Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lost In Seattle

Where shall I go today? I asked Ryan as he and Julie headed out the door to Bumbershoot. As Ryan and Julie are moving to San Francisco in 11 days, this is my last visit to this home - what haven't I seen in this city? Volunteer Park was his reply. Seeing as the sun was shining, it seemed like a day not to waste indoors in Seattle. I wrote out the instructions from Google directions, a total of 13 minutes, it declared.

So I set out on my journey, and within minutes of home, knew that something wasn't right. After sliding with the rest of the traffic onto I-5 heading North, and maneuvering my way back through nothing but intuition, I dug out the map.

These are my conclusions after my extensive experience in Seattle streets today:
- Google maps makes directions sound much easier than they are.
- People are great resources - I found a couple in Starbucks who looked at my Google instructions and map, and decided neither would help me. They pointed me in the right direction - go up, they said. The rest was up to me.
- You learn how to pay attention when you go down the same street several times.
- It actually took 45 minutes to find Volunteer Park.
- At two different points, I got onto I-5; one time going north and one time going south.

And then, I realized that sometimes one sets out on a journey only to discover that you end up at a place where you have been before. (I think this is a metaphor for life in general.) A couple years ago, I went to Volunteer Park in the rain, and we walked up the water tower.

At Volunteer Park, I:
- sat in the sun overlooking the water reservoir.
- taught a bored security guard at the Seattle Asian Museum how to conjugate the verb talk in Spanish for the singular pronouns.
- bought an umbrella that is sure to bring me luck - it has bamboo images all over the top. The store also had an umbrella that was red and when it gets wet, cherry blossoms appear all over it.
- saw yet another view of the Space Needle:

One of the features of this park is a sculpture called "Black Sun." Here are the Black Sun and Space Needle together...

And here is a picture of all of us:

I went for a walk and found Lake View Cemetery. Ryan had told me that Bruce Lee (Who is he? I thought) was buried there. There are a lot of graves in Lake View Cemetery, and so I had few hopes of finding it. The cemetery has a great view:

I wandered up one road and down others, decided that it was time to find my way home. How I found Bruce Lee happened this way: I glanced to my left and saw a nondescript tombstone that said Lee, and I crossed the grass (carefully) and saw that it didn't even have a date of birth or death on it. Then something caught my attention and I headed more up the hill and behind a row of small shrubs I saw:

Right beside him is the grave-site of his son,Brandon Lee. Both of these fellows had bizarre deaths.

I left Volunteer Park around 6ish, and found the route home (different than the way there), very easily. Still, there was something nagging me about those Google instructions, and so I went in search of where I went astray. And I found yet another way to get astray, and landed up in downtown Seattle. Just as the movies were being let out.

I have passed by Pontius Street a total of 5 times today. And now I am back home, a little worn from my travels. At some point, I realized I was having fun! Go figure!

Good night Seattle....

and to one red Honda Civic...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

An Early Birthday

Nine days to be exact. Spending birthdays together with family can be quite the choreography. We couldn't all be together to celebrate Aimee's exact birthdate but we were able to gather 9 days ahead. Even Julia came along to the event. Unfortunately Josh had to work so didn't hang out with us for the day.

Event 1 of the day was opening of the gift (from Josh)...

This was definitely the most fancy inside of any wallet I have ever seen.

Event 2 was the rousing of the guests....

We signed the cast before we left for:

Event 3: lunch at Milestone's. What was memorable was the assurance that there was no cilantro in the soup. Man, whoever decided that was food rather than a weed.

Event 4: Granville Island - one very groovy place to hang out. There we found the birthday cake. Cakes. Everyone gets to choose their own!!

Event 5: Stanley Park and English Bay: We dried our ocean-dipped and sandy-coated feet sitting on a log and enjoying the sunshine.

Event 6: Dinner at Him's - my favourite sushi hangout on Denman Avenue.



Event 7: Blowing out the candles and more presents for the birthday girl!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

August on the Lower Mainland

I journeyed to the west coast on Saturday the 9th; this is the first time in a couple of years that I have travelled during tourist season. It was some busy on Highway 3, considered to be the most scenic drive to the coast. I think the marketing has done the job.

I remembered long ago when my mother used to take road trips that she would calculate the gas mileage by figuring out the fuel cost per hour. At some point, she related to me that she got $5.00 per hour on one trip. This journey, I decided to figure out the mileage my mother's way. From Castlegar to Chilliwack, I travelled for $6.00 an hour. So what's changed in over 20 years? My mom was driving a Chrysler Imperial and I now have a Honda Civic.

Speaking of my mother, I spent some of my day admiring my birthday gift from her:

After my purchase, I was told by many people that I had a tennis bracelet. Apparent Chris Evert was the first to wear diamonds on the tennis court. This is not diamonds, but they certainly shine like they are.

My trip down to the coast was a potpourri of weather. Rain, and sun. During one stop, I heard thunder. All was for the good because I was travelling with Julia and she did not need the heat. Here is a picture taken of Sunshine Valley:

And here is a promise of the week to come while I am away from home: