The knowledge that I’m on the home stretch of my trip is beginning to hit home. I’m in Washington state; three hours on a bus east of Seattle, in a town called Wenatchee. Once I’ve travelled down through Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, I’ll be flying down to Mexico City to get my return flight to Europe. Thoughts of what life will be like after this have started to become less abstract. No clearer, but the fact that I’ll soon have to think about it are getting more in focus. Part of me wants to change what I do completely, get a regular job, and return to doing this kind of stuff simply as a hobby. Part of me fancies buying a hot dog stand and selling sausages, buns, and mustard all day long. Part of me wants to go to the seaside and become a Punch and Judy professor. Part of me fancies building a
model village, oops; this kind of model village. But, I assume that none of those will happen, and I’ll go back to being someone who draws pictures for a living. A good job, of course, but, where’s the profound change in my life that I’d hoped this trip would bring me? I can’t see it yet.
Anyway, I flew from Minneapolis to Seattle on Monday. Nice flight. Good view of lots of mountains out of the window. Shitty cheeseburger. But empty seat next to me, so all in all, a good flight. In Seattle, I was staying with Andrew and Heather, some old friends who used to live in Berlin. Lovely to see them again. They are nice, nice people, and have a lovely home in West Seattle with, if you stand on your tippy toes, a view of Puget Sound. We had some fish and chips in a local restaurant which – sorry Britain – was better than I’ve tasted in many, many years.
Tuesday was a day for the seeing of sights. I stared longingly at the Mariners stadium as I went past on a bus (I’m not gonna get to see another Major League Baseball game until the 30th: that’s four more bloody days!), and eventually got off in the Pioneer Square area, and went on a tour. I, err, went on the wrong one. Both of the tours left from the same place, and, if you’re not paying attention, it’s kind of easy to get the names of the Underground Tour and the Sub Seattle Tour mixed up. I’d wanted to go on the latter, but ended up on the former. Still, it was pretty interesting stuff. Not a huge amount to look at, taking part as it did mainly in some tunnels under the pavement that, back in the day, used to actually be the pavement. Still, it’s mainly a story-telling kinda tour, and the guide was pretty good, and it’s deffo worth doing if you’re interested in the history of Seattle. I’ll do the other tour when I get back to Seattle at the weekend, cos, being a ghoulish fucker, I wanna see the house where Kurt Cobain shot his head off.
Walky walky walk along some streets, and, well, Seattle looks pretty nice. I inadvertently stumbled upon Pike Place Market, something that everyone I’ve spoken to has told me is the one thing not to miss in the city. And, well, erm, I kinda don’t really give much of a shit about markets. I know that people love markets of all sorts, but, I dunno, if I’m not there to buy vegetables or fish – which I wasn’t – I’m not really sure I see why they are so appealing. Especially this one, which, despite having some nice typography on display, was rammed full of other tourists. The bastards. With their cameras.
I took some photos and went to the [insert angelic choral sound here] first ever Starbucks shop. Weirdly, it tasted exactly the same as every other grande cappuccino I’ve ever had from Starbucks. More walking, more photos (not got time to re-format the size and stuff right now, but there’s a bunch of them on my Flickr page), and I could see the Space Needle poking up between buildings. So I walked in that direction, and went up there. Of all the tall buildings I’ve been up, I reckon this one is up there with Berlin’s Fernsehturm in terms of coolness. Nice view of the city and all that. But, the best thing about it is being stood underneath and looking at its groovy spacey-ness. Then had a quick look at the Olympia Sculpture Park with its lovely Calders and Oldenburgs, then I took a nice walk along the waterfront and got a bit too excited seeing the pier where Real World Seattle was based. Dork.
Yesterday, I got on a bus to Wenatchee. And what a lovely journey it was too. The Cascade Mountains all around, beautiful clear rivers winding along, the occasional phoenix flying around as unicorns and centaurs frolicked along the river banks. The bus driver was a short guy with no neck and a good droopy moustache from Georgia. He was based in Scotland during the war (not sure which, cos he didn’t look old enough for it to have been WWII), so we had a chat about haggis and sporrans. He was a smoker, too, so every opportunity he got, we stopped long enough to have a fag.
My friend Lisa was there to meet me when the bus dropped me off. She, her flatmate Cameron, her pal Rebecca, and I went and got a burger at the EZ’s Burger Deluxe drive thru. Fucking tasty it was too. Mushroom, cheese, and onion. Yummity yum yum. And we settled down for a lazy evening of boozing on her porch. Not seen much of Wenatchee so far, but the burger and boozy porch evening make me think I’ll enjoy my next few days here.