Thursday, May 26, 2011

Walking Where the Other Half Live

I live in Bellevue. Now, for those of you who don’t live in Western Washington this statement might mean nothing to you. (Or it might mean that OTHER Bellevue in New York... I assure you - though I might *belong* there - I don’t live in that Bellevue.) When I first moved here, that statement meant nothing to me neither; it’s just a city where my tiny apartment happens to be located. It wasn’t until a couple years into living in my place that I learned Bellevue is also the city where some super rich people live as well. They actually live in a teeny tiny community called Medina about 2 miles from my apartment. Medina is home to Bill Gates and a bunch of millionaire+ people.

It's fun to go walking through this community and ogle at the strange things the super-wealthy spend their money on. Walking through Medina can be risky too though, because Medina's police are notorious for stopping and questioning people who don't look like they belong.

This last weekend, I took my life in my hands and took my camera (in the form of my cell phone – I really didn't want to end my walk in the clink by being too obvious with a full-on camera bouncing around my neck) on my walk through this wealthiest of wealthy neighborhoods. I want to show you some of the crazy and eclectic things I see as I walk down this one particular street. The lack of cohesion between the different houses seems mind-boggling to me.

Also, I apologize in advance for the blurriness of some of these photos... I was trying to be stealthy and sometimes I'd move before the camera was done with the exposure.

First up: Topiary Paradise:

I wish I cold have taken this picture from a better angle. This house's garden truly looked like a manicured garden straight from the grounds at Disneyland (minus the animal-shaped topiaries). Probably the only time I wished I had a rhododendron so I could shape it like a tiny tree. They were beautiful in full bloom. Mad props to their gardener.

Next: The only two actual retail locations in the entire mini-city of Medina:
The bottom floor of the green building was for lease for a while a couple years ago and I dreamed of opening a breakfast place in it.

Here's a close-up of the mural on the side of the Post Office:

This house reminded me of some place you'd see in Laguna. I think it's the gate on the front and the glass blocks. But I kept expecting to hear the ocean every time I looked at it.

Right next door to Laguna house:
We enter the forest. I'm not normally fond of dark wood on houses, but I really like this one.

A little bit further down the road, we find what I like to call The Castle. I really wish they would have gone all the way and put in a moat and drawbridge.

A really blurry side view of The Castle.

The Castle's next door neighbor: The Italian Villa.

Now, I feel I need to mention that all the pictures thus far come from the non-lake side of the street. The 'poor' side, if you will. They have no gates, no cameras, no keypads, and no 12 foot high, 4 foot thick shrubs protecting them from prying eyes like mine. I'm pretty sure Bill lives on the lake side where most of the drives look like this:

Or this:

The lake side also likes to know what time it is, apparently. Or maybe it's just this one particular house:

Though, some of the houses do like showing off. Take this angular beauty for example:

My favorite from the lake side (from what I can see, anyway) is definitely this one:

Dude, if you're gonna have a gate, at least make it a fun one. In case you're wondering, no, that is not a park but someone's front yard.

Yes, it's fun to walk through Medina and marvel at how the other half (or maybe it's more like 10%?) live. You also have to wonder, though, what are they hiding behind those gigantic barriers? And then I spotted these creepy little chairs huddled on the other side of a fence and I figured I was better off not knowing after all.


michael said...

That was very cool. You're fun to follow.

wendy said...

I agree with mike!! I want to be rich!!! Luv reading your blog!!