I love my city. I love the desert. I do not love the Salton Sea.
As reported in newspapers as far away as San Francisco, a stench wafted over Southern California on Monday, which prompted hundreds of calls to officials and even forced one school to cancel recess. The probable source of the foul odor?
The Salton Sea. Yup, that saltwater lake that is about 10 miles east of my house as the crow flies. Or as the smell flies. The Salton Sea, which when I was a kid was a fabulous recreation area where we would go to water ski and fish, is now a dying lake, with dying fish, which are presumably the cause of the sulfurous stink.
One might ask, if it smells so bad in Los Angeles, and beyond, up to 150 miles away, that people call to complain, and that even recess is cancelled, what must it be like for someone who lives but 10 miles away?
The answer: Overwhelmingly, disgustingly, depressingly, horribly awful. It wakes me up in the middle of the night as it come in through the air conditioning system and seems to soak into the walls and the furniture, and even my hair and clothes. It keeps me up because there is no way to not smell it, the stench is in every breath that I take.
Want more? Check out the press coverage (only because it actually made it to LA. As far as I know, before that it was our stinky little secret.):
And don’t miss the television coverage:
I’ve been having fun with this because of the press coverage, but it fortunately only happens a few days a year. The smell seems to be worse when the weather is humid and it has been very humid this year. If you’re planning on visiting the desert in any month other than August or September, it will smell wonderful. I promise.