( Beginning of this Adventure )
Friday, May 26th - Up in the back of town, where the houses are big and old and built on hills, near a cemetary, I park by what my GPS indicates is my friend Maureen's house. And lo, verily, there she is.
Maureen, AKA Reen, has auburn hair, blue eyes that sparkle with delight and/or mischief, and a big delightful smile, and an arsenal of expressions that seem vaguely a satire of 50s culture. As I mentioned, I met her the day I got off the boat, and I think I had probably last seen her in Sacramento in 2013 or 14, whereupon we had briefly caught up for coffee. She now works as a lemur at a funeral home in Bellingham, and as such, having just come from work, she was wearing a black or dark blue dress with what we decided to call "a serenity stripe" down each side (apparently it's difficult finding the appropriately somber but not TOO somber clothing for her job).
"Wait, what!," you might be saying, "lemur?!" Picturing a furry thing with saucer eyes and a barber-pole tail. But you see Lemures in Roman mythology are the "spirits of the restless dead," and since one of her duties is responding at all hours to go retrieve just-deceased persons and "take them into our care" it seemed appropriate and a lot more adorable than calling her a grim reaper. Also there was at one time a lemur snapchat filter which she used which was the best thing ever and I really hope they bring it back.
She lives in a big decaying old house (I tried to lean again a column by the doorway and realized it wouldn't hold my weight, and in fact the portion of the porch by the door that overhung the hillside didn't quite look safe at all) up in the hills above the center of town, and just around the corner from the cemetary and funeral home where she works. We had to tiptoe through the common areas of her house lest the
vengeful spirits housemates be disturbed, and despite our best efforts I believe one of them later griped.
We immediately proceeded downtown, got an outdoor table at a little restaurant on State Street. Here I pulled another really glaring Australianism. In Australia "entrees" are appetizers (which I've gotta give it to them on this one that does fit the meaning of the word better), and so I was looking at the menu assuming everything under the entree heading was an appetizer and tehre wasn't much left that otherwise looked like a main (maybe some things under "specials?"), and I was just saying "well I don't mean to be a weirdo and order an entree for my main but... [pause in which Reen looks at me a little perplexed] OH MY GOD THEY ARE MAINS"
Alas I forget what I had but it was quite good. Then we strolled about town a bit. It was fun because I particularly fondly remember Bellingham from when I came here aboard the Chieftain. The marina had been haunted by what we called "demon birds" due to their unearthly screech, next to a park with a memorial to lost fishermen/sailors, which Reen remarked had been sponsored by her employer!
I was in Bellingham on my birthday in 2010 (28th?), and it was quite like that movie Memento -- One minute it was only halfway through the evening, I was getting another drink in a bar on State Street, and then suddenly it was morning and I was in my bunk on the boat, in the blink of an eye, as if I'd been teleported! The rest of the missing evening slowly came back throughout the day as I interrogated people.
And now seven years later here I was again walking these same streets! Alas we were unable to work the dumpling (perogi) restaurant into the weekend, but that evening we did hit up a MEAD BAR (!!!). They had several meads on tap as well as some weird jazzy-folksy-hippie music act on and lots of people of the grey haired elder-hippie variety, were swaying to and fro and for some reason knew when the right time to clap was even though there didn't seem to be any corresponding stop, pause or crescendo in the music.
File footage of Reen doing a numbat impression
Saturday, May 27th - This day began with this utter deliciousness from local place the Mount Bakery (a nearby snow capped mountain looming up over the city at a distance is Mt Baker). The menu had numerous delicious looking options, but I had the "blackwood benny" (smoked bacon and black pepper among other things) and Reen had the biscuits and gravy. Back in 2010 I visited a very similar restaurant called "Bayou on the Bay," which ALSO had delicious eggs benedicts and omelettes and things. Clearly this is a very good city.
Other activities in around Bellingham which may or may not have been Saturday or Sunday including walking about a nice forested park just above down (Whatcome Falls), through which a river ran in a deep gorge. People were bathing under a waterfall and then a lot of swimmers were gathered in a swimming hole. I got some pictures I thought were pretty nice but my phone immediately deleted them (and yeah-no I do have the google photos auto backup setup but it deleted them before that could even happen).
Just south of Bellingham is a state park (Laramie) of trails through a forested bit of the coast, which was nice but had a HECK of a lot of people out enjoying the summer afternoon. Also in the category or Just South of Bellingham is a town called Fairhaven, which when I was on the boat I was completely unaware of since again when boat-bound land distances are insurmountable. Fairhaven was a lot like Bellingham but without stoned grunge-hippies hanging about everywhere. While poking around Fairhaven we found the schooner Zodiac at her moorings, which was yet another reminder of my sailing days since we used to encounter the Zodiac in all sorts of obscure parts of the Puget sound, for example looming suddenly out of the morning fog off San Juan island like some kind of predatory privateer.
Both Saturday and Sunday we stopped at a dogpark/bar in the afternoon to pet the doggies whilst having a beer or two.
Saturday we had mexican at a place in Fairhaven. Normally I hold myself to vows to have no Mexican food north of San Francisco, but compared to "mexican food" in Australia I felt anything in America would be thoroughly satisfactory.
Schooner Zodiac in Bellingham Bay, 2010
Sunday, May 28th - Reen dragged me
into the underworld along to her work. I saw dead people! Fortunately no one made me pet them, and there wasn't any gross embalming stuff going on. One of the dead people was wearing their nice suit and pink striped socks.
Then we, with Reen's coworker / best friend Alexandrina and her husband ?? went to poke around Fairhaven again -- this time there was a sort of festival on -- Ski to Sea, some kind of race? ("A 2017 Ski to Sea team consists of eight racers competing in seven different sports: Cross Country Ski, Downhill Ski/Snowboard, Running, Road Bike, Canoe (2 paddlers), Cyclocross Bike, and Sea Kayak.") so there was a festive atmosphere about. We ate at an Americana themed restaurant (burgers of course) in Fairhaven that was also totally delicious.
I'm sure I'm forgetting things we did, but long story short Bellingham is a delightful place with nice long summer days, delicious food, heaps of delicious beer (there's like at least three little craft breweries in town), and lots of beautiful forest areas to explore in the immediate vicinity.
Monday may have been a holiday for most of America, (Memorial Day), but turns out people in the memorializing industry have to work that day! So Reen had to work and I had to rush down to catch the boat! Although at this point it was proving a serious problem that I'd be catching the boat in one small seaside town (Newport, Oregon), and riding it to another (Coos Bay, Oregon), and from there I'd need to get to my car but apparently there's NO bus service directly between neighboring seaside towns on the Oregon coast and I'd have to take a bus way inland to Eugene and back out again and it would take something impractical like 24 hours of bus limbo hell. Obviously this is a subject for another entry but I'm mentioning it now to leave it hanging in suspense because at this point I myself was quite in suspense about how this could be done if at all.
And so, Monday morning, I bid adieu to lovely Bellingham and dear Reen my favorite lemur and began the journey south.
Apogee - Bellingham
( Beginning of this Adventure )
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