I’m running. Itself, its a rare thing these days. But I still enjoy it; the sand giving way underneath my feet and creating the extra slip of resistance is so very familiar. Its the feeling of my childhood; running across the beach, wiping the rain out of my eyes and looking across the sea is what I did every weekend of my youth. I relive it as my muscles complain that their memory is not as good as the ones stored in my head.
The main difference today is the view across the channel. Similar in its grey complexion, and in its low rolling hills which meld with the sky and sea, the view is fascinating. I’m running around the end of Point Worden, just outside of Port Towsend in Washington State. The view across the channel, like back home, is of a different country. This time it’s Canada rather than Wales. A little more exotic, but just as rainy.
This weekend, I learnt quickly that it is not advisable to take Coloradans to the rain. When in Colorado, they treat the rain as a rest. An enforced excuse to sit down and do things that are normally forgotten. They know that tomorrow will be a fine new day, with little lasting effects of the current showers. Whilst in Seattle though, a city known for its British weather, the Coloradans got angry. “who would live in such a rainy place?” they exclaimed. I just embraced the feeling of my skin rehydrating, and enjoyed the empty beach as I ran along its shore, not disturbed by those who had let the grey pervade their psyche.
Port Townsend sits snuggled just behind Point Worden and overlooks the Puget sound, opposing Seattle. Its one main street is dominated by coffee shops and cafes offering up all kinds of seafood and local faire. Its a trendy town, rejuvenated from its victorian beginnings. Surprisingly for a town surrounded by water and rain, it boasts five bike shops. The proximity to Olympic National Park is obviously an attraction for the two wheeled tourists.
Seattle bore no resemblance to the homeland, despite the familiar smell of humidity and things growing without struggle or strain. Leaving a cold and snowy Colorado for a cold and damp Seattle was as if someone had just swapped out the backgrounds; American cities are pretty similar. Perhaps the addition of a Starbucks on Literally every corner was its unique identifier? The distinguishing factor only came as we got closer to the sea.
The Pike Place market, world famous, holds position at the interface between the ‘cookie-cutter’ American shopping district and the docklands.
Men in overalls emptied the huge stalls of magnificent fish as we arrived, and we enjoyed the spectacle of the shimmering silver animals being thrown across the concourse.
The docklands and its enclaves also added identity to the sprawling mass of industry. Cargo tankers emblazoned with Chinese characters look parked against the sea bottom; their weight too much for the gentle waves to lift. Cranes were busy, even at 8pm, under the glare of huge lights; a port that never sleeps in order to feed the constant demands for material into American supermarkets and shops.
The Ferris wheel is a beautiful thing, no matter your age, or the weather of its locale. Seattles’ adds an element to the skyline that would be missing without it; a flair, a whimsical addition to the angular skyscrapers above it.
We watched the lights recede into the water, the light rain blurring the distance and creating an illusion of a small harbour, when actually Puget sound is one of the biggest container routes in the world.