the 000 block of chinatown lane

Over several days of spot visits throughout Chinatown I periodically worried about committing any number of cultural offenses by taking pictures of peoples’ laundry hung out on the fire escapes. Personal undergarments trended toward the disappointingly big grandma-underpants range of the spectrum yet the feeling persisted I could be getting myself into some kind of trouble. Adam and I walked to the end of 000 Chinatown Lane where we spied through a ragged hole in a makeshift plywood wall into the center of the block, a tantalizingly forbidden view of even more laundry, mop-handles and exotic potted flora.

Red symbolizes good fortune in Chinese culture.

I posted the pictures I did tonight because this afternoon Adam and I found a one-story turreted adobe house in Ballard (one block south of Gilman Park on 9th Avenue NW) painted the color identical to this building. He and I biked the Burke Gilman Trail (a bike and pedestrian path) from Husky Stadium to the spot in Ballard where the bike path joins the street (3.5 miles total?). Our goal had been to reach saltwater at Golden Gardens but I explained to Adam 1. Training wheels don’t work very well on surface streets and 2. There are still some old ladies left driving around in Ballard. It was only the second time I’d ridden a bike since Adam was born (the other time was 2009 in San Francisco- across the Golden Gate Bridge). Adam did an excellent job riding his bike on the right side of the path. He got lots of thumbs-ups and giggles. I had to have a talk with him under the University Bridge about keeping both hands on his handlebars because after awhile he got full of himself and wanted to wave to all his well-wishers. The waving tended to drastically compromise his steering.

We stopped at Gas Works Park for a snack on a very windy, inhospitable Kite Hill. For the rest of our ride there was just one incident to speak of: Between Fremont and Ballard Adam tried to fake me out by pretending to almost ride into a metal pole.

Until 4:15 PM today all I’d eaten were chocolate creme-filled donuts. Then I went bowling tonight for the first time in ten years. My score was 106. Bowling is more fun than I remember. It used to mean going into a smoke-filled hall, peering through the haze trying to count the number of pins still standing up all while fighting off a mild asthma attack.

This is a view from Grant Street, through which most visitors to Chinatown are funneled at some point. It’s a very enjoyable place to walk, but then I discovered Stockton Street and was delighted to find I was in a real part of Chinatown and not just the kitschy Made in China version.

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