Friday, June 1, 2012


 I arrived in Seattle just in time for the free FolkLife Festival. There are free concerts, and there are dozens of bands, singers, dancers and hustlers hanging out on the corners. I really like this band--the fiddle is my thing. They played a few modern songs, and also some I'd never heard before. The interesting part is that the entire band except for the man on the far right, are all in their 20s.

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.
This is definitely what I imagine a gypsy would dress like, although I never imagined that her musician would be playing the bagpipes.
 This girl taught me and Sierra some Irish step dancing. This was the only real dancing I've done in weeks. I'm dying to get to Yellowstone and leave for town bars to go swing-dancing again.

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.

 Miguel's friend Greg took us to the Wayward Vegan for breakfast. He got two blueberry pancakes and a plate of veggied-up biscuits and gravy (all vegan, of course.) It was delicious! And he wouldn't take my money for it.
 The day following the concert, Miguel didn't want me to leave with awful impressions of the city, so he took me on a tour. This is the gasworks park; it must have been an old mill or something back in the day. Now all the pipes are painted bright colors and posted signs read: KEEP OFF. "Can you tell why this is a great place for Parkour?" He asked. Look at all the places people could climb? I wanted to climb all of it...
 This is the Goblin under the bridge (the Aurora, I believe). That's a real VW bug under its giant hand. It wa built in 1990 for no obvious reason.

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.

This is the gum wall at Pike's Marketplace. It's just as well that the marketplace was closed when we got there, because my camera died right after I took a couple pictures of this wall. Look closely--sometimes there are secret messages in the inches-thick gum.

Miguel says that this is the marketplace where guys toss raw fish around and yell out prices and sales and stuff.

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