Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Photocrawl II

My friend Paula and I returned to Seattle this past weekend for our second Photocrawl experience! Joining other local members of our Yahoo Photojournaling group, Gwen (our intrepid organizer), Lynne, Louie and Dawn, we met up in the International District and spent three hours photographing Kobe Park and the Community Gardens, the circa early 1900's vintage buildings, the International District Festival, the famous Iwajimaya and more.

So much color everywhere. Table umbrellas that resemble the cocktail versions that poke shyly out of a fancy drink. Children running and laughing and playing with bubbles. Dancers and musicians performing. It was hard to focus on any one thing with the cacaphony of sound and light all around you.

By contrast, the gardens were serene and filled with small plots of vegetables and occasional flowers being tended carefully by older women whose countenance were weathered, but radiated peace and contentment to be working in the rich dirt. Interspersed throughout the garden were stone lanterns and everything was located on a steep terrace that wound its way up the hill. The entrance was marked with a cornerstone dated 1911. There were benches that flowed down the hill like a waterfall, gracefully inviting you to sit for awhile and look out at distant Elliot Bay. Prayer flags flapped in the prints of children's pensive faces keeping watch over the nearby garden shed. Robins and wren flitted across the paths and everywhere you were met with the music of the birds in the trees. As if to underline the quiet contentment of this garden, someone had written "not worried" on a nearby wall.

While drifting through the booths at the festival with Paula, we passed a booth of Buddhist priests passing out incense and asking passersby to make a wish. I didn't hesitate to accept that offer and took an incense stick to make a wish. The priests spoke little English and so I did not initially understand that I would also have to kneel down on a small bench to make that wish. My knees were not so eager to make the wish as I was, but I made it into a kneeling position and fervently wished for the world to regain it's stability again so all our lives can once again go forward!

Three hours after starting our photographic trek, we all met at the Tea House in the Panama Hotel. Built in 1910 to house visitors and Japanese bachelors, the motel thrived until World War II, when the Japanese were sadly driven from their homes. They brought to the hotel, their prized belongings, which were hidden under the floors and in the basement in hopes they could be recovered after the war. When the hotel was reopened many years later, much of the belongings were still there waiting for their owners. The well worn wood floors and brick walls held history that you could sense in the air around us.

The six of us sat down at a long table where Gwen gave us each a journal she had created from newspaper and gesso, just right for us to journal our day. I added a few pages to mine to accommodate all the photos I printed out on my POGO printer. We all shared a lunch of paninis, fresh lemonade, ice tea and ginger molasses cookies while we chatted and laughed and created our journals. Time went by so quickly and too soon it was time to say our goodbyes.

Paula and I walked to the nearby hostel where we were staying, the American Hotel. I slept on the top of a bunk bed, something I had not done since I was a child and had a blast. We woke up to a delicious breakfast of whole grain rolls and cream cheese, oranges, bananas, oatmeal and tea and listened to the music of a dozen voices from every part of the world you can imagine except for the poles. We loaded up the car and took one final trip to Uwajimaya and bought a sweet roll stuffed with pulled pork (these were absolutely amazing!) and headed to Daniel Smith's to gather a few more art supplies and headed home.

Can't wait for our next adventure!!! Next time it's Portland!!!


Louie said...

WOW - your journal is fantastic! Your writing is so creative and you pulled together a LOT of facts in an entertaining way - not to mention the great photos and use of ephemera.

Paula McNamee said...

Jan, our trip was great fun. I really like how you put your journal together with your photos, pockets, bookmarks and that wonderful dragon. The lucky cats page is one of my favorites.

Dayna Collins said...

Fun to see your journal pages after looking at Paula's! Beautiful and looks like you have a lovely tradition established.