July 18, 1999
|I was awakened at 9:30am by a lady that
informed me that all tenters have to be out by 1pm. After packing everything, I decided to
go up to tent city since they are now allowing people back. Just before tent city there is
a hostel which borders it. The group last night said they were staying there with a lot of
"cool peoples", as they put it. I decided to check their prices first, and while
I was there, I recognized a dog that was near me. Then I heard the owner calling her and
looked to see a familiar face. "Shawn", I said. He looked for a moment and then
finally recognized me as the cyclist he met almost 2 weeks ago. We shook hands and both of
us were genuinely surprised to see each other. I thought, "cool, I found him."
Shawn said that he was beginning to give up on me even getting here. He also told me about
the dynamics of tent city with the constant, non-stop, partying
with the trash and
food strewn about the woods. The bears are already a bit confused and crazy because of the
fires, and careless attitudes and food about doesnt help. I was also informed about
the amount of theft that has occurred and the hostel campground is a bit more safe.
Considering all my options I figured it would be like paying for insurance to protect my
gear. So, for $9.00 a night, I get: A locker, a tent site, a bathhouse to use, a shared
kitchen, a and a common room. This is only $6.25 US dollars so is actually pretty cheap.
After setting up my tent and bathing, I took my laundry back across the ferry to town. While waiting for my laundry, I went to the coffeehouse next door. Inside I was greeted by Shannon. I met Shannon this morning as I was leaving the schoolyard. She was the only other tenter up and out of her tent. I had asked her where she was going, trying to find out where some free camping might be. She had no idea at that time. During the summer, this town fills up with 20-somethings that will live in tents and find work in town. Many of them come out here as sort of a journey of self-discovery. Some are here for all the partying, and some Ive met dont really have any direction and are just figuring out life one day at a time.
Today just happened to be the 100th birthday for the Palace Grand Theater. While parking my bike out front, I saw a black guy with dreadlocks, holding a camera just like mine. Paul is a photographer, and although he had the same camera body as mine, he had much better lenses in the professional series of Cannon. Paul was pretty cool, and after finding out about my journey, he vouched for me so I could follow him upstairs to do some photography stuff on the show stage. It was great to hang out with him and observe his technique as he photographed inside and outside the theater. While outside, Paul asked the can-can girls to pose for a photo. They thought it was unusual that I didnt want to be in the photo. Most people get their photos taken with them, but I said that I had enough photos of me. I was talked into posing with them while Paul took some photos and then used my camera.
Filled with a bit of inspiration from Paul, I set out around town to photograph people and buildings. Out on Front street I saw Shannon sitting on the boardwalk looking bummed. She said she still had no clue as to where she was going. Her "tent-mate" was supposed to show up for her first day of work at the ice cream shop and was already 10 minutes late. Apparently, her friend was supposed to work out a place to stay today and Shannon sat in front of the ice cream shop waiting for her. Realizing that she wasnt going to show up for her first day of work, Shannon decided to quit waiting and walk around town.
While photographing people around the park, I met Karee-Ann, Derek, and Karee-Anns Siberian Husky "Gypsi". The three of them sat in the grass enjoying the bright, late-evening, sun, under a small shade tree. I encounter many people while I bike across this great continent of ours, and always feel the energy they put out. As soon as I met Shawn, I knew he had good energy and we would get along great together. Karee-Ann is another of those rare people that exudes such a positive energy force that it can captivate people. While talking to her I learned about her great Australian journey, the significance of her tattoos, her current job, and ideas of holistic healing that she wants to get involved with. An incredible person with an incredible story to tell. As Ive said before, I find it very important to look beyond the physical person and try to see them on another level, at their soul. The body is just a vehicle for the soul. Its like a car, you wouldnt necessarily judge someone by the car they drive, but the person inside.
Back at the hostel campground, I ran into Sean and his tent-mate, Kevin. We decided to go for a walk, and as we were leaving, 3 girls that Sean knew walked up the gravel road to meet him. They wanted to hang out and play some music. They introduced themselves to me as Lisa, Kelly, and Yunita. Kelly had a guitar strapped to her back, and Yunita was carrying a long, round, pipe looking sort of thing, called a didjeridoo. The six of us walked down a rocky beach along the Yukon river. After about a mile or so, we stopped by an old ship wreck and sat by this old, dilapidated, wooden structure. Kevin played the guitar some and we all just hung out and shared stories.
Sean spent the previous 4 years with his own radio show. It was late night, Saturday nights from 11pm into the early morning hours. He practiced a form of journalism called "gonzo journalism". A totally unplanned, unpredictable, broadcast performance while intoxicated from alcohol or marijuana, or both. They had call ins and would also go on the streets to talk to people. Sometimes they would smoke a joint on the air and describe what they were doing. His friend Kevin ate a can of cat food on the air and also discussed his research as an anthropology major. He told how some tribes practiced "hallucinogenic enemas", by putting the drug in their rectum to prevent getting sick.
The name of the radio show was "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out", as originally phrased by Timothy Leary.
Anyway, what a great evening! I really enjoyed those wonderful people I was with. And Im really gonna like being around Kevin. Hes always smiling and has a great sense of humor.