Revisiting the past

— not trying to be a snob

Last weekend I had a chance to visit Ballard for the first time. It’s one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Seattle. I browsed a cute apothecary, ate at an upscale Mexican restaurant, and had ice cream at a hipster ice cream parlour. I spent some time walking around, saw a bunch of cute cafes and a pizzeria.

Trendy, cute, hipstery…it was exciting to see in the first five minutes, however, after a sampling of the shops, the place got old. I was happy to confirm that I’m not missing out living in the suburbs.

After living in New York and London, it feels strange when visiting chic parts of a less global city. ‘That’s cute…’ The attempts to be trendy in the same exact way always fall short. Coffee shops and restaurants copy styles inspired by shops in global cities, but there’s always a quality of ‘copying’. I felt it in Austin, TX and in Poznan, Poland. The same style of cafes and restaurants are being exported everywhere. They all look as if derived from the same Instagrammy inspiration, not created from scratch or with any local flavor.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I took a long motorcycle ride that led us to Yakima, Washington. It’s a run down town with a lot of abandoned lots and men drinking on the sidewalks in front of closed storefronts. The place doesn’t emulate in any way. There’s no feeling that there’s any attempt to, which was completely new.

yakima the city of Yakima is surrounded by hills like these

The peculiarity of such a place makes me want to visit again. There were far more Mexican restaurants, the signs for banks and shops were all in Spanish. The Mexican restaurant I ate at MADE THEIR OWN tortillas. When we visited the Shell gas station, there was a sign inside the shop window: ‘Gone to church. Sorry.’

There are plenty of towns that don’t wish to be anyone else. No one talks about them.

Ballard, however, is talked about. During my visit, I was brought back to my twenties, the days when I was enthralled by trendy places. Back then, I loved grabbing drinks while basking in ‘hipness’. It’s strange to see something so exciting become rather boring.

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