Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yield if You Like

2,000 miles mean some subtle changes in everyday life, and here's what we've noticed so far:

The Absence of Stop Signs
In Browne's Addition, where our apartment is, most of the intersections are either marked with yield signs or nothing at all. This means, while you don't have to stop, you should if you don't want to be t-boned by an oncoming car. Our friend Jonathan told us it's like this in other places too, and that it's kind of an eastern Washington "don't impress your rules on us, man" kind of attitude. At these free-for-all intersections, most people seem to slow down just enough to see if anyone else is coming, but there doesn't seem to be a rule for who is supposed to stop. 

Paws Everywhere
Spokane seems to be more dog friendly than anywhere in Michigan. There always seems to be at least one dog wandering the isles of our local grocery store, Rasauers, whose name I still don't know how to pronounce. Even now, as I'm sitting at the coffee shop a couple houses down the street from our apartment, there are three dogs tied up on the patio outside, and a small lab has wandered in the open door and is lying on the rug by the fireplace. 

The Aluminum Trail
Riding our bikes the other day, I noticed a surprising amount of beer and soda cans lining the road. I told Joe we could make a pretty good amount of money if we collected and returned them, and then I realized there were so many because Washington doesn't have a deposit on their cans and bottles. They do seem more devoted to recycling though; even our apartment has a dumpster and three cans for recycling.

Learning the New Store
Then there is grocery shopping. In west Michigan, there is Hudsonville Icecream and the generic food brand Spartan. In Marquette it was Jilberts and Our Family, and in Washington it's Tillamook and Western Family. And all the new beers and wines! There's also a surplus of new candy products, and, sadly, some are missing.We have a lot of culinary investigation to do.

New Birds to Feed!
We don't have a bird feeder yet, but once I get one, I'm expecting to see a lot of new friends. Last week, I saw what looked like a crow in front of our apartment. When I got closer I noticed it had white sides and a dark blue sheen on its wings. After looking through my bird book, I discovered I had just seen my first black-billed magpie!

That's all I can think of for now, except for the strange roads and interesections. Joe thought west Michigan was weird with its streets that have three different names, but here, streets connect and intersect at very odd angles, sometimes making several little islands and cement shapes in the middle of an intersection. I'll take a picture of one soon.

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