Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cross Country, and back. Section 3, part 12

If you have read any blogs up to this point, it might not be a surprise to you that I was excited for this final train ride. From NY to Chicago, a 4 hour layover and then on our way to Denver 38 hours in all. I had complained to Amil and his family that airports and train stations should have a little play area that adults are allowed and encouraged to play in, including treadmils, stationary bikes, bouldering walls, etc. I pretty much got that in Chicago. We happened to stop there on one week when an art exhibit that included fake grass and park games was open. We had jump ropes to play with, tetherballs to swing, and lawn darts to throw. Then we put our adult hats back on and drank a beer before boarding our next train. Once again, my hopes for plugging in and tuning out were a little dashed, but we met some amusing people and had some inspiring conversations.
 Denver (Nick)
Our anticipation to arrive in Denver was driven mostly by our excitement to stand up and leave the trains we had been riding in for almost two days. We walked off the train and through some construction, a little shocked at the warm sun and the vastly open streets, then took a bus to a half mile from Nick’s house. Amil had stayed with our friend Nick before taking the train up, and had left the car there.
Upon arrival I texted my dad that all our stuff remained safe in the car, to which he replied “that either says a lot about the people in Denver, or the quality of your stuff.”  I don’t know much about the crime rate in Denver, but I think it’s a little of both. After ringing the doorbell we discovered we were waking up Nick, his girlfriend, and the friends that had stayed over after a weekend-long Phish concert (what exactly that entailed, I was soon to find out). 
The rest of the day was spent joyously spread out on the lawn in front of their house, unpacking our car, and eating various delicious meals and treats provided by different members of the group- amazingly giant vegan ice cream sandwiches. Although it was a little strange to hear their recounts about their weekend without having enjoyed the same adventures, it was great having so many people sharing a space in such a simple way- just sharing stories, soaking up the sun (and smoking, etc).
We planned on leaving the next day, but our car, Stella, required some attention. We ended up spending most of the next day wandering through town after dropping off our car, deciding the 2 mile trip downtown would be more scenic on foot. One thing that struck me about Denver is the amount of dispensaries. Just as Seattle has their coffee shops, one on every corner, every strip mall is equipped with at least one dispensary, and some form of extreme exercise like spin class, rock climbing, or bikram yoga.  When we finally made it downtown, we were hungry for brunch and eager to eat at a vegan restaurant we ate at last year on our visit. Amil had some squash soup that he kept raving abuot, and I devoured a quinoa based burger with a fried egg on top and all sorts of gourmet toppings and dressings, as well as some delicious French fries.
After lunch, Amil went to get the car, and I set on a walk to another location we fell in love with, the tattered cover bookstore. I read that there are two locations, so I head toward the farther one that we hadn’t been to before.
I really like the city of Denver. Despite being a major city, it seems small and walkable. I walked about 30 blocks down their pedestrian sidewalk to the river. They don’t brag about being a sustainable but do cool things like promote recycling, have free trolleys, and rent board games for free in the sitting space between the pedestrian mall. It may have also been the warm sun, the size of the buildings, or the casual but efficient atmosphere, but I could see myself living in the mountains nearby, and calling Denver home one day.
Amil, Nick and his motorcycle riding, bearded friend aptly referred to as Barney did some bonding under the hood of our car, and after a quick trip to the parts store, ended up fixing Stella themselves for almost 1/7th of the price the car shop was charging, and as a result we got to stay one more night, which afforded us an opportunity to see my cousin.
Brittany was staying at her boyfriend’s place in Denver, and when we arrived she came out to meet us and show us around the block. Being college kids and musicians, I imagined the house to be a disaster, like the spaces I endured in college, so I understood her coming to meet us outside. After walking to a little park and catching up, helping a kid who fell down off the monkey bars and was crying his brains out but whose parents just kept yelling at him in Spanish not to talk to strangers, and doing a bit of catching up, my cousin and her boyfriend invited us into one of the coolest, and cleanest houses I have ever seen college students live in. 
They brought us downstairs past a mobile art installation he had been working on, as they introduced us to the cats and warned us that the roommates were still sleeping. The entire downstairs, save two bedrooms, was a recording studio. The corners had instruments that had been left behind by previous tenants or acquired from friends who needed storage space. Xylophones, drum sets and guitars, closed in by walls soundproofed in creative and modern ways. They showed us the recording room, and my cousin’s boyfriend began to explain the physics behind sound. This led us into his room for an experiment with frequency. If you emit a specific frequency for the space you are in (which can be calculated based on the size of the space), the frequencies hitting off the walls will cancel each other out and make really loud pockets and really quiet pockets. Of course, we had to try it out—the four of us walked around his narrow room ducking and standing on our tiptoes or pausing whenever the noise was deafeningly vibrant or surprisingly faint.
With our minds blown and our hearts happy, we packed ourselves into our tetris-ed car and head into the wilderness towards Estes Park for a night.

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