So, last week I flew to Seattle to hang out with my friend Darren and to interview for a library position in the town of Aberdeen. You remember Aberdeen. It's where Kurt Cobain grew up, apparently. It was fantastic.
I flew in on Wed. afternoon and picked up a rental car. They gave me a red one. With a spoiler. Here is me looking happy next to my rental car:
Then I drove into Kirkland, where Darren lives and works, to pick up a key from him and get directions to his place. Darren lives in a cute but expensive apartment. Although he has been there for, what, a year now, he has still not unpacked everything from his last move. His apartment is a study in what I would call unintentional minimalism. Darren is a bachelor:
When Darren got off work we went to a very good Thai restaurant in nearby Bothel. Apparently one of the recent contestants of American Idol is from Bothel. It was in all the papers there. Here is a street in Bothel:
Afterwards we went to a park and looked at Lake Washington, across which we could barely make out Seattle. I was amazed - shocked! - by the absence of mosquitos, and was charmed by the serenity of the lake. Ver' nice.
On Thursday morning I got ready for my interview in Aberdeen. There was a small fiasco involving pantyhose, but I got the situation under control and drove down there. I used the drive to psyche myself into a weird state of nervous calm, and then at the appointed hour I took the plunge and did my interview. OK. I left the library feeling very disappointed in myself. I didn't feel like I did very well, although they did like the 3 booktalks I gave. I drove around Aberdeen a bit to take pictures and try to get a feeling for the town, which didn't work too well because I was feeling pretty dejected and was sure I would not be seeing this place again. So. Here are a couple of pictures of residential Aberdeen, looking south over the town:
Then I thought I should probably get something to eat, so I stopped at a place called Duffy's. A sign outside the restaurant advised me to get the fish n chips, which I did. They weren't so good. But the waitress was friendly. I drove around a little bit more and then began heading out of town. On the highway out of town I noticed signs reading "Tsunami Evacuation Route," which I thought was pretty exciting. I stopped on the road overlooking the spot where the river begins to turn into the harbor and took these shots of Aberdeen and the lumber yard. Yeah. Lumber. Or is it timber?
So then I got back on the road and began the drive back to Kirkland. Aberdeen is 40-some miles outside Olympia, which is a drive you can do in under an hour. Then it's another hour and a half or so, depending on traffic, to the Seattle area. The drive between Olympia and Aberdeen is very nice, going through some pine forests and some more open meadow or farmland. This is what it looked like:
That day was also technically Darren's birthday, so that evening he drove us into Seattle, to the Capital Hill area where we walked around, ate sushi, bought soap from Bliss (they were so nice! I love this shop!), etc. It was very fun, and very cool. Darren assured me that it was also very expensive if you were looking to live there, which I can believe. Still. It'd be an interesting neighborhood. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the Capital Hill area, because I didn't want to look so obviously like the tourist I was. You can do a Google Images search if you really wanna know.
The next morning I got a call from the Aberdeen library - they wanted to include me in a second round of interviews! Unfortunately I couldn't change my plans to stay, so we decided on a phone interview. What a pleasant surprise. It brightened my mood for the rest of the trip.
Darren took the day off work. We took my rental car back and then drove out to Mount Rainier. Holy cow, that's a big mountain. Here in AZ our mountains are relatively small, plentiful and nearby. Mount Rainier was at least a 2-hour drive away. It's also huge and covered in glaciers. Yes. While it was hot and nasty here in Tucson, I got to drive part-way up a mountain and see snow. I loved it.
I learned that despite the glaciers and several feet of snow still present in late May, Rainier is actually an active volcano. If it were to erupt, there's a good chance Seattle would be wiped out. Fun.
Pretty-pretty. Oh, and on the way back we saw some deer:
That night we had dinner with one of Darren's friends and his entourage. Then we went out to a bar to play pool. I did even worse at it than I used to. Oh well. They were very entertaining folks, but I was exhausted and had to go home and sleep.
The next day we went into Seattle again, this time to go to the Pike Place market! Fantastic!
I love the Pike Place market. I want to live near it. Maybe someday, huh? I got a tasty apple-pastry thing, ate some strawberries, saw the fishmongers tossing the fish around, visited the comic shop, and generally enjoyed myself. Here is a picture of me feeling elated at the market:
After the market we had lunch at a bagel shop, where I was very adventurous and tried lox for the first time. Yum. Then we went to the Space Needle.
Uh-huh. The Space Needle.
It costs $16 per adult for a ride up to the top, which I think is a bit much. But we went up, anyway. I took some pictures from the elevator. Here's one:
And then of course I took a bunch of pictures from the top. I was feeling pretty nervous being up that high. They had the observation deck all netted-in with wires to keep anyone from falling off. I still felt pretty nervous. I kept imagining what my camera and glasses would look like falling off the Space Needle. But that didn't happen, and yes, I took pictures. Here's one of Lake Washington:
And here's one of this hippy-folk-festival that was taking place:
And here are a couple of Puget Sound:
After that I made Darren take me to a yarn shop (Hilltop Yarn) where I wandered around in a yarn-haze before buying 5 balls of soft Cashsoft DK in the Thunder colorway. So nice and gray.
That night we went out for a huge sushi dinner (again) and then I had some time to pack and relax.
The next morning it was raining. Finally! My entire trip had been gorgeous; the days were sunny or only partly cloudy and temps were in the 70's during the day. Lovely and a nice break from the Tucson heat, but I didn't feel like I was getting a very accurate WA experience. But that final morning it rained. Here is the rain on the way to the Seattle airport, early Sunday morning:
I made my flight, and when we touched down in Tucson around 10:40 am it was in the 90's. Yeek.
But I had a great time in Seattle. I loved it. I want to go back.