I knew approaching this place, something about how people live here is interesting and completely unorthodox. Looking around some areas of this entire desert site I saw RV’s, trailers, and tents with front yards decorated of mostly junks. I later found out that the California abandoned this place and is free to use. It is off the grid. People don’t own the land they settle on. They don’t pay property tax. They don’t run ongoing electricity. No sewer or water system!
When it comes down to it, residents of Slab City are pretty much squatters. People who struggle to make ends meet. People who are stretching their retirement pensions. People who have nowhere to go. People who get away. People who are lost.
Driving forward I saw a library, a chapel, and a community center. They do have an established community in this isolated city. Furthermore, they have an internet cafe, a community group where they discuss issues and misbehaviour, clubs where anyone can go to every Saturday, a skate arena, and a Christian center where they serve food for anybody. A sense of community, it’s that one big factor that draws people to stay in Slab City. Residents here help each others out.
People’s possession here are from trash others threw away. For them, these unwanted items are their art, decorations, their own assets, tools and equipments, and leisure and necessities. The major attraction here that keep tourists and visitors in is the Salvation Mountain created by Leonard Knight who passed away recently last February of this year.
A military camp during World War II was once located here housing Marines. There are these two big tanks that were once part of the base. When I was on top of the Salvation Mountain, I went to investigate these thanks. I actually saw someone who got a cold feet, returning back saying “it’s farther than I thought.” Based on my step count and panting of my breaths, it was not far at all. What did surprise me is how suggestive the graffiti are.
At the bottom are people holding hands altogether all around the tank. The images are suited for mature viewers. Parental Guidance is advised. 🙂 At the top are sex-related binding words.
As it turns out, the first tank is called “Wheel of Kama”. That’s Kama which pertains to Kama Sutra. The other tank is “Wheel of War”.
You can still see Salvation Mountain from this area, but it is still practically in the middle of nowhere. When I was taking pictures of the tanks and when I got to the back side of the first tank, I was scared of my life when I saw two people. They looked like residents of Slab City and are just basically there. I don’t mean to judge, but I was nervous of something happening. Bottom line is I continued on taking these pictures, and they minded their own business. They have a rule here to respect your neighbor. People who come here for alternative lifestyle also like it because of its people, odd they may be.
The other art installation that tourists go to here is East Jesus. It’s a place where my imagination flew and just drifted away – East Jesus | A Yard of Imagination.
One portion of the yard (I haven’t shared) are these televisions…
The heat here in Slab City can be very unbearable. I really was very perplexed on how this city operates. No streetlights, no buildings, no applied laws, no fees, no limits. It’s a badlands. It has this post-apocalyptic look to it. But upon coming here, reading more about it, and even realizing it, Slab City really is for the free-spirited. The Last Free Place in America name truly is warranted. People who came here with nothing are contended with having some things. The sense of community is high. They run things their own. They live out of the norms. I’d be only sounding apathetic if I say people would rather be in this kind of situations. But, people do stay here for a long time because, for them, the outside world of this city is just as bad.
New Tag – Art