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Full Version: My experience so far in Slab City (Lots of pictures! Data warning!)
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I've been in the Slabs a few days now. I'd been tentatively planning to come here and then just did it on a whim. I picked up a French exchange student on the way. He had a grant from his university to come to the States and study people living the vehicle life, and as part of that he wanted to see the Slabs, so I gave him a ride. Although Slab City has a mixed reputation my preference is to go somewhere and experience it for myself to decide. My approach may have been more outgoing than some on their first visit. With my new foreign friend, we just walked around at night to anyone with a fire out and struck up conversation. Soon we were drawn to the giant fluorescent blinking red man off in the distance and walked over to see what was going on. Turned out we'd stumbled into the private area behind East Jesus, but we didn't know that at the time.

The only real rules that seem to be practiced by the locals are 1) if you mark off a piece of land (with beer bottles, old tires or whatever else you have) it becomes yours as long as you're occupying it, and 2) don't cross into a marked plot without permission. So, at the base of the fluorescent red man I called out to someone before crossing over the marked plot and asked if it was cool if we came to say hi. We got the clear and partied with these folks all night. Everywhere we went people offered us booze and, err, edibles. I accepted only the alcohol. And I did that in spite of it being mixed out of sight. Frenchie however got real high and chased by dogs in the dark and got scared and left after only one night. I have not felt at all threatened while here. In cities where I think I might need protection, I carry a thumping bar around when I walk at night. I've felt no need to carry that here. I've gone in several locals' homes without concern.

There is a library, internet cafe, hostel, public stage / night club, skate park, and other facilities. Most all communal areas and permanent homes are made of burnt out vehicle husks, trash, and old military structures. The locals are a mix of travelers, artists, squatters and sun-baked druggies. The tweeker population is mostly kept to one side of town and not welcome in communal areas.

There is a bombing range still used by the military only a mile or so away. It was active Friday night.

A sand storm came through today, followed by a rain shower, and ending in a double rainbow over the slabs. How often does that happen!

Here are some pictures I took, and a link to more below. Feel free to ask questions as it's hard to describe them all.


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See more pictures at this album link:

http://imgur.com/a/hr5Ks


Footnote: Although I said I don't feel threatened here, I did hear that a girl got stabbed last week, and I've been privy to some local rivalries including vandalism of property. But this stuff happens in any city. I find common sense is still what counts here and I do feel safe.
Very nice pictorial!

I thought the "water tower" murals were pretty amazing...

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Thanks for the pictures. Smile Feels like I got to be there. Interesting place!
I agree with Brad on the water tank art, all in shades of blue/grey and black. The cryptic writing characters add allot too. I'm guessing that some was done with spray? It would have been awesome to be there as it was being created.

Hope it doesn't get painted over before I get a chance to see it in person (how many years?).

Guy
I agree, that water tank mural is one of my favorite artistic pieces. It's located back from the road from Jesus monument, behind a hill out of sight. It is someone's full time residence and the area is marked off with tires so I don't suggest getting too close if you go to see it.

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Gorgeous pictures!
This is one place on my "must see" list.
Thanks for sharing.
Wonderful photographs! We finally got to visit Slab City a few days before the RTR. Our time there was short but we're definitely planning to go again because we missed a lot of stuff. If you haven't already get a tour of the East Jesus communal living area - very interesting.
It's been 30 years since I've been to the slabs and haven;t really had any desire to return.

Thanks for your post and pictures. Now, I will return. Just to see that amazing art in person!
Thank you for the pictures and information.  It  does not really seem like my type of place but I plan to try to make it there sometime in the future for a quick visit at least.
I think Slab City has that curiosity factor. Does not sound like the place for a little old Midwestern lady, but I would at least like to visit and say I'd been there!
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