Prelude: I had to change plans 3 times due to bad weather and inaccessibility. When all the reservations were finally made, I was so proud of myself! Next step was keeping it a secret. I kept dropping hints and teasing Kelly that we are going to the capital of love. Which totally threw him off track. He didn't crack my secret UNTIL I blurted it out.

Kelly was telling me that he had a lot of work to catch up on and I said "You will have a lot of time to work in Palm Springs." OOPS. Damn pissed with myself. Palm Springs is located in the middle of the desert and also known as the gay capital of California, hence the LOVE hints.

It was a great Saturday. Clouds were hanging low,

and mountains were floating in the sky.

Near Palm Springs, we saw many many wind generators.

A row of palm trees gives Palm Springs its namesake.

Our first stop, Joshua Tree National Park.

Declared a U.S National Park in 1994, the park straddles 2 deserts.

Mojave Desert, which is cooler, wetter and slightly higher than Colorado Desert, is home to the Joshua tree.

The tree's name was given by a group of Latter Day Saints who crossed Mojave Desert in mid-19th century. Its unique shape reminded them of biblical Joshua who raised his hands to the sky to make the sun stand still by God's command.

I have a tree on top of my head!

Besides Joshua trees, the landscape is dominated by these huge piles of rocks. Formed more than a million years ago when molten liquid heated by the movements of earth's crusts, oozed upwards and cooled below the surface.

The park is huge and there are many vista points. We decided to drive to Keys View where we would get a panoramic view of Coachella Valley, Salton sea and San Andreas fault.

Yes! That is where the famous Coachella valley music and arts festival is held every year.

The San Andreas fault is a lateral movement of the Pacific and North America plate. It's fascinating to see it for real after all those geography lessons in school.

I'm a happy Joshua tree!

Erm. Kelly looks like he's rocking out at a Coachella concert.

The sun was starting to set so we left Keys View but had time to make one last stop.

Looks very flintstones hor?

The tiny tiny people gives you a perspective of how big the rocks are. And this picture only showed the tip of the rock!

kekeke, looks like a shiny bald head to me!

Brrrr... though the sun was shining, it was cold in the desert.

These are the Chollo cacti also known as jumping cacti. Beware! Brush against the cactus and the needles will embed itself onto your skin. It's like mimosa plant but more painful.

After the national park, we checked into a top hotel which had received rave reviews online. Well, whoever wrote those reviews didn't get to their room this way.
1) From the first floor, take an elevator to the fourth floor.

2) Walk through hallway no.1.

3) Walk through hallway no.2.

4) Walk through hallway no.3.

5) Take the elevator at the end of hallway no.3 to the first floor.

Obviously the architect didn't consider the visitors staying at the hotel. Adding to our grouchiness? We were carrying a ton of stuff and got lost. Had to take more elevators and cross more hallways. That's not all. We finally found our room but it had 2 single beds! ARGH!

Back when I booked our room online, I called the hotel to make sure we would get a room with a king bed. Since I had taken the extra precaution, I wasn't happy at all to get 2 single beds on Valentine's Day.

So I called front desk to
nicely request for another room. The receptionist replied that they TOOK NOTE of my request but it was a REQUEST and emphasized that they didn't GUARANTEE I would get the room I want. He further insisted it was our fault for not checking it on time. I didn't raise my voice throughout the call but I was frustrated by his rude tone especially after the tedious trek to our room.

The hotel was 100% occupied so we couldn't get another room. So be it but if customer service had responded in the following ways, Kelly and I would be happy campers.
1) Not make me seem like a brat for insisting on a king bed on VALENTINE's day

2) I have an accent but I understand English well enough. There is not need to enunciated TOOK NOTE, REQUEST, GUARANTEE and NOT CHECKING IN ON TIME. How irritating is that?

3) He acknowledged I called ahead of time to make a request. I acknowledged that he couldn't move us to another room since the hotel's full. But for a top hotel, can't he have offerd us something to make up for his oversight? Even a coupon for free Starbucks coffee would have been appreciated.

So unless you want a long walk to your room, bad customer service and rundown rooms, stay somewhere other than JW Marriott Resort and Spa at Palm Desert. Oh, the mattress cover on one of the beds was torn too.

Long story but after we rested a bit, we went out for dinner at Zin Bistro in Palm Springs downtown. They have a walk of fame like Hollywood! But I only recognise one name.

Highly recommend the restaurant. Service was wonderful and the food was good. I had crab and avocado salad, butternut bisque, foie gras stuffed quails and chanterelle mushrooms and belgian chocolate.

Kelly had beef carpaccio, mushroom and truffle soup, short ribs and belgian chocolate.

If we ever go back there, I want to have dinner at Zin Bistro again!
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