Oh the Salton Sea. There isn’t a place like it, that’s for sure. And any picture of the place only tells you a small sliver of the story, let me tell you. It’s kinda like looking at a picture of a men’s urinal from a dirty truck stop, you just can’t smell the urine and filth. Same same, but different.
In a photo, it looks like one of the most stunning places. Am I right, or am I right? Please allow me to ruin it for you now.
Use your senses: The temperature is 120F / 47C. It feels like you opened the oven door after you had it closed and heating for a couple of hours. The heat consumes you. It’s difficult to breath. Sweat trickles down your back and your dress becomes stuck to the back of your leg with each step you take. Your hair is crunchy, proof you’ve gone between the sweltering heat and the air conditioned car. Oh ya, and the air is completely stagnate. In 2012 the Salton Sea was confirmed as the source of the rotten egg smell in the LA Basin. The LA Basin is 150 miles away from the Salton Sea. Can you imagine how bad a fart would have to smell to travel even a mile? I’m trying to put this stench in perspective, people. I could tell you it smells like sulfur, but it’s worse than that. It’s more like sulfur with rotten egg with rotting corpse. As soon as you step out of your car, you hear the buzzing of a thousand flies. They land on your face and they invade your car. There is no amount of shooing that will stop them. As you walk closer to the water’s edge, you hear crunching only to look down and discover that what appears to be sand is really just mutilated fish bone and with each step you are making more, um, “sand”.
But oh it’s a site to behold, isn’t it?
We stopped in at a local bar in Bombay Beach to beat the heat, enjoyed some cold beer, and watched as the locals swatted flies with their oversized fly swatters.
I mentioned the Bombay Beach documentary a while back. Here’s the trailer for it. Gotta love any documentary with music by Beirut and Bob Dylan. It was… interesting.
Want to read more about why the Salton Sea is the way it is? This article is one of the best I’ve read.