First Stop: Seattle
A few weeks ago, I packed up and headed out to do some traveling after I lost my job. First stop was Seattle, to a street festival in Poulsbo and the Pike Place Market with my friend Christian. It runs along the waterfront and is one of the longest continuously-run farmer's markets in the U.S.
At this market, fishmongers cry their wares in the traditional folksy sing-song style... and throw crustacious creatures like you'd expect a quarterback to throw a football. It works! The place has great fish, but the performance is just as important to business!
My friend Christian, who I hung out with, is a former Yugoslavian rockstar who played drums in a band called Kukuspit . Christian suffered a stroke a few years ago and now uses a cane to help him keep balance.
Here's Christian, back in the day, as the Bad-A prodigal son living the high life in Bratislava and playing in the band.
Christian's got a Frankensteinian scar that runs down the middle of his skull to the base of his neck. The stroke made it difficult for him to use the left side of his body. He says he's almost always dizzy as well. This guy has more tenacity than most people I know. He could have used his disability as an excuse to lounge around on his mother's couch, but Christian quickly got a job to rehabilitate, then less than a year later, chose to leave his family and move across the country without a job, just to have his independence. He landed a job shortly after and now get's along pretty well- except sometimes when he eats soup (read on.)
When I arrived at his apartment by the Navy shipyards in Bremerton, I was terrified by something bizarre I spyed on the ceiling. It felt as though I had landed in a crime scene: the ceiling looked like it was splattered with blood and guts.
"Who did you kill?" I asked him.
"It's soup." he said.
It was gross: little bits of red stuff resembling tiny pieces of mutilated flesh and blood from a murder scene hung dried from his ceiling and the top of his wall.
Like a detective, I inspected further and saw something that looked like celery and was reassured.
Christian's left hand is a little shaky since the stroke. He told me he had sat down to microwave some dried soup and his hand did some little post-stroke trick on him, catapulting the soup out of his bum hand and all over: onto the wall and ceiling. Needless to say, I insisted on helping remove the offending soup by scrubbing his ceiling.
That evening we went driving and stopped at a Norwegian town called Poulsbo. As luck would have it, it was that time of year when the Viking Festival was going on, a Scandinavian street fair. We stopped and wandered around.
There really could be no better way to start my trip than by a neighborhood street fair that sold food reminding me of my Norwegian heritage.
My grandmother used to make rosettes and sandbuckles for Christmas and my family makes Lefse and meatballs to celebrate our heritage during holidays.
We stopped by the Polsbo Bakery, famous for Poulsbo bread. I bought very yummy lefse, which is a flat potato pancake Scandinavians eat. They spread things on it or use it to wrap up meatballs.
Rosettes. They are much better when fresh from the fryer.
Some of the riffraff at the fair.
And look it's the Viking Days Royalty.
When the sun went down, the party just started. We all rocked out in the street with a live band.