While still a few pegs down from the sudden pretension of Palm Springs, Borrego Springs is an oasis of grumpy old retirees who've lost their well-to-do occupational-social standing, join exclusive golf clubs and berate each other over coffee in the morning. It's a nice, sunny functional town in the middle of the (Anza-Borrego) desert though, with a big lush green traffic circle. It even has a performance theatre and a few galleries. To the east, Salton City, Salton Sea Beach (where I stayed), and Bombay Beach on the other hand, are once-popular summer properties and resorts gone seriously awry. Come sundown you can see hundreds of birds floating on the sea -- just in front are many thousands of that evening's floating fish carcasses which will wash up on shore by morning. Just one variety of saltwater fish (orange-mouth corvina), whose eyes are picked-out by the seagulls. Some beaches consist of nothing but small bleached, crunchy fish bones. I didn't see one boat in the water the whole time I was there. Depending on the wind, at times the smell of dead fish is overwhelming. Irrigation in the district is diverting new water that would have flowed into the evaporating, highly saline sorry sea. It doesn't seem very hopeful; millions have been spent and lawsuits launched all to no avail. There are several abandoned motels, resorts, and many ransacked private trailer homes. It sure is cheap though; many elderly welfare recipients wait out their days smoking, drinking, playing bingo and cards. Between these extremes, are still quite a few RV parks catering to the transient-retiree, although many impromptu sites spring-up in the desert. The most infamous I suppose, is Slab City -- hundreds of rigs, some very expensive and tricked-out with solar panels, generators, satellite dishes, water reservoirs, others, desperately poor -- a free RV park on the site of a failed commercial enterprise that only got as far as pouring some concrete parking slabs. The RVer does seem ironically contemporary; most tangible assets, relations, communities and values are liquefied for instant flight and trial reconfiguration. I still admire the formidable desert; it was _just beginning to bloom... a few hints of color here and there; I don't think I'd like to see it at "full throttle" -- too alarming. In fact, it took me a few days to erase the embedded San Francisco siren noises from my consciousness -- the silence and spiritual stillness of the desert are irrefutable. I also caught the tail-end of the International Bird Festival; while I didn't attend any scheduled events, I did see many birds: especially huge flocks of thousands of Snow Geese. It seemed as though a few dozen birds circling in the air above the main flock on the ground would somehow signal them to suddenly move-on all at once -- quite a sight and sound!