November 03, 2004

New Expats

After a long summer of hard work and hiking in Juneau and an excellent three and a half weeks on the road in the Pacific Northwest, I'm back in Reno.
Way back on August 19th I took five days off work and flew to tiny Cedar Grove, Wisconsin to attend the wedding of Kat and Jon, my housemates from the Salvador house in Santiago last year who lived across the hall from me and were the primary caretakers of Puma, our black Chilean streetcat. They were five of the best days I had all summer and caught myself a little off guard by how bummed I was to say goodbye to the new friends I met there and head back to Juneau. All through work the next day all I could think about was putting on my pack and getting back on the road. Work started to really slow down as the tourist season died over the next few weeks and by the middle of September I had worked out boarding the ferry for Bellingham in detail in my head. It wasn't that I was sick of Juneau. I love Juneau and I loved spending the summer earning cash in Juneau for winter travels, but the time came when my priority flipped from earning cash to actually using it, naturally.
Mike Stanger had also split town in the second week of August and I was receiving emails from him from Valdivia, Chile, all about the good times he's been having there.
And then this thing happened where during the last week and a half in Juneau, I started going out a bunch again because I'd made friends with a new coworker named Kathleen and Rory at the Imperial became the preferred bartender in the task of getting me drunk. Some pretty bad shit also happened during the second week of September and while I was talking to friends during my final days in Juneau I realized that some people that I really care about were going through some extremely difficult and unresolved shit. Suddenly, I didn't want to leave and felt kinda guilty about abandoning friends at the start of the Juneau winter. What? This stuff is so confusing. I think it's incorrect to say that I don't know what I want to do; rather, I'm just not honest with myself because where I want to go changes so often and it's rarely the same place that I "should" go. Last week in Boise I told my friend Jeff that if I wasn't returning to Chile for the winter, I'd most likely go back to Juneau. It didn't make much sense, but I'm starting to understand that that is maybe the best criteria to determine if it's an honest statement. I think it all boils down to why I travel in the first place.
So I said goodbye to the Fiddlehead and Juneau and my friends and housemates and hopped on the ferry to Bellingham on the 5th of October. After a little over three days on the ferry I showed up at Paul and Amber Fechko's doorstep in the U District in Seattle on the afternoon of the 8th. It was my first time in Seattle and since Paul and Amber are so busy with school I mainly wandered around town by myself and lurked in the wonderful used bookstores around the University of Washington. I also saw the Fiery Furnaces, and they rocked.
Next it was on to Olympia to stay with good ol' Bob Schwenkler. Bob's doing amazingly well in Olympia. He's having a great time at Evergreen and he's built a goddamn recording studio in his house which makes me very impressed and jealous. I also got to kick it with Alex and Kathryn, two friends I made in Juneau.
I took Greyhound from Olympia to Portland and finally got to spend a few days exploring that town that so many Reno heads have abandoned over the years. Drewish gave me his bed to sleep on while I was there and let me borrow his bike to do the Zoobomb. It was my first time and it was a riot. I was soaked and exhausted and grinning like a monkey as we winded through the streets. On the fourth run the seven of us that remained got stopped by a cop who ended up arresting one of us (not me) after he tried to zip past him and ended up getting his ass tackled. We split after that and I headed back to Drew's dorm for some sleep.
Before I left Juneau my boss Dawn was goodly enough to give me a detailed list of things to do in Portland of which I visited almost all. The Montage was dope and Powell's books was like a wet dream of a used bookstore. I also got to see Billy Spaceman for the first time in something like three years and I got to bop my head to the beats of Rjd2 live at Aladdin Theater on my last night.
Okay, here's intermission.

Posted by steve at November 3, 2004 02:28 AM