Bombay Beach


Click on any picture to see it full-size.

I love urban decay- deserted buildings, abandoned stuff in a field, faintly creepy remnants of civilization. I don't often get a chance to visit a whole town of it (or most of a town, at least) but when I decided to drive by Salton Sea, I looked up what was there...and this town was listed as a go-to place for those who like to document the end of civilization as we know it.

Bombay Beach is a tiny town (150 people) that is kind of in the middle of nowhere, although it's within an hour of the burgeoning metropolis that is Indio CA. It's right on the edge of Salton Sea, which was created when the Colorado River jumped its banks for several years in the 20s and then there was a huge land sales goldmine...until everyone found out that a big salty lake with no outlet was not going to smell very good in the hot months, which is most of the year there.

The town was evidently bigger at one time, but now most of the people who live there are on the side away from the lake...about half of the town (and we're talking maybe four by five streets total) is derelict, empty houses and trailers, lots of graffiti, as you will see. I have to say, there were some decent looking houses and trailers as well; the further east I went, the better things looked. But of course I wasn't interested in the nice part of town...

The first picture is Bombay Beach from the highway that goes up the east side of Salton Sea (and, btw, where there is yet another checkpoint looking for illegals!). The two signs are on the way in, and the sign with all the missing words is on the main road into town.
And by the way, I was not the only person taking pictures there that day; I met up with at least two others who were doing the same kind of thing-poking around the ruins, looking and taking pictures of whatever was interesting.
I talked to a couple of women who were looking at stuff in the same area I was in...this was on the wall of an abandoned building. According to the women, there is an artist in the town who does random stuff in various places...I'm not sure it's known who it is, although in a town that small, you'd think they'd have a clue! Anyway. These are plaster filled-and-covered quart milk cartons with photos and short prose pieces...I took closeups of four random ones, but my pic of the whole thing didn't come out sharp enough to read them all, even full size, darn it.

I think this is the saddest church I've ever seen...

I kind of like this one, light on broken glass.

The light through the rafters was great!

Another art installation
The place on the left...it's hard to believe anyone ever lived there...on the right is what the streets look like, just bulldozed dirt with some palm trees here and there. Although on the east side of town there were a few more trees...and I really liked the pink house!
This is a house with what would have been flower or vegetable garden boxes in any other place...here they're just dirt and wierd collections of stuff. There is no way to describe the patheticness of this.
I REALLY wanted to buy a postcard from here to send to Doug...I went into the Ski Inn (Do people really go waterskiing here?) first, and there was a guy behind the bar and some guy from town sitting at the bar schmoozing with him at 1 in the afternoon. The bartender directed me a block down the street to the general store, and let me take a picture of the inside of this place, lined with one dollar bills...

The lady at the general store was nice, one of those old women with few teeth who can be found in any tiny town. She had four postcards under the plastic countertop at the front of her store, and took out the one I wanted (it was printer with a computer printer on cardstock!) and sold it to me.

And that was the end of a pretty satisfying visit to Bombay Beach.