Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 114: Know your America

strange day passing through Salton City, CA and Sun City, AZ

We traveled over 900 miles today. We departed from California at dawn, drove across Arizona and arrived in New Mexico at 11pm.

Driving is a spectacular form of amnesia. Everything to be discovered, everything to be obliterated. Admittedly, there is the primal shock of the deserts and the dazzle of California, but when this is gone, the secondary brilliance of the journey begins, that of the excessive, pitiless distance, the infinity of anonymous faces and distances, or of certain miraculous geological formations, which ultimately testify to no human will, while keeping intact an image of upheaval...I went in search of America... the America of empty, absolute freedom of the freeways, not the deep America of mores and mentalities, but the America of desert speed, of motels and mineral surfaces....but to understand it, you have to take to the road, to that traveling which achieves what Virilio calls the aesthetics of disappearance..."
- Baudrillard, America

Along the journey, we went out of our way to visit two places that have intrigued me for years- Salton City and Sun City. We visited the disastrously poisoned Salton Sea in the morning (8 million fish have been known to die here in one day) and its accompanying Salton City, an abandoned "paradise" that has been left behind to more blatantly visualize the controversy. You can see a trailer of the Salton Sea documentary (narrated by John Waters) here. We landed in Sun City, the walled off mono-geometric housing/golf development for retirees, in the afternoon (check out the incredible aerial views).

We also passed Palo Verde, the country's largest nuclear power plant early in the evening. Palo Verde (please note that that is McCain's home state) has had several safety violations in both 2007 and 2008.

Fascinating and strange places - more stories can be told. Know your America.

These postcards are also a great way to "See America", though more natural, through the eyes of WPA artists.


The Vespers said...

Doing a virtual tour of Salton City here:

nc said...

Whoa...8 million fish in one day? The United States...sorta makes me sick to my stomach.