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October 30, 2005

Seattle's International District: Then and Now by Harley Spiller

Seattle's International District: Then and Now

In May 2001, while walking in Seattle, Washington's Chinatown, more commonly called the "ID" or International District because of its pan-Asian and African-American communities, I passed a store selling imported Chinese provisions.  Once-new merchandise had long ago faded in the sun and turned antique.  I sidled past, but intricate, grapefruit-skin yellow shelving caught my eye.  In I went, through the heavy wood and glass doors, sounding a bell.  The nearer of two Chinese gentlemen watching television in folding lawn chairs in a back room rose, and started toward me, while I scanned the old wooden shelves partially full with canned goods, cleaning implements, clothing and a variety of imports. A homemade galvanized steel tea caddy with matching scoops proffered a dozen different loose teas; a metal rack displayed Asian flower and vegetable seeds; there were herbal medicines of every description, and lots more.

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