I'm not sure how to explain East Jesus, or the trip Pep and I took on Sunday. We were short on time and could have easily spent hours longer wandering through and looking at things, but we left early to chase the sunset and photograph a Salton Sea that was totally consumed by clouds. This was my third time visiting Salvation Mountain and Slab City. The first time, I didn't venture past the mountain because I didn't know it was worth it. The second time was a total wash. This time we did it right. Also IT WAS RAINING IN THE DESERT. I can't believe I managed to photograph this place in the fucking raiiinnn!
(My miserable first week of 2015 lifted and as an apology, the universe said, "HERE TAKE THIS" and gave me everything I could possibly want in one day.)
East Jesus is equal parts community and artistic chaos. There is a carpeted outdoor path to walk along and an endless supply of sculpture and creation to see, there is a gigantic terrifying see-saw to ride on, and there is also a friendly tour guide to show visitors how residents live. We weren't planning on taking the tour, but it didn't seem like we had a choice. I was photographing a car with legs sprouting out of the top of it when we were scooped up by a blue-eyed man in sweatpants who eventually tried getting our group to pet the tarantulas and scorpions in the petting zoo. He said we could keep photographing inside, but I couldn't do it. My photos stop at the beginning of the tour because I was too overstimulated to think about my camera. Do you know how rare that is...?
I won't say much more about this magical place since I have about 800 pictures to share, but I have to note the detail that exists in everything there. I could return every day for the rest of my life and never see it all. I wouldn't even come close. Cars decorated with motherboards and fish skeletons painted silver and screwed onto boards and a lot of signs about dolphins and SO MANY FUCKING DUCKS. There were ducks everywhere. Fake ducks.
We did a quick walkthrough of Salvation Mountain and then sped towards Salton Sea, unsure if we'd make it for sunset or not. The spot where I wanted to stop was too far away, so we pulled over, skidded down a little dirt hill, and ignored a DANGER sign as we made our way over the bones to take in one of the most overwhelmingly perfect moments in time I have ever experienced. Salton Sea is beautiful all the time, but I don't think I'll ever see that color blue again.