Spokane [spo · can] is in the very most eastern region of the state of Washington, not the capital Washington, the real Washington--the state. It lies 32 kilometers from the border of Idaho; yes yet another forgotten among the nifty fifty. And though it does reside in the same state, it is no where near Seattle. Eastern Washington is a night and day variant from western Washington. The two are geographically separated by the Cascade mountain range, which keeps Seattles lush temperate climate all to itself.
Central and eastern Washington are dry, flat, and hot. It is a region of extremes; desert heat in the summer months, and an artic chill of severely low temperatures that bring thick blankets of snow in the winter. Extreme seasons have both the ups and downs, but then, what is out there that doesn't.
Between Seattle and Spokane lies about 500 kilometers of fields known as the Columbia Plateau, full of visually stimulating wheat, wheat, corn, wheat, some green herbish-crops, potatos, and more wheat. Humans are found inhabiting small boondock patches here and there, but city cannot begin until tree line and river line appear, and that is Spokane, lying in the shadow of the Rocky Mountain foothills. After mindless hours of driving, tumbleweeds and dirt devil storms as the only breaks inthe scenery, Spokane emerges seemingly out of no where. This city, known more collectively among the locals as Spokompton, is our next city. Bienvenue.
Second largest city in the state; home to many beautiful mansions atop the South Hill, though home to the many more who find themselves under or stradling the poverty line. To the north the main drags are lined by strip malls, fast food joints, and every style super-store imaginable under the sun. Gonzaga University (of which I attend) sits bordered on one side by the poorest neighborhood in the city, and on the otherside by the river and metropolitan downtown of designer retail and upscale dining and lodging.
We, the outsiders who move in periodically refer in snobbery to the locals as "Spokeys." Spokane is no Gotham, but it is no stranger to drugs and potentially high crime rate. The sense of security felt in some cities such as hmm Paris has no place here. Though no where near the mauvais reputation of say Atlanta, Chicago, LA, Detroit; no this is city meets small town topped off by a rotating population of rich alcohol-abusing college brats blasting teeth-grinding rap (music?) late into the night (can you tell where I am at this moment? yes). No I am not 43 years old, but my vision of college and ideas of pleasing ways to pass my life away have never seemed to mesh with the norm. Oh well.
There is another side of the coin however. It can be, if we look, a beautiful city. In the trees, the lilacs, the river and its many cascading falls. In the changing of seasons; pillowy piles of leaves in the fall, fresh whiteness in the winter, and tulips towering over dewey grass in the spring. Mt. Spokane is but a quick drive north, a day trip skiiers paradise. And for the runners, bikers, and walkers of the city, the Louis and Clark Centennial trail runs along the river, through the campus, and into the sparkling metropolitan downtown giving quite the vehicle-less route full of scenery and seemingly clean air.
For every negative, there is most likely a positive. Spokane is not Paris. Spokane is not Seattle. Spokane is Spokane. And We're here for a while. In my final year as a resident in this city, I invite you to accompany me in finally opening my mind to the good things here. Welcome to Gonzaga University, welcome to my house, welcome to Spokane. We're settling here, for now. Afterwards, only Cod knows. So, grab the blue bag and on y va.
* most photos are older than one year