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Monday, June 8, 2009

Northwest Washington State and Vancouver

Whenever I travel, I am full of questions. What kind of moss is that hanging from the trees? Where do the people of the area come from? Where's the nearest collection of indigenous peoples' art?

The Northwest Coast of the United States and lower Canada are amazing! There are mountains, ocean, rivers, forests, and lakes. Friendly people are happy to recommend places to see if you will only be here a short time. Seafood is excellent, and I was happy to have some sockeye salmon yesterday in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The art of the native tribes is fascinating, and hiking is rigorous and beautiful.

This part of the country does not seem to be suffering much from the economy yet, and housing prices remain much higher than the Midwest. Vancouver was preparing for the 2010 Olympics and had a much lower homeless population in the downtown area than Chicago. As the taxes from incomes dwindle, more and more people are being affected. Will there be pockets of the country that are protected from the shock most of us have been through? I certainly hope so. Michigan is being forced to retool itself, which is a good thing. Much like the Quad-Cities (IL-IA) during the farm debt crisis, Michigan will have to diversify in order to survive. Yet the suffering of financial insecurity is so unpleasant I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

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