we wandered around a bit, watching the smoke puff from the hot soil, finding the remnants of people's lives - a driveway here, a stone wall there, the base of a chimney in a sea of dried thistle. the gasses issueing from the ground were making us dizzy, by the end. we were in the process of leaving when we came across a large stone wall encircling an orthodox cemetary, a little higher on the hill. the ground there was still warm, but not like the ground in "town." we put a blanket out and set out food and had a lovely picnic among the dead residents of a dead town.
after our picnic, we wrote our troubles on slips of paper and slipped them into the wall, and i had to explain to a not particularly bright woman that the alphabet on the gravestones was Cyrillic, and that this was an orthodox cemetary (they have a funky weird cross, too). "so, these people don't believe that God hung on the cross?" the woman asked. "you mean jesus," her son corrected her. "which people?" i asked. she waved her hand around. "you know. the jews." right. oh, there was also a panda eating a willow tree.
so we packed up and headed out of centralia and into ashland, the next town over. we took a tour of a coal mine and rode on a choo choo named Lokie (a steam powered narrow-rail locomotive made by Vulcan in Wilkes Barre, for anyone who might be a railroad buff, at the Pioneer Coal Mine). i wore a suede jacket, and there were mushrooms and a strange asian woman who talked like an american in asia (i.e. loudly). i bought jesse a train whistle and got myself a book on centralia.
then we headed home, stopping for sushi and sake at the hana restaurant. and there was much rejoicing.
there's pictures. i'll post pictures once i have a chance to download and sort thru them.