:SOMEWHERE NEAR CALEXICO, CA./MEXICO BORDER:
A. Hooper Photography
Just a few hours drive south of the polished, beautiful cities of Palm Springs, Indian Wells, and Coachella, lies the Salton Sea and the border towns of Bombay Beach and Calexico. These towns have been long forgotten and only a few inhabitants remain in their self-imposed seclusion. I had a brief conversation with a man here while I was out walking the dirt roads with my camera and he described those who remain here were "either running away from something, lost their way, or up to no good". That painted a pretty bleak picture of these little settlements and it stuck in my mind as I walked through the unmarked roads here at dusk. I saw nearly no one and heard only faint stirring from inside the boarded up trailers as I made my way block by block. People 'were' here, but it was as if they knew a stranger was amongst them and were not about to reveal their presence. Finally as the sun sank even lower, and knowing I was quite far from where I needed to be, I began to find my way back to my car. Compounding my unease, I had seen a large white unmarked van earlier in the evening with it's headlights on, creeping very slowly through the same streets I was walking, metallic screeching of it's brakes as it slowed to watch me cross the road. It continued on out of sight, only to reappear 2 blocks down on the same road, again slowing and pumping it's glowing red brake lights as if whoever was inside had me clearly marked and was watching. Creepy could not begin to describe the landscape down here and I felt quite clearly that I was no longer welcome. My steady walk turned into a jog, camera equipment weighing me down and then into a flat out run as I turned the last corner to my car. Fumbling with the keys, I started the ignition and as quickly as possible put miles between me and that town. I watched my rear view mirror quite intently for the next hour or so, as even out on the main highways here is complete nothingness......
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