< May 24, 1998 >

Folklife!

The day started slow. Mostly because of my cold and being rather uncertain of whether or not I'd last out a day at the Festival. But we decided to go in the early afternoon after a breakfast of pancakes and real maple syrup.

I had the bear trap on, and it was a good thing, I think. I didn't get that tired that quickly. And it was funny because we brought Fezzik along as well, and had the usual fun of watching him in a crowd, or, more accurately, cutting through a crowd of people with shorts on with his cold, wet nose.

As we made our way to the meeting place with Raven, Gretchen commented, with delight on the main aspect of the Folklife Festival that I've always been in love with, that as you move through one venue to the next, the music from one fades out just as the other fades in. The inbetween is something of a cacophony, but each venue begins to state itself clearly and cleanly on the consciousness as you walk into its territory. And they are scattered across the whole of the Seattle Center. Dozens and dozens of them, nearly a dozen of them official, the rest just gathering places in odd corners where music could be made and simply heard.

We found Raven by the Flag Pavilion, somewhat burnt out by being at the Festival all alone.

The food was right there as well, and we were all hungry, so we all found something interesting to eat and started to just wander about. There were dozens and dozens of food booths as well, most from the Taste of Seattle, booths that make rounds all summer long, from one festival to another, but all gathered here for the start of the summer. Also gathered were a number of craft and fun festival goods boothes, with handmade and unique items for sale. We wandered slowly through them, looking here and there at cool things, everything from hand bound books of handmade paper, to herbal loaf-pressed soaps, to hand blown glass decorations, to hand marbled silks.

Both Gretchen and I got caught by the hand marbled silks. I got specifically trapped by this lovely blue marbled silk jacket with sueded silk panels and blue swirled Fimo™ buttons. Okay, and a huge blue scarf with green overtones. I got both. More damage to my bonus, but that's okay. It was well worth it. At the end of the craft section was the drummer's Cove, which had been pulled out from the small stand of trees it usually is and put out on the main lawn around the fountain. It sounded different and seemed more organized this time than before.

Much wandering, with some time to stop to watch the fountain in the middle of the Center where anyone can play in the fountain's spray and even Fezzik wandered down and both got wet and took a drink. The music there was from all directions, so no single source or sound type. There was a stop to get a fix on what Tex-Mex polka sounded like, along with a long standing stop to listen to an insanely intricate bagpiper and his drummer who had a special type of snare drum that nearly snapped with each beat. Sharp contrast to the very analog sounds of the pipes. There was then a long sitting stop to watch a juggling go through his routine.

As we were thinking of going back home, we went through this bottleneck area where a four-man acapella group had stationed themselves. They were so good and were attracting so many listeners that they nearly stopped all motion going through there. So instead of trying to push through, we stepped aside and just stopped and listened for a while. Mrrrrr... lovely work they were doing, too.

Once out, we had to come up with a plan, so we walked a few blocks further than our car to Raven's apartment, had him pick up his overnight stuff, and come over and stay out on the futon or the couch for Fezzik to lick.

On the way home, while thinking about dinner, I realized that I still craved black bean crab, so we went to the Ohana Fish Market at the Crossroads Mall, and bought two huge Dungeness crabs and a large amount of true cod. Also stopped at the QFC for other things like ice cream, baby bok choy, and things to marinate the seafood in. Got home, and I was so exhausted, I took a nap before even making dinner. Went to sleep with the sounds of Gretchen exclaiming at whatever Raven was doing with the Bandicoot, and sounds of laughter alternating with swearing. That was kinda funny.

Got up feeling much better and set to work. Very first thing was to set the rice to cooking. Next was marinating the cod in ginger, soy, golden cream sherry, a bit of sugar, garlic and green onions and then stuck it in the oven to bake. Then sectioned all the crab into eating sized pieces, and then had John clean the bok choy while I cracked all the crab and cut up green onions and more garlic to cook it with. So when all the ingredients were ready, I dumped oil into a hot wok, then added a handful of garlic and several heaping tablespoons of black bean sauce, and fried them together until the fragrance got through even *my* stuffed and clogged sinuses. Then I dumped all the cut, cracked crab in and stirred until hot. Dumped the whole thing into a glass pan to let it soak the flavors in, and then rinsed the wok under hot water, used a plastic scrubby on it with no soap and then stuck it back on the fire. More oil, and then the baby bok choy. Stir fry 'til crisp tender, add a pinch of salt, a bit of water to steam it just a touch more, and then it was dinner.

Yum.

They all loved it. I wished I had my nose, but I liked the taste of everything anyway. Yum.

After that it was another episode of the Iron Chef, with scallops, and then a little Bandicoot brain eating. Finally, again around midnight, it was sleep. Yum... sleep.

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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