Saturday, February 21, 2009

Expedition south.

There was no school on Friday, which meant we were off across the border for a couple of days of wild retail abandon.

It doesn’t take long to get deep into America. We didn’t stop, not even at a light, until we parked at a mall in Bellevue. I took no pictures during the trip down. It was a nice day—fog, giving way to sun, except near Everett, which is a land of gloom—but pictures taken from cars are usually disappointing. I expected at some point to have the chance to take more meaningful shots.

It was a spiffy mall, which does not mean it was a good mall. If I’m in a mall more than 10 minutes, I cannot refrain from saying out loud, “I hate malls, I hate malls, I hate malls....” I really hate the ones with more than one level and see-thru barriers to keep you from falling down the hole in the middle. If that is the case, I will not go above the second level, and if I do it will only be for a few minutes, then, Escalator Down! This was one of those malls.

Three of us sat at a round a table on the second level, not thinking about the hole, eating cinnamon pretzels and drinking lemonade, while the fourth shopped.

The GPS led us to another mall further south in Bellevue. It was a single-level mall, tolerable in that regard, but depressing, too, because a great many of the retailers had gone out of business. I felt the chill.

We spent the night in a modern motel in the City of Lynnwood. It was along a main drag, which is meant to say it could have been anywhere, any desert in the middle of any oasis. I asked at the front desk if there was a natural area nearby where we could go for a walk. That drew a collective blank from the counter staff. I think it was the concept more than the question.

The parking lot was a canyon between two tall buildings. I looked up and saw a giant plane, a double-decker Boeing creation, flying low, banking above us. I didn’t have my camera ready, but did manage to take a picture of the contrail of a different jet a few hours later.

Outskirts of Everett, pleasing residue of gloom.

Plan for Day Two was to hit more stores on the drive back north. Marysville, Burlington, Bellingham. But we were so excited that we left too early and by the time we got to Everett, which was not as gloomy as usual--rather, tastefully foggy--we realized the mall in Marysville wouldn’t be open yet. What to do? Press on, to Burlington. I took a quick car-pic, for posterity.

Cottonwoods and trestle, Skagit Valley.

We rolled down into the Skagit Valley, in our pell-mell search for...something. Burlington was only ten miles ahead, and still, because we hadn’t stopped anywhere, we were too early. I think this had to do with the GPS, which we call Mrs. Smith. She has a no-nonsense voice, and she was urging us on to our final destination, the Costco in Bellingham.

So we blew past Burlington. I took a quick car-pic, for posterity.

We stopped in Bellingham, where, in the Costco parking lot, I had a minute or two to take a few pictures of Brewer’s Blackbirds. I liked how they walked among the slow-moving vehicles as if cars were the ghosts of extirpated ruminants.

And then we were across the invisible line. It was on the drive back to Richmond that I saw where we really ought to have spent yesterday and today.

Landfill, with birds.

The landfill in Delta. Among the bazillion gulls, there are more eagles than you can shake a stick at.

Eagles in cottonwood, having shopped their fill.


Cicero Sings said...

Oh I H-A-T-E malls. One hour max and I start to go snaky ... and my eyes. Aaarrgghhh! Whoever came up with malls?!

pookie said...

Malls make my heart sink -- especially the ones with merry-go-rounds in food courts. They are a common, designated, public "hand off" place for young children when their parents are getting a (contested) divorce.