El Refugio

A place on the web for escapism.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Seattle: Gay Pride Day

Unbeknownst to me, I'd arrived in Seattle on Gay Pride Day. At first, I'd noticed a lot of really tall women in Seattle. The closer I walked, the closer I looked: Those aren't Women! Big laugh! I need glasses, and to turn my gay-dar back on. For years, I'd marched in, attended or watched the Gay Pride Parade  in SF--and here I'd blundered into Seattle's version.  Waiting in long lines at the bathrooms proved entertaining at least, as a variety of lewd and no-so lewd tongue-in-cheek comments were bandied about. These  signs for the restrooms are tiled on the floor, and yielded a funny banter:

Seattle's Pike's Place Market. File under
"Don't forget to look down!"

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Take That! Ronald!

Somewhere in Italy, my friend jcRiver stumbled across this delightful statue.

Ketchikan: Public Transit

From the late 80's til about 2001, I rode public transit as I commuted from Oakland to SF day in and day out. At one point  the trans-bay and local buses became bus-sized advertising billboards, plastered in their entirety with giant ads. Horrible! It became impossible to see out the windows, which diminished the whole "riding the bus" experience tremendously. It is with relief that I show you an alternative in Ketchikan, AK, where they have beautiful buses whisking tourists off to "historic" "red-light" districts. Well, never mind that, the buses are pretty.

As it had turned out to be such a fine rainy day, I chose to walk and hike instead, arriving early and exploring areas a bit beyond the touristy jewelry - trinket - t-shirt shops. Everything was lush and green, as a rain forest should be.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ketchikan: Pier Art

Industrious, Beaver typically displays his large teeth and trademark flattened tail.

Both of these modern art pieces feel a little bit "theatrical" in their brightly overdone colors (shimmering purple?, really?). Older totems, or totems made in a more traditional style use natural dyes, such as berries, mosses, tree bark and clay. Natural dyes are generally more muted than modern paints, and lack preservatives, consequently, they appear to age over time. (I'm still wondering if these two examples are made from fiberglass, but couldn't get close enough to find out.)

Raven is distinguished from Eagle by its straight beak, whereas Eagle  has the tell-tale bird of prey hooked beak. Raven is also known as one who stole the Sun, and is often pictured with a sun disc in its beak, hidden under a wing, or clutched in its claws. Note the high tide marks on the pole.

Ketchikan: Stained Glass

Along the walkway from the pier are these fine stained glass banners.