On our way home from Joshua Tree we went to Bombay Beach, a little "town" on the Saltan Sea. We had considered camping there the night before when all the campsites in Joshua Tree seemed to be full, but alas, we found a spot at the last site in the park, so we did not. Anyway, I digress.
As we're getting close to Bombay Beach, I keep telling Jon how I want to go swimming, and he tells me that it's too salty, and I say so what. He explains that it started as some resort town in the 20's, but is now totally abandoned. He can't remember the story exactly. Look it up, he says. So, as I'm still dabbling with the idea of going for a swim, I find an article about the place. Then I stumble on this line: " so salty and polluted that by 2030 no fish will be able to survive in it" and then this: "That's not sand, by the way- it's the pulverized bones of millions of fish." So I decide to definitely not swim.
We pull up to the shore, passing a bunch of abandoned trailers and shacks on our way. And then there's this family there! Like, they're having family beach day or something. They're all smiling and the kids have their floaties on. They're so excited. But the water is literally filled with dead fish! I mean the sand for goodness sake is crumbled fish bones! Why are they swimming, and why are they happy in this place? I can tell they are residents of the town. It's a strange, strange feeling- I can't really describe it.
We drive around from one torn-up house to the next, getting out to snap a few photos, and so on. I am totally freaking myself out, but to be fair, this place does not making it hard for me. At one point, I'm even convinced that we're being followed. Weird vibes, man. And also sad vibes. Think apocalypse meets great depression.
Maybe I'll just let the photos speak for themselves. (If you want the real experience, turn on A Silver Mt. Zion while you look through them. Because that's what Jon played the whole time we were there.)
(Update: I HIGHLY recommend watching the documentary Bombay Beach. It is beautiful.)