we went out to eat, we didn't get to do everything we'd hoped. in the morning, we went to breakfast at pinocchio's in the desert, where we sipped bottomless glasses of champagne (technically sparking wine, but for $3.95 it was good enough). virago dined on lobster benedict and i jumped at the rare chance to enjoy a monte cristo. (monte cristos seem to have vanished off most menus by the early '80s.)
from there, we went to the palm springs art museum, figuring it was something indoors we could do while we waited for the rain to stop. naturally, the meseum is closed mondays, so off we went back toward the motel. we promptly got lost and ended up at the target in cathedral city. this was fortunate because we needed to buy some stuff there anyway. then it was back to the motel, hoping the sun would eventually come out.
it never did; the rain didn't stop until the evening, as we were on our way to a sushi dinner at kiyosaku. dinner was delicious but expensive. afterward we went to a local indian casino and played video poker for awhile.
tuesday (virago's birthday) we drove down to the san diego area, but first stopped at cabazon to see the dinosaur statues, which were featured in pee wee's big adventure:
as you can see in the photo, at some point ownership of the dinos passed to a group of creationists, who have put up signs proclaiming that evolution is a myth. we also spent a few minutes inside the wheel inn next door, where we bought some souvenirs.
that night we stayed at the famous hotel del coronado—quite a change from the motel 6 in palm springs. for dinner, we went to red lobster. (yes, there are red lobsters in indy, but we had a $45 gift card that paid for most of our meal.)
the next morning, we got up bright and early to enjoy some of the hotel's facilities before we had to go. first we had the fantastic breakfast buffet at the sheerwater, which has wonderful pastries, lovely quiche, delicious omelettes to order, and much more (even brie). it was even better than the breakfast we had at one south in downtown indy the morning after our wedding (though the waffles weren't as good).
then we went down to the beach to see the ocean and take some photos:
alas, it was time to check out. we drove into downtown san diego to meet virago's dad at balboa park and visit the museum of man, where the exhibits were a striking contrast to what we'd seen in cabazon the previous day. on our way back to our car, we managed to get completely lost and walk around in a circle for 45 minutes. then we stopped by to see a couple of virago's relatives on our way out of town, before getting stuck in rush-hour traffic on the interstate. you haven't really been to southern california if you haven't gotten caught in heavy freeway traffic.
thursday was our last full day in the palm springs area, so we drove over to palm desert to see the living desert, a nature preserve and park where you can get amazingly close to all sorts of desert animals. we took tons of pictures there:
this wasn't in an exhibit—this was a wild rabbit who just happened to hop up within a few feet of us near the butterfly preserve.
you can walk right into the aviary where some of these birds live.
the park closes at 5 (it closes even easier during summer hours, when nobody wants to be out in middle of the desert), so we drove back to town and had dinner at the blue coyote grill. i ordered the ceviche, not realizing exactly what it is or that it's served cold. the portion of scallops was massive, but it was more sour than i'd realized it would be and so the meal wasn't as satisfying as i'd hoped. i blame my own ignorance for the misunderstanding, though the menu wasn't exactly clear, either. virago had the mahi-mahi, which was tastier, and was served with bland vegetables and a delicious potato chimi.
much to our surprise, a mysterious street festival was being held on the strip a block from the restaurant. we never did figure out the name or purpose of the street fair, but we took advantage of it, taking in the sights and buying a few souvenirs. if we'd known in advance, we might have skipped the restaurant entirely and just eaten street food from the vendors. oh well.
we ate well that week. the best meals we had were the aformentioned breakfast at the sheerwater, and a fabulous dinner at pepper's thai sunday night. pepper's was simply wonderful. i had the sole fillet (shoo shee—fried and served in red curry sauce); the fish was delightfully tender in the middle and crisp on the outside, and the sauce was delicious. virago had pineapple curry with duck and loved it, declaring the meal to be the best thai food she'd ever had. i wish we'd had the opportunity to eat there again before we had to leave.
we also had our share of fast food, from places we don't have in indy like del taco, el pollo loco, hot dog on a stick, and in n out. and on a few occasions, we enjoyed wonderful donuts from an asian-owned place called swiss donut, not too far from the motel. those donuts were much better than we can get in our neighborhood here on indy's northwest side.
friday we flew back to indy. both of our planes were late getting in. saturday we slept.
you can see all of our photos from the vacation here, or just the shots from the living desert here. ¶