Back at Dos Palmas
Indio Travel Blog› entry 3 of 10 › view all entries
Updating one of my first Travbuddy entries! I'm back working at Dos Palmas, the fan palm oasis in the California desert, east of the Salton Sea, at the base of the Chocolate Mountains (yes, these are real places...)
Today's excitement included classifying vegetation communities, resampling habitat reference stations..... and more importantly, a stop at a different date place,
Date gardens?? They seem to be something left over from the 1920s, built to promote dates (the fruit...) to people who probably didn't know what dates were. There was one in front of each of the major date plantations in the area. There are a few surviving date gardens, two are Shield's and Oasis. Both have little theaters featuring... movies about dates. Shield's is famous for "The Romance and Sex Life of the Date", a film, scandalously titled for the 1940's, which is shown continuously behind the "date showroom". Mr. Shield explains how dates are grown and hand pollinated... There was a whole date culture out here, still thriving when I was a kid, but mostly gone now - downtown buildings were "Arabian style", there's the annual Date Festival fair, a date queen, the date harvest parade... Not many dates left now I noticed, most of the groves are now cheesy shopping malls and golf courses, more profitable than dates I guess.
Oasis is almost identical, maybe just a little less commercialized.
Got a few bags of various dates to bring home, about half the price of the supermarket and fresh, and a date shake. We used to drive 4 hours out here to get date shakes in college with 8 guys in the car splitting the gas : ) These were especially delicious, dates and vanilla ice cream, no sugar or "shake mix" like some of the others here.
Oh yeah, and the actual work I was here for today - really horrible. It was 106 degrees F, the maps didn't work out, the GPS unit failed, the soles of my boots actually melted off so I was left with a flapping piece of rubber to walk on. We finally gave up and came back to the motel to regroup, happily stopping by Oasis on the way back.