Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Pensacola to Seattle: Mixed Bag

Time for a visit to Mom, get her out doing a little Christmas shopping, even in the rain. Seattle is in that time of the year when the day goes from black to dark grey to a little lighter grey and then by 3:30 in the afternoon, the sun starts going down and you have that grey that fades to black.

Getting here is just getting through it. It’s not so bad as the grueling trip out of Qatar or Kuwait, or even out of Germany. It’s a mere 5-ish hours of plane ride, but airplane travel has become such drudgery these days. I always used to chose the window seat, but on a long flight I get antsy and like to get up and stretch, so I would have to disturb two other people, so this time I chose the aisle. As it turns out, I hate the aisle, I hate people walking up and down and bumping me (and I am not hanging out in the aisle; they are intruding on my space!) and then I have to get up when they get antsy. I hate the non-meal thing, so that even if you bring food, you feel bad about eating if no one else is eating, and I hate the crowdedness and people lining up to use the lavatories. Flying used to be more fun.

Getting into Seattle is fun. They’ve streamlined getting baggage – although with the new baggage charges, I notice there is a lot more competition for overhead space, because people don’t want to pay to have a bag. I’m still lucky enough to have my bags go free and I don’t like trundling big things on board and having to heave them into the overhead bins while other people are trying to get by.

Picking up the bag as easy, but the car rental kiosks have disappeared. I was just here in May; when did all the rental cars go somewhere else? Now, as it turns out, you have to go catch a bus and it takes you to a central car rental place off the airport. It’s big and spacious and impersonal and soulless. They didn’t have the car I had selected and wanted me to take a Jeep Cherokee. I even got in it, but my feet barely reached the pedals and it didn’t feel like a car I wanted to drive so I persisted pleasantly until they gave me a car that felt right – a Camry. They also told me that Seattle drivers are terrible (not true; this is one of the most polite places in the world; people STOP for the YELLOW light) and that I really really needed a lot of extra insurances. I held my ground, but as I exited out into a dreary rainstorm, I prayed for protection to get me through Seattle safely. I guess they got to me after all, even though I know Seattle is one of the safer places to drive.

Today was one of the busier days, running errands, getting things done, I don’t much like shopping, but for some reason shopping in Seattle is easy. Then tonight was pure pleasure – meeting up with old and seriously good friends at for some seriously good seafood. The place is called T & T’s Seafood, or sometimes T & T’s Chinese Seafood, and you wouldn’t be impressed if you saw it from the outside, but it is one of those places that fools you. It is full of people who like real Chinese food, not what can pass for Chinese food in those little restaurants that dumb it down for local trade. More than half of the customers are Chinese; most of the huge bags of food going out to people picking up are going to Chinese. That’s a good sign.

When we sit, we are handed menus. which we don’t open because we know what we like. The owner comes up and chats with my Chinese friend and walks away with the menus. I asked what we are having and she said “I don’t know, he said he knows what we want, he remembers us from last time” (six months ago). When the food starts arriving, it is all so good . . . crispy cooked green beans, so good, crispy fried tofu with garlic and green onions, and a seafood dish loaded with fresh scallops and fish and shrimp – pure Pacific Northwest Chinese, the best! Good friends, great conversations and a plan for when we will meet up again – a great evening.

Tomorrow the clan will gather, everyone in Seattle around one table, and family will catch up. We have a new baby due any minute; my youngest sister is about to become a grandmama for the second time.

It is supposed to rain the entire time I will be here. No wonder Seattle drinks so much coffee!

November 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments