Greetings from Seattle

The Professor and I arrived in Seattle a couple of days ago for a vacation and it has taken a few days to rid myself of the jet lag cobwebs and write something lucid. It has been five years since my last visit and since I have relatives living here, I thought it was time.

One reason I don’t travel more is because I hate to fly. I’m not afraid to fly or anything like that, but anyone who has flown in the last few years knows what I am talking about. Everything about it seems designed to bring out the absolute worst in humanity. The hassle starts at the security checkpoint and ends when you pick up your luggage from the carousel…if your luggage is indeed there. There are just so many reasons to hate flying that I consider it a minor miracle that people actually do it.

Fortunately our flight was not too bad. We had an equal number of takeoffs and landings, our luggage arrived intact and we didn’t have to put up with anyone too obnoxious on the plane. Our flight in Portland was canceled, but they were kind enough to rebook us on a flight leaving a half hour later. Not bad when you consider just how wrong this can go.

Our hotel ended up being a nice little surprise. It was recently renovated (their website wasn’t lying) and we have a nice room overlooking the Green River that no one seems to have smoked in. There is a great walking trail along the river which we have been using every morning, and we found a train station a block from the hotel which will take us to downtown Seattle for $2.50. Since parking in downtown Seattle is for masochists, this is an awfully good choice. The hotel has a decent free breakfast in the morning, internet access and free coffee all day….amazing.

On our first day we met up with my cousin who took us to a fabulous Chinese restaurant. Out here they are much more authentic; we were the only white people in the place and there was no fork to be found which is a sign that you are in a place that caters primarily to Chinese. The restaurant was part of a giant strip mall of Chinese shops of every description. We browsed through some of the shops after we ate dinner and it was fascinating; some of the oddest things I have ever seen were for sale. Every kind of live fish you can imagine was for sale, strange fruits and vegetables and all kinds of herbs in boxes with inscrutable characters I could not read. My cousin bought some fresh fish, and while we were standing in line at the checkout stand I saw bamboo ear spoons for sale! Their function is apparently just exactly what you might think…very strange. Maybe I’ll pick up one for Sean….

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