From the Blog

In Seattle!

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I was able to catch a train today after the rail lines were closed for 3 or 4 days. From the train, I could see some general sogginess and lots of swollen rivers. Hard for me to compare how it might usually be, since I don’t know what “normal” looks like. As I understand, the flooding in Washington is quite bad. Many people in outlying areas are still without power or heat. The I-5 might be closed through the weekend. I think they are opening one lane for commercial traffic. The Seattle Times says that it is costing the economy $4 million for every day the road is closed. People want their Trader Joe’s salads!

I was quite happy that train service resumed. The ride was pleasant. This part of the country is reminding me strongly of Massachusetts. From what I have seen, the flat areas are flatter, and the hilly areas are more hilly. Massachusetts is more rolling, gentle hills everywhere. This place is more valley and mountain. New England also does not have 14,000 ft volcanoes. A minor difference.

It’s very pretty in the countryside. A minor drawback to train-riding is that you often see the “backside” of things. Civilization faces away from railroad tracks. I used to take the commuter rail back and forth to Boston all the time. Railways are often industrial and not pretty. In Massachusetts, it’s also where things tend to get dumped: disused snowplows, spools of giant metal cabling, grocery carts, tires, etc. It certainly felt more “lived in” (used up) than what I have seen of the PNW. It’s much cleaner here.

As I was riding the train, I mulled over the slight, but persistent, hesitation I have felt because this area reminds me so much of home. I have much more to see than what 4 days without a car can really afford. And I did happen to visit while both states have declared states of emergency. I won’t get to see the neighborhoods of these cities, or the mountains or the coastline. I’m sure those aspects would soon dissipate the feeling of similarity with New England.

The cities are vibrant and each have their own particular energy. I could immediately see why Seattle is considered a “city” and Portland, in comparison, is considered a “large town.” Seattle has bigger buildings, crazier traffic, more going on. And at least 10 degrees colder! Thank goodness for angry scarves!

So my hotel here in Seattle is considerably more flea-baggy, except instead of calling it flea-baggy, they call it “historic.” It’s in the Queen Anne area of Seattle, a little north of downtown and all the happeninks. It feels a little like Silverlake/Los Feliz. I got in a little late, a little tired, and a little hungry so I haven’t seen much yet. More tomorrow.


  1. I was kind of excited to see Seattle looked and felt like New England, it’s like we’re in New England, but we don’t have to deal with what we associate with New England. ;) I think you’re going to turn into a coffee bean throughout this whole experience.

  2. You mean the associations that our parents beat us, and did not buy us ponies as we were growing up? Yes, it is hard to keep that repressed.

  3. Over time more repressed memories will surface like being made to cut the grass those 3 times, and having to go on those dorky camping trips, or being forced to pick your own apples and blueberries. Going to the PNW will likely revive those horrors.

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