I understand the allure of it, I truly do. The package is the full meal deal and it is intoxiating and addictive; especially to those who aren’t fond of the alternatives.
I am referring to the flight of the northern snow bird and their landing spots. We have spent two days in San Diego (where I saw a huge flock of Canadian geese flying overhead), one awesome travel day and now four days in Palm Springs. We are so fortunate to have access to a wonderful home down there that it truly does make it seem like we have found a winter home for a few days.
But I wonder about this temporary traffic of northern folks to this paradise. It is not just Canadians who flock here but also Americans from the northern states that also want to escape winter. It seems so heady with the blue skies, sunshine and endless fabulous weather. In fact it seems that if it was so perfect that everyone should flock here permanently.
Perhaps though if you look deeper you wonder about the sustainability of this environment on several levels. From an environmental level it seems incredibly opulent with the lush green grass and the incredible flowers everywhere. It seems perfect on all those golf courses but those 125 golf courses drink up 1.2 million gallons of water to survive in an habitat where they aren’t native. This in a state that has seen unprecedented drought like conditions and is required to buy water. In Palm Springs it is quite common to see grass being watered during the heat of the day which seems quite decadent. I have not been able to ascertain if all the water is piped in from the Sultan Sea or if it comes from aqueducts. This area does have natural water as that is how the first Native Americans ended up in the oasis areas. In the outlying dessert areas it is a totally different story and you can see this as you leave the gated community areas and move to the outskirts of the city. A hike outside of the city, in the desert, shows the natural habitat and it is vastly different. The heat is intense, even in the winter, and you can see a totally unique biosphere.
The second sustainability issue is the economic imperious behind the actual area. It was historically home to a few native Americans but then the area was developed in the late 1880’s onward as a hot destination for Hollywood stars and rich business men to rest and recuperate in. It saw action in the second world war as a Air base and then the boom hit. The whole area became part of the new “Desert Modern” design and with a new affluent middle American it became the dream to have this indoor outdoor living space complete with a pool. The complex we stay at has 26 pools which is mind boggling when you think about the maintanence that alone requires. Tourism drives the areas economy and indeed is the # 1 source of employment in the entire area. It is a huge sprawling city with the largest land mass in the States but only has population of 44,500. The per capita income is very low because of the high number of retirees and the low paying job market.
Now don’t get me wrong as I don’t want this to sound like I am Palm Springs bashing because as I said at the beginning I love it. I also hope to return again as the quality of R & R for us there is outstanding with a relaxing private pool area plus loads of hiking to do in the area. I am just merely pondering the inherent structure of the area as I drive around and doing a ramble about it. Trust me that I do see the allure of somewhere that has 300 days a year of intensely blue skies and sunshine.
This is my third attempt at this post — the first one crashed early on, the second one I was complete when it crashed and now tonight I have a photo that keeps disappearing. Who knows if this will publish? GRR.