November 15, 2005

Joshua Tree Natl Park

A few weekends ago, V and I drove to Joshua Tree National Park in the desert. We arrived in a very, very hot Palm Springs, screeching in unison to the strains of ABBA's Greatest Hits on the car CD player
After a seafood dinner in the desert, we checked into a gloriously seedy motel called "El Rancho Dolores" and watched an HBO non-fiction series on forensic pathologists and the crimes they have solved. Very desert-like behaviour to get us into the spirit (especially the seafood).

The Joshua Tree itself is actually a yucca – and thus a giant member of the Lily family, but it looks a bit like a tree with its craggy branches. Mormons travelling through the region in the 1850's thought its branches looked like Joshua, with his arms outstretched, leading his people to the promised land... thus the name.
We did some short hikes in the park itself, but seeing as 'Queer Eye' thinks "outdoors" is a rude 8 letter word, much sightseeing was done from the comfort of the air-conditioned SUV (!!). The highlight of the day, however, was when I stood up on the car seat and stuck my head out the sunroof to have an outdoor experience, whilst 'Gloria Glitterwitz' (V's alter ego) pumped the tunes and the air inside the vehicle. So although we were in the same place at the same time, we were both having very different experiences.

Anyway - on our last day in the desert we went for an outride on horseback after which Gloria Glitterwitz did much complaining about the state of her adductors. We then spent 3 overheated hours in the Living Desert Botanical Gardens in 41ºC chatting away in Afrikaans and making up silly stories. Heat-stroke, I think.

Every single activity (such as animal feedings and demos) had been cancelled due to the heat, so we went into the animal rehab hospital - ostensibly to witness animal rehabilitation, but in reality we were after the climate control. We skunked around the place for a while, peering into all sorts of labs where there was nothing AT ALL going on and being ignored by the few remaining staff members.
This rehab hospital was not to be taken too seriously. For starters, they had a toy-gecko splayed out on an operating table with a camera trained on him. At first I thought it was a real creature, but the black beaded eyes gave him away as being nothing but a not-so-fluffy toy soon enough. I'm no fool! So finally, for want of a more authentic living thing to witness being rehabilitated, V inspected his tongue under a microscope that had been hooked up to a screen. At least we got something out of it.

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