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2009-06-15 - 12:12 p.m.

...a car-full day...

Yesterday was Funcouver's famous and ever-popular "Car-free" festival. Car-free day is a fabulous experience on the Drive - the roadway is blocked off, people are out enjoying the sun, smiling, walking from stall to stall, and enjoying lots of music and fun entertainment. K and I have enjoyed it every year.

But there are some aspects that kind of get on your nerves after a while. It seems that one cannot enjoy any festival in Funcouver without involving loud and incessant (drug-induced?) BANGING on African drums. I'm really not a fan of African drums, probably because I live right next to a park that is the favorite hangout for people - the rhythmic and rhythm-challenged alike - who like to BANG LOUDLY on drums for hours on end and call it music. There is no sense of dynamic. There is no sense of variability in rhythm (for those who have it). It's just loud banging...for HOURS. And after the 2nd hour of being exposed to this, one starts to develop a hostile desire to pull out spears. Or well-directed sling shots.

And so K and I chose a more peace-loving alternative. Since we normally live car-free lives, we decided instead to have a DRUM-FREE day that was full of car. We packed ourselves into the toyota as the first amplifier was warming up outside our window, and shuffled south of the border to play in some lovely state parks in Washington.

We hadn't made the connection that yesterday was also American Flag Day. Do you know what this means in the rural parts of Washington State? After uneventfully crossing the border in the US we made our way down I-5, and at nearly EVERY overpass we encountered people standing on the tops of bridges waving HUGE flags and waving at the Canadians entering the country.

It was really kind of cool. Very patriotic, but in a really nice, welcoming way. Very positive. K and I put on our Canadian resident caps and rolled down our windows and waved enthusiastically back.

Flag-waving isn't a big thing in Germany (they have this kind of, oh, one might say NEGATIVE HISTORY involving flags and patriotism...), but it is big in the USA, and in Canada, too. And rightfully so - in my humble opinion Canada has the coolest flag out there. Nevermind any symbolism about the strength of a tree, the power of its roots, and its importance as a resource - that big red maple leaf just kinda makes you feel happy.

Anyway, it was just a neat thing to see all of these strangers waving at us as we entered the country. This friendly enthusiasm of the USA - to friends and strangers alike - is one of the things I like about it.

Every time we go south to Washington we try to incorporate some new experience with our favorite activity of going to historic Bellingham. This time, we discovered a really fun little state park in Ferndale (where my grandmother is buried), that incorporates a 100-yr-old homestead and several herb gardens and some farm animals. The park was huge, and Susi had a grand old time running barefoot in the grass. I really like this rural part of Washington State. Every time we visit, I feel very comfortable and happy there. I'm looking forward to our next visit, which we are already planning.

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