Bombay Beach, CA – Calexico – Blair Valley
We left our place in the desert fairly early in the morning to go to the Salton Sea. We took Interstate 10 to Indio and Coachella and headed for Bombay Beach. The Salton Sea is one of the biggest lakes in California with a very interesting history. Actually it came into existence almost accidentally. It is more than 200 feet below sea level and does not have a natural evacuation. Over time it’s level of minerals and salt went higher and higher and today it shares the fate of the big salt lake in Utah. No fishing or boating, no tourism. High flying projects like in Bombay busted years ago because the lake also started smelling unpleasantly. What’s left of Bombay is a modern ghost town with about 200 people. There is a little store and a fire brigade but that’s about it. Years ago some artists from Southern California tried to reinvent the place but it seems too big a task. If you like places that are out of the ordinary, a little on the morbid side and that just don’t fit into glossy brochures you will definitely like Bombay, CA., a very unusual place.
I wanted to go to the Mexican border and we made it to Calexico by noon. The Quicksilver
had risen to 100°F / 38°C and we found the border without problems. The acting president was here a couple of days ago but he couldn’t see his wall because there were some containers in the way. They were gone when we arrived and so we had a good look at the site.
The wall is made of steel panels about 8 meters high with barbed wire on top and at the bottom.
Back in town we saw a guy with a float car the kind you would expect to see in a parade. Only this one read “Build the wall”, “Drain the swamp” and “Honk 4 times for Trump”.
The guy had stopped to get a tire fixed and so we had some time to take pictures. He really put some effort in his car and I bet if Trump saw it the other day he will have liked it.
In the afternoon we arrived at Aqua Caliente County Park. Hey, that’s a great idea, they have a swimming pool in the park so let’s go take a swim. The second point of the park regulations should have warned me.
Alcoholic beverages: Alcoholic beverages are permitted provided they do exceed 20%. Before you enter the campground you should have had at least a couple of drinks.
We were welcomed by a park ranger in his little booth at the entrance of the park. Sure we could go swimming, no problem, $3 a person. Oh, one more thing, there’s a water shortage, so no showers.
It turned out that not only the showers were closed but all the sinks were dry and the toilets were closed too. They had however put up some honey pots outside. Pas de problème, the water would be refreshing.
The water was 2 feet deep and very warm like pipi de vagabond. I should have known that. Aqua Caliente doesn’t mean cold water, it means warm water. I know that having studied Latin in school for 3 years but I always, always forget it.
There were only a few people in the pool. A Mexican couple with a transistor radio – the music wasn’t too bad so we didn’t mind – and three tattoo people, with an older guy who had his toe nails painted mauve. I felt so provincial it was bad.
Since the place was full, or so they told us, we moved on to the Anza-Borrego Desert, seeking higher ground and found a very nice spot not too far from the road in a remote corner. Places like this you don’t find in Europe, they are truly unique to the American West. We love it.