May, Las Vegas

When I enter Vegas, I enter the casino. I am hyper-stimulated by the flashing lights and the vibrant sounds of the slot machines, my nostrils suffused with a thick cigarette smoke that hangs over the room like a persistent fog.

I want to write about excess, about relentless desire and momentary satiation, about the merging of humans and machines in a trance at once fantastical, and then monotonous.

I want to write about the pregnant mother in the red t-shirt that drapes inelegantly over her burgeoning belly, standing with her back slightly arched back. She is a vision, a still figure set against a dull chaos, and I am transfixed.

I am moved to poetry. But Maya Angelou died this morning. And as I flirted with these lines of subtle judgmental observation, I thought to myself, why not write a new story? Why not compose a new song?


Secret Party

Sometimes we forget that there are many worlds within this world. Some, we are born into, others, we break into, but for most, we stand outside and watch. We look, we reference, we fantasize, we judge, we desire, we mimic. And I wonder if it all fosters the fabrication of our marginality.

101, Day 9

August 2: Olympia, WA – Vancouver, BC

Today we return to Canada; today we go home. A few stops for errands in Tacoma and Renton, and we find ourselves already at the border. It’s been an enjoyable past week, spent with family whose love for one other I don’t have to question. But it’s been odd, like a long transit, as I know I have a day in Vancouver before I fly off again. And so when I’m constantly on the move, it’s important to be grounded in the more permanent aspects of life.

The three of us in Cannon Beach, Oregon, one of my favorite stops. Thank you to the kind grandmother who offered to take our picture.

To America, a nation bountifully blessed, thank you for the hospitality, and thank you for sharing. There is something calmly mesmerizing about your west coast.

To my brother and my cousin, I miss you both.

Music: alicia keys – element of freedom (intro)  |  sarah mclachlan – vox

101, Day 8

August 1: Grants Pass, OR – Olympia, WA

We sacrificed the scenery of the 101 for the efficiency of the I-5 and drove in haste today. The city of Portland provided a nice break for dinner and window shopping before hitting the road again upward to Olympia.

We strolled through Nob Hill just as stores were closing.

A Chinese vase in an antique store.

These buggies are everywhere here, and I liked the curves of these chairs.

The city has a small town feel similar to Vancouver.

Another similarity.

And more, as I peep into neighbourhood gardens.

The quiet streets surrounding the quaint commercial area.

A group shot.

Driving into Washington.

The capitol building in Olympia.

All of us felt the least safe in this city, probably because of our motel, which we checked into late at night. The front door bore the markings of two former locks that had been kicked open, the sheets were moist, the Bible had been shredded with profanities scratched across its pages, the towels sported specks of blood, there was a door that led to nowhere,and the owners were straight out of a horror movie. Perhaps this is where American horror flicks get their inspiration. Or maybe there was just a hidden camera in the room. Either way, this would be our last night in the USA.

Music: carrie underwood – temporary home  |  alicia keys – like you’ll never see me again

101, Day 7

July 31: Redding, CA – Redwood National Park, CA – Grants Pass, OR

Today we started the journey back to Canada, leaving the heat of Redding and passing through the shaded Redwood forests just south of Oregon. We hiked at Ladybird Johnson Grove, our heads constantly tilted up.

Lunch at self-proclaimed world famous Palm Restaurant in Orick, population 600.

From the Redwood National Forest, we drove on up to Grants Pass, population 31,000. A big town, by comparison. We checked into another inn operated by an Indian family. The main road was closed for the classic car show, where antique muscle cars parade down the street, and the whole town and their grandmothers come out to enjoy the metal glamour and a live concert of generic rock in a roped-off parking lot.

With most of the restaurants closed early in the night, we made our way to G’s Bar and Grill, an oddly matched sushi bar and local beer joint with a live rock/country band and a clientele more than ready to ‘dance’ the night away. We walked in to the band’s rendition of Play That Funky Music White Boy.

I watched a man in a Harley Davidson jacket and his wife dance the Argentinian tango while sipping on my Sapporo and eating my hamachi.

I feel like I’ve seen enough now, and can go home.

Music: tracy chapman – space between  |  tracy chapman – freedom now