So we decided to pass by the Rainbow Gathering which is due to take place close to Mount St. Helen’s – which is pretty much exactly where we wanted to go anyway. This means that we are on Craigslist Rideshare in the hope of picking up a bit of the traffic which will surely head south from Seattle and its urban spread. And this means having to hang around shopping mall car parks all day trying to connect on the Wi-Fi. Great.
It all feels so much different to Canada even if many people said it shouldn’t. It’s busy, there are cars everywhere – actual traffic jams, casually thrown up when too many vehicles find themselves trying to share the road. I haven’t seen that since Seoul. Even the ramps onto the freeway have traffic lights to allow one vehicle through at a time as if it’s all one big race somewhere. Spanish has replaced French as the language to be printed alongside the English and, well, no one understands my London accent – deprived, as they have been, of the British influences north of the border.
As the rush hour fills up, we head a few miles to a Casino on an Indian Reservation called the Muckleshoot. We have been told that there is a good park up there – a potential for boondocking, to use the RV vernacular. Casinos exist on Indian lands because they are illegal elsewhere which means they also sell fireworks and let them off which is also illegal elsewhere. And next week it’s July 4th. Which means that the Casino car park turned into a massive firework selling event attended by hundreds of people who can’t wait until Independence Day to consume their purchases but choose to walk the 50m from firework stall to waste ground to set them off straight away. To the left it looked like a carnival – to the right it looked like a modern-day battlefield.
So to the sound of ‘Thunder Bombs’, ‘Sky Flames’ and ‘2lb Waking Deafs’, I chatted with the people who work here and were quite excited to inform me about their two and half week money-making operation – the biggest such operation in the state. Many of them seemed genuinely sympathetic to the lack of such opportunities in the UK although one interesting old man from Idaho did ask me why we celebrated our independence five months later on 5th November.