Saturday, June 2, 2012
It turns out that where Marla is staying near Missoula is actually only a 2.5 hour drive from Glacier National Park. I guess I could have finished the Lake McDonald hike I'd started after all. Oh well. When Marla got home from work, she and I went out. She wanted to hike to the "M" on the hill next to the university in the city. We started up the wrong trail, and crossed maybe 1/4 mile of very wet grass to find the actual trail. By the time we found it we were exhausted, and Marla said we were a long way off, so we decided to head down instead. It started raining harder anyway. I liked hiking up better than hiking down--although the path was zig-zagged, it was still steep and hard on the knees.
We went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. The food made me feel icky, but it tasted well enough. There are no diners or small restaurants from what I saw of Missoula--everything is a chain or a franchise. If Marla started her own restaurant, I think she'd be well off, or she'd have a lot of customers at least.
I applied to work at Glacier this summer, but didn't get the job.
The burn is dark as pitch; imagine two deep green eyes staring out at you.
This view on my return trip through the burnt woods.
I took this picture at Rocky Point, which I saw on my trip back.
I saw this on the side of the road somewhere and had to stop to take a picture. There are a lot of things that I got too lazy to stop for, and I kick myself every time I think about them. Like when I saw a calico cat curled up on a rusty hood and didn't bother taking a picture. The cat almost blended in with the rust.
Friday, June 1, 2012
I also saw a two-person band on another corner: a woman playing an accordion, and a man playing a saw, the kind that bends. The saw made the strangest sound I have ever heard, it sounded like it came straight out of a horror movie. I bet it would keep any wild animals at a distance.
The street bands played all music: jazz, rock, pop, folk, and so on. It was amazing, and by far the best part of the festival.
Another thing I NEED to mention about Seattle: pot and drugs. Everyone that I met was very upfront about their personal drug use. One guy was carrying a white rat on his shoulder, and he let me hold it for a second. When I gave her back, the guy said, "Just so you know, I'm selling liquid mushrooms..." at which point I interrupted and said, "Actually, I'm a straight-edge, but thanks." And he was so cute!
Another guy was spinning a heavy black pole and he let me have a go at it. He told me that the ends were thick because they could be lit on fire and spun in the dark. I thought he was cool. I told him my name and he said he probably wouldn't remember it because he was so high on mushrooms. He tried to get my number, but I told him I don't give it to strangers, and I'm from Massachusetts anyway, which seemed to satisfy his drive.
Later, some friends of Miguel's invited me to come with them to a heavy metal concert. It was held beneath apartment rooms in a corner of the city. The room was tiny and full of smoke. I stood in the doorway for ten minutes, trying to keep my stomach from churning. After turning down a joint that was offered my way for the second time, I told my group I was heading out, and left. The air outside was clear and delectable. I don't know what it is about me and smoke but I don't think it's going to fade anytime soon.
I slept in my car in a grocery store parking lot. The wind was loud and it felt like it would be cold the next day.
He showed me around the U-District, and other places that I can't remember the name of...we walked down Broadway. From the outside I thought that The Metro Clothing Company might be my scene, and it proved to be: shiny black and red corsets, long dresses, high heels with clockwork cemented to the heel, metal spider rings, and more. I was blissful. However, blessed store or not, I was not dropping $113 on a short red and black dress, no matter how beautiful the design was, or how soft the material.
Miguel says that this is the marketplace where guys toss raw fish around and yell out prices and sales and stuff.
The drive to the rainforest appeared unfriendly to the homeless and the beggar. I later realized that Seattle is overflowing with people playing on the streets or outright begging for money. Still, I'd never seen a sign like that above before.
I met Miguel last summer on my drive through San Francisco.
I met Miguel last summer on my drive through San Francisco.
We drove 14 or so miles down a pot-hole-studded dirt road, looking for a place to pull over and camp out. Finally we found this long U-turn, and pulled in there, hiding my car behind a stand of trees in hopes that it would not be spotted. Our first day there was no rain. It still took Miguel nearly two hours to get a fire started (well, it is a rainforest) with our damp wood, damp sticks, and damp moss, while I dissected onions and stuffed them with hamburger. As difficult as carving the onions was, I preferred my "woman's" task to that of starting the damn fire.
The second day, just after we got back from our hike, it began to rain. The clouds weren't going away, and it felt heavy. "We better do something," I said, "it feels like it's going to pour." So far, we'd been able to lean under the giant tree behind us, and it kept half of the table dry, but rain was falling faster. I grabbed my tent tarp from the car and we started stringing it up. In minutes, the sagging places in the tarp were filled with puddles. Luckily Miguel had twine and patience, and we had a fairly protected eating-place.
Branches like the weak arms of beautiful ladies, soft green moss dangling from their wrists.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
According to many, Seattle has the best beer. I'm not sure how true this is (considering that I HATE beer) but this bar is sure selling a lot!
There was this guy there alone. He had a wonderful voice, and I invited him to sing "Moondance," with me, which he did. We sounded good, but sometimes forgot where words came in and we pretty much sliced that song into bitty pieces. It was a good time, and there weren't enough people in the bar to be broken up about it. The night was full of meeting stranger-boys and Krys trying to get me to leave, "but I've got one more song!"--and no one danced. I sang "Stray Cat Strut," in hopes that someone would dance. But no one did. I ended up dancing alone for a few songs, but it wasn't the same.
While they talked, I admired the treehouse in the center of the room and the writing on the walls in the bathroom. Writing on bathroom walls, and toilet paper dispensers, and doors, seems to be a passionate passtime for people in the small-town city (Arya's view). It became clear that neither Arya nor myself were interested in no-name-fur-cap, so we got away and left just after the third band got onstage.
Arya likes dancing, but it seemed like no one else did. I am no longer used to the stillness of bodies in a room blaring music, it seems rude, almost disrespectful in a way. It isn't classical jazz or opera, people, it is music, just live a little! I never would have said something like that before last summer.
Arya studies anthropology in town. She doesn't seem to like it as much as she thought she would, saying that her school is "liberal-arts" based, meaning that there is no doing, that it's all textbooks and studying. However, since she is an anthropologist, and I am a journalist, we got along very well, and talked for hours about everything from major-related studies to our favorite teas. Part of me wishes I had asked to stay just one more night, but I decided to head to Seattle.
Of all the places Eric told me I should visit in Oregon, I only stopped at the Painted Hills and here: the Timberline Lodge. I went form the slightly-wet, warm base of this mountain, up to the top where fog rolled in like rolls of fat down an overweight man's waist. The wind was biting and fierce, and I swear that it was driving sleet into my eyes. Finding the famous building which was used as the outside for "The Shining," was not easy in the fierce weather.
I had my water bottle close by, and wet the part of the blanket that was caught just to be safe. It took several matches, and several attempts at lighting the blanket down under the latch instead of letting it move up toward my hand, but it worked! The flame burned the corner that was caught and the trunk opened with a satisfying click.
I stayed with Krystine in Bend, Oregon the night I got my blanket caught. She lives in a cute two-bedroom house with her dog Quincy. She has frequent epileptic attacks, and told me not to freak out if she had one in the morning. She tends to fall asleep with the TV on so that her eyes are never completely in the dark, since total darkness can send her into an attack. It sounded scary, and also debilitating. She can't have a license because she never knows when it will happen, and most of her family lives only a few doors away. There wasn't a lot of food in her house since she eats often at work. There was a basket of plastic apples on the counter. On the table there were a few candles that she can't light because of the epilepsy. I wish I hadn't driven for 13 hours and could have talked to her more.