on the salton sea


Hello, friends!! Yey, it's a whole new year. I got mine off to a good ol' surrealist start with a little sojourn down to the Salton Sea.

The Salton Sea is like a mirage come to life. The shimmering band of blue water just doesn't seem real against the rocky red desert hills.

This strange land is the victim of environmental tragedy, and after a vacation-oriented housing boom in the '50s and '60s, it slid into obsolescence. Today many abandoned homes and businesses line the shores of the toxic salt lake called the Salton Sea, giving us an eerie feeling. I'm intrigued by it despite that tragic element, though; it's such a thoroughly unusual place. It has true character and midcentury charm, albeit in a faded lonesome kind of way.

Even for an intrepid rural explorer like myself, though, it broke my heart; it's very sad and strange to see all these shuttered up vestiges of a more prosperous time! I do think it's important for Americans to see the Salton Sea, to see what our thoughtlessness can do (the Sea's environmental collapse in on account of messed up irrigation systems and fertilizer runoff; soon all that will be able to survive in its toxic waters are tilapia fish).


(More pictures after the jump )