Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Seattle

I love Autumn, and I'm looking forward to spending the next one on the Eastern Seaboard. Right now, I'm enjoying my final one in my hometown. I'll be reading Where'd You Go, Bernadette? soon, as something like a last hurrah. It's a perfect way for me to celebrate the town, my own relationship with it, and my leaving. I can't wait to savor the outsider/quasi-hater viewpoint without feeling defensive. I want to own the weirdness, & just nod my head with the author. Because this is a weird town. And it sucks in any number of its own ways, just as every place sucks it its own way. I think I must want it laid bare for me before I go (not in the Fremont Solstice Parade way, though, thanks).

I tend to champion my hometown. It's stunningly gorgeous all over. The skyline, the UW campus, the incredible parks. It has good arts & culture, lots of great music as always. It's a trove of riches for lovers of food, wine, spirits and ale. It has a world class zoo. A fantastic aquarium. The waterfront is terrific:


...and about to be vastly improved. It's a reader's paradise. It's educated, techy & innovative. It's famously and long since socially & politically progressive. I could, of course, go on & on. So I have a rosy lens I tend to view it through; like any local of any locality, I'm typically touchy when outsiders rag on it. But...I've gone on to hang my head in secret agreement lots of times, and now I'm ready to emerge from that river in Egypt and take a good long well-lit (so to speak, if the book's any good) look at it.


We also have a football team. I'll tell you this: no matter where in the world life takes me, no matter if I never even see my town again, I will always be a #12thMan, and I will always be reppin' the Seattle Seahawks, beleaguered as they often are, forever. Amen, halleluja, and can I get a witness.


Woo hoo.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nepal

When I do that thing that's as close as I get to meditating, I often transport my mind to Nepal. In folklore, the name comes of a phrase that means 'Looked after by the Sage'. It's poetic there, it's beautiful, and I know it has a certain deep, silent power. It's those tall, craggy peaks, I'm sure, like this one known as Sagarmatha  in Nepali:


And also the simple, nutritious comfort food, like Dal Bhat, one of my favorite meals:


 It's that long, long history, steeped in Hinduism & Buddhism, the most peaceable and intelligent religions there are. They are non-demanding, non-exclusionary, lovely, prayerful, contemplative & joyful. I am not in the least bit a religious person, but the earthly humanity of their spiritual tradition sings to me somehow, and I have no qualm with it.


And I'm not a mystical thinker, but I can let myself get a little prayerful or at least meditative when I think on the Far East. It's safe for me somehow and it's among the best shots I have at accessing the poet or artist in me. I want to bust out of the day-to-day dimension & connect with all humanity & all that is; Nepal seems to have become a portal of sorts for that for me. 

Dhanyabaad for reading. See you soon. :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lessons emerge!

So, my premise for this blog is to write pocket-sized, zen musings on places in the world. So far, so good. But I must have supposed I'd have a long beginning run of places I knew. I wanted their names alone to be evocative enough to write an entry without (much) up-brushing.



However! I have found that, as with most things in this life, my whim doesn't always stick with the program.  It'll go, 'hey, how 'bout a completely ridiculous bit of wordplay dictate today's entry?' And like an indulgent parent, I say 'sure!' and we have this.  I also very, very much want whoever stops by to either click on the little Twitter bird to the right (hint hint), or leave a comment, giving me an idea for where to 'go' next. Bonus (3 internets) if you tell us why or some other bit of background.

Which means I might often be addressing places I've never even heard of, let alone know anything about. So that's being mixed in early, the possibilities now even more endless. I'm embracing doing a little research and/or asking friends & fam for insight.

Thanks for reading! Back to our regularly scheduled programming on Monday.

Frankfurt am Main

In honor of my (finally!) seeing The Rocky Horror Picture Show tonight, Frankfurt it is. I went to its Wikipedia entry to 'brush up', only to realize that I know almost nothing. How can I just now be learning the city's proper name (see title)? I'm feeling so unworldly. Frankfurt is an Alpha World City among even the other Global Cities. I did not know that either - I wouldn't have thought it was big enough. I did know that it was Europe's Wall Street, but  to be be honest, when I think of Frankfurt, I think of beer & brats. Same as just about anywhere in Germany, I suppose. When I think of Germany in general, I think of driving. Fast. Really, really, really, really, really fast.

image credit: fnp.de 

That would be (one stretch of) the Autobahn. For all the tribulations I've had with driving, I do love it; it scares me irl, but not in my wildest, nearly cartoony Autobahn fantasies. Zzzzooooooom. 

In conclusion, I (clearly) knoweth not the Frankfurt. So I'll study up a bit more, and some time down the road, I'll revisit it. Time for a(nother) beer.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Banff

If you take a cardboard wrapping paper tube and swing it around so that it makes a hollow whirring sound, when you hit the dining room table with it, it goes ... BANFF. That was my first thought upon hearing of Banff, Alberta when I was like six or seven. The adults were talking about the hot springs the town is famous for, and they sounded very enticing to a water lover like me. 

image credit: visitcalgary.com

I loved the crazy idea of steamy hot pools in wintery, northern surroundings. I thought I might like to float there all day as big fat snowflakes fell on my face. Warm & cool, cozy & chilly. Hotsprings are healing, they say. Now that I'm an adult, that part appeals very much to me, too. Urban life, long work history, no real vacation (seriously, ever), stresses & troubles, etc., all make the idea of relaxing outdoors in warm, healing water, watching the snow fall, seem like heaven.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kona

I imagine this place smells like coffee and feels like coconut. For me, Kona, more than any other Hawaiian place name, evokes the big bright colors and lofty, balmy feel of the tropics. The first coffee ice cream I ever had was Kona Coffee ice cream. It was a revelation, nearly shocking me with its pitch perfect balance of bitter and sweet. It altered what coffee had meant for me so far, and what Hawaii had. They became lit-up notions with a surreal dimension of meaning, paired up like that. I'll be living in New York for a while, but when I'm all done there and it's time to kick back, I'll be headed for Hawaii, maybe Kona.