Little Europe? September 19, 2012
The coastal strip west of the Cascades, including the large cities of Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland, has a very similar climate to that of Western Europe away from the Mediterranean. The area is much smaller; a drive from Seattle to Spokane is less than five hours, but takes you from the climate of London to that of Yerevan, Armenia. And, the coastal strip’s reputation as the ‘None Zone’ theologically, with one of the highest percentages of people not associated with any organized religion, also has a very strong European flavor.
Now I read in the United Airlines inflight magazine that one of the major sports rivalries in the region is between the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timber, and the sport they play is – is this America? – soccer. Well, they don’t have quite as much great art, and they are a bit short on glorious cathedrals, but their scenery is more stunning – unless you’re close to the Alps or the Pyrenees – why bother with Europe at all, one wonders.
The Cascadians have not yet developed a taste for Gauloises cigarettes or Speedos, but on these points the younger generation of Europeans is converging with Cascadian culture rather than the other way around. They mostly also speak some degree of English, which is also the native tongue of most Cascadians. I’ll probably keep on going to Europe, but mainly for the cathedrals and the diversity of cultures. If I wanted European climate and attitudes, I only need to fly 1200 miles north.