Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The time warp! The Washington Files Part...3?

When last we left off, our intrepid travellers had journeyed their last road, eaten their last gas station sandwich, and panicked about rolling backwards down their last hill.  The author had written her last incoherent runon sentence. (Ok, who am I kidding? I'll probably do that again, and soon!)

There's a bit of a wrinkle in time between the end of the last story and the beginning of this one.  This is because when we arrived, there was a whole day of moving trucks, allergies, restaurants in which at least 2 people were falling asleep at any one time (restaurants with excellent pie, though) and....hotel rooms with Bones and me and Patty.  Good times.  Except the allergies and stuff.  

It was Saturday I had really been looking forward to, because it was my first pure vacation day.   We were headed to Seattle, and not only that, we were about to meet up with two old friends, Ben and the fabulous Winger.  Fair warning: I may split Seattle into two posts....because there were two very separate reasons it was as amazing as it was.

Patty and I got dropped off at the ferry station (port? sea...hut?) and prepared for our first trip across Puget Sound.  It was actually kind of overcast and dreary when we got there.  It reminded me vaguely of The Ring.

These birds? not harbingers. So we dodged a bullet there, I guess.  As an aside, anybody know what type of fine feathered non harbinger friends these are? I'm curious. 

It's strange how foreign things can seem.  The ferry is probably (and somewhat embarassingly) the biggest boat I've ever been on.  I like the way the passenger section is set up. There's good places for you if you're alone or with a group, and there's tables, arcade games, and concessions. There's also window spots and spots on the open deck, if you're a natural born gawker like I am. 

Patty's happy this is significantly less creepy than the El. 

Anyway...the clouds seemed to go on their way pretty quickly, and we got a great view across Puget Sound.  Mountains a vague blue in the distance, sparkling blue waters, and the thick pine forest, busy bridges, and homes scattered along the shorelines.  

It's not too long a trip, not too expensive.  It was a good time to just relax, enjoy the ride, and see the sights. I keep wondering what makes a sound a sound...I'm not terribly familiar with sounds as opposed to islands or isthmuses or peninsulas, etc.  Must be a Washington thing. ;)

Seattle came into view fairly quickly, and from further out, it looked quite a bit smaller than it turned out to be.  We disembarked our fair ferry and attempted to meet up with Ben.  This was easier said than done. One thing I will say about Seattle: If you come in on the ferry,and you're trying to get picked up by a friend...it's really not set up well for you to be able to do that. I really have to hand it to poor Ben for tolerating tons of circling on a big scary highway just to pick us up.  

I found that Seattle has the type of vibe you tend to expect from it- young, hip, green and smart.  I didn't expect hills whose steepness  I'd only heard existed  in San Francisco.  Ben navigated through like it was his backyard, and he turned out to be an excellent tour guide.  We learned alot about the various neighborhoods, got to drive through a few of them, and had some "local" experiences- I think it was a really nice mix. 

We got in around lunch time, so we headed out to a Mexican place whose claim to fame is having baby sized burritos. 

I can't decide if this is creepy, amusing, disturbing or all of the above.  Maybe all of the above?

After lunch, we explored Ben's place of employ, an incredibly neat bookstore called The Couth Buzzard.  First of all, I never name things well (see: title of this post) and I find this an amazing, memorable name. But more than that, it's homey.  It has the musty book smell, the shelves on wheels that clear for music performances, local photographers displaying their work, and a coffee counter.  More or less a nirvana for the bookish nerds.  We got lost in there for a while, tried some interesting coffee drinks (I tried something called The Stinger, which is espresso, coffee, cayenne, honey...and something else? milk? It hurts a little, but then you flyyyyy), found a few neat card prints by a Seattle artist, and generally meandered the bookshelves. 

I'm glad we know this.

We stopped at a really interesting little space store that's actually a children's educational center too, and we hit a few more landmarks, like the Troll.   

We also got to go to Golden Beach right on Puget Sound. I promise there's more about this tomorrow, but it was a completely gorgeous day- probably high 70s or low low 80s, pure sunshine, wonderful breeze and sparkling water.  This was kind of a theme on this trip. 

We got our toes in the sand, watched sailboats, saw lots of happy dogs playing catch or Frisbee (including one poor German Shepherd who was unhappy to discover he could not, in fact, hold an entire volleyball in his mouth.  He kept trying, but he'd just drop it and whine sadly.) We hunted crabs, sat in the sun, and got a little wistful seeing a cute older couple taking a labored stroll through the park hand in hand. 

We headed out from there and I think, honestly, if the day had ended there I would have been pretty damn content.  But we had much more to do. 

We took another small driving tour and then we met up with the wonderful Wing, who's a friend of mine for at least the last 7 years who I'd known online through other real life friends, and someone who'd been there for me through a lot.  It was exciting to meet her.  We'd told her the neighborhood we were in and she'd suggested a place called Anthony's for dinner. 

It was GORGEOUS.  Right on the water, and we rolled in just as the sun was starting to set over Puget Sound.  The seafood was absolutely fantastic, and I'd had it on my list to get seafood while on the West Coast...I got a seafood alfredo full of the freshest shrimp, prawn, scallops....it was amazing.  We were there forever, laughing, talking and enjoying the food and company. 

This is the kind of thing that makes me feel overwhelmingly lucky.  Getting to see places like this. Getting to share them with old friends, to laugh and talk and try something new.  To relax...and to get lost in a moment like this.  

Again, I think I'd have been completely happy with the day ending here.  Full tummies, a cocktail, a beautiful sunset, laughter and friends.   I think that's all you can really ask for. 

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