Monday, June 9, 2008

To Richmond, East

Now in Richmond, among the quaint buildings and scrunched together streets. It seems as thought there is a higher ratio of occupied space to streets here than there is in most West Coast cities. Everything just seems closer together. I like it.

I read in a book about Bangkok that that city is 16% streets to occupied space, London 24% and New York 32% give or take. L.A. must be 40% I'm guessing.

I am very interested in traveling anywhere where there is less space occupied by cars and more foot traffic. In regards to Bangkok, that would mean Sois, very small streets with little room for cars. Of course, pedestrian malls are always nice too, but at least on a small street, even if cars are allowed, everything is much more intimate and one can actually see the people across the street well, rather than a sea of cars monopolizing the entire landscape.

Here in Richmond things are very nice. I escaped the rain and gloom of Seattle, for which my threshold reduces seemingly by the year. This spring in particular has been lacking in clear sunny days. I am simply not cut our for being stuck indoors all day every day, as my hyperactivity is severe.

There is a river, the James, running directly through town here in Richmond. Apparently it has been cleaned up in recent years and it is fine to swim in. My cousins and I went there yesterday. We all forded to the other side, Annie, the youngest at ten years, on my back holding tight, Eleanor, the second oldest to me, down river from us a ways to catch Annie in case she was pulled off of me, and Andrew and Gray taking up the perimeter. It was a wonderful experience with nature, right in the middle of a semi large city and not far off from perfection.

Andrew at one point saw a snake in the river which I went after, Gray, our resident snake expert, having told me it was a harmless species. After I had the serpent by the tail everyone changed their song, and all of a sudden I was holding a potentially poisonous species.

"It might be a Cottonmouth!" Andrew and Gray exclaimed. I dropped it back into the water, worried that I had broken it's tail while it helicoptered in my hand.

The people here in Richmond are nice too, not all sodden and opposed to interaction as seems to be the status quo in Seattle. At one point during our wade, we came upon a rock with some beer drinking college students posted on it with a cooler, right in the middle of the entirely shallow river. We had just made our way half back from the other side to the shore where we began, and we rested there.

"There's a nice spot to jump off into right there." Said one of the guys.

"I have a paranoia of breaking a leg." I said. It was true. Strange water I am never eager to jump into without making sure it is clear of rocks and debris.

"Oh it's perfectly safe," the sole girl of their trio said matter-of-factly. "See, watch, it is plenty deep, you just need to jump in right where I do," and then she hopped in, a girl after my own heart.

After she got out she and her friends debated which exact spot was ideal to hop into. Granted, this was a whole one foot of a drop, "Not too extreme," as one of the young men mused.

I hopped in, touched the bottom, and managed not to break my leg.

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