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Prechewed Gum and Man-heels.

Yesterday my host and Seattle tour guide decided the time was ripe to show me the wonders of the big city. For her this necessitated a cute outfit and $15 of parking money. For me it meant it was time to break out the cowboy boots.

We started at Pike Place, the gigantic indoor/outdoor farmers market. It was packed with vendors and tourists for as far as I could see, but within fifteen minutes of entering I’d spotted a pastel artist’s booth and fallen in love. I ended up spending next week’s gas money on a print, but it makes me irrationally happy every time I look at it so I figure it was money well spent. Who needs to drive back to school anyway?

After my startling initial money hemorrhage we were a little more prudent, and made it all the way to the gum wall at the other end of the market without being lured. Though there were some darling animal-shaped hats that nearly did me in…

Back to the gum wall. Yes, it is a wall of gum. I don’t know what I’d expected when confronted with the two words “gum” and “wall” used in conjunction, but it was not the sight that met my eyes when we

That's right, let the children get really close to the festering wall. Parenting 101

turned a corner at the bottom of some stairs. The gum wall is possibly the most disgusting and amazing thing I’ve ever seen- it’s close to a city block of wall covered in (thoroughly pre-chewed, of course) gum. And it’s not just a scattering of pieces- when I got closer to the wall (which smelled strongly of mint) I realized there were layers. And best of all, there were things stuck into the layers- pennies, string, used condoms- heck there might have been a person in there and it would have been hard to tell. I was simultaneously repelled and awestruck.

Draza makes a break for it

We paid our respects and headed back up the stairs, which was when I first began to get an inkling of how poor my footwear choice had been. I gamely (stupidly) kept wandering, limping more and more noticeably as we checked out books, flowers, food, and the water front. Somehow we found ourselves at the bottom of roughly one million stairs which, horribly, stood between us and the car. I felt like there were two hungry sharks on my feet and my guide echoed similar feelings, but I’m not a mountain biker (and she’s not a computer engineer) for nothing- we pushed our way through the pain and climbed those stairs like champs. It was an incredible feat of determination, even compared to racing with Sabine Spitz.

Once we’d safely removed our sharks- uh, shoes- and had begun the drive home I started to wonder who thought of cowboy boots anyway. A knee-high shoe with a two inch heel seems like a strangely effeminate choice for the world’s tough-guys. I guess there’s something good about cowboy boots in the stirrups of a saddle, but what good is having that heel when you’re running from, say, a herd of stampeding bison? Or have to walk more than 30 feet? Having seen guys try to walk in high heels more times than I’d like to admit, I know it’s not easy for them- so how did the world’s cowboys agree that heels were in? If anyone knows, please tell me. Till then it’s more culture, bikes, and feats of strength in Seattle.

A good place for cowboy boots

A bad place for cowboy boots

What? Cowboy boots?

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