Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tacoma WA

This may seem odd, but having spent a few days in Tacoma's climate, it makes sense that there's a glass museum here. Bear with me. The weather here is changeable, with varying degrees of cloud cover in any stretch of daylight hours, so the light here offers an ever-changing hue from the streets, and presumably,a kaleidoscopic spectrum of refraction in in what I'm told is a bewildering array of glass sculptures in the afore mentioned Museum of Glass.

I say "presumably" because my schedule didn't allow for the leisurely perusal that i hoped for, but I did get a chance to take in the town.

Built on the Puyallup Valley, Tacoma's architecture is an interesting mish mash of turn-of-the-century grandeur, and working waterfront practicality. The theater we played, The Rialto, was originally built as a silent movie theater with full pipe organ,and has some of the best natural acoustics I've ever heard .

Just a few blocks down to the Puyallup River, tamed gradually over the last century by engineers, and you stand in the heart of a working dock, and all of it happening under the watchful gaze of Mt. Rainier (above), the most prominent peak among four others around the valley.
The five peaks are the focus of legend among the native Puyallup tribe , who tell of five sisters who were turned into peaks, one of which, mt. Rainier, was told by the gods to "be grandmother" to the valley below, which she did, via the high rising Puyallup River, providing the fundamentals for life to flourish in the valley below.

This was my first sojourn to the Pacific Northwest, and to make a completely subjective obsevation, I couldn't help but notice how 'mid-western" it felt, rather than "coastal". In short, as I sat in Alfred's cafe, with a calzone and a pint of Manny's Pale Ale, it felt more Chicago than San Francisco. Friendly folks, used bookstores and , as one expects in this state, very good coffee at every hands turn, as indicated by the tiny bathroom size drive-thru espresso cabins perched in every Mall parking lot. That's jut my take, but if you have anything to add, let me know.

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