Wednesday 27 March, 1pm
I’ve just slummed down in one of the rather spacious seats on the Greyhound to Olympia. Yay, really spacious, especially compared to the National Express seats in the UK – my elbow barely reaches the armrest. It must be said, I’m enjoying that most things over here operate on a different (huge) scale. Massive meals, generous vodka measures, big coach seats – I’m sold on those!
So, this morning I had a nice lie-in. I think I’ve finally managed to get over the jetlag – I’m feeling refreshed and ready for part two of my journey: visiting Ben in Montesano, seeing the copious sights of Aberdeen and getting a view of Olympia, which, I hear, is a nice little town (and that, of course, means it’s a huge American little town). I had the idea of going into Seattle a few hours before the bus departed, so I could explore a bit more, but I realised I had finally managed to lose my Orca card and I spent a good hour going through all my stuff to find it. Needless to say it was gone and the people who know me won’t be surprised by that. My travel cards have a habit of jumping ship – although I usually have to be properly wankered to pull that off.
So a $2.25 bus ride from Ballard to Downtown later, I walked straight to the Greyhound bus station (I’m getting rather good at figuring out where things are – but, of course, that’s mainly down to Greg who couldn’t be a better and more organised host). On my way, I bumped into a LGBT protest and stayed there for a while, listening to the speeches and holding hands with the people next to me. With gay marriage being made legal at the last elections, I was surprised by the highly political character of the rally. Over the last few years, London Pride has become more of a big party than a serious political statement, so it’s been a while since I’ve heard someone talk in public about the necessity of gay and transgender rights.
And now I’m on the Greyhound, with a vanilla roiboos tea (I seriously need to cut down on caffeine) and a chocolate chunk cookie. I guess I’ll be using the journey to dwell on a few random observations I’ve made over the last days. But for now I’ll be looking out of the window to experience Seattle from a bus. Let me just grab my music …
…talking about music, only today I finally got my Seattle music feeling back. Having listened to so many Seattle bands over the years, I often felt this yearning to go and see the place that inspired or at least gave a background to all my favourite tunes. Let’s face it, that is the reason why I’m here. I expected this feeling to intensify when I finally touched down and, although the first song I heard in the baggage hall of SeaTac airport was Nirvana’s unplugged rendition of ‘Jesus doesn’t want me for a sunbeam’ (I kid you not!), I was probably too exhausted and over-excited to feel anything. So only this morning on the bus from Ballard, listening to Alice in Chains’ ‘Heaven beside you’, I suddenly got this particular, slightly haunting feeling in my belly that I’d experienced when thinking about Seattle for more than 20 years.
Now a few things I’ve noticed so far about this place: First of all, long-haired men everywhere! I don’t wanna go too much into this particular ‘fetish’ of mine, but as all my girlfriends can imagine, I’m in a constant state of highly superficial hair arousal. And we’re not talking about chiselled, leather-glad heavy metal long-hairs (it’s not for you, Tracy) but proper uncombed, slightly greasy-haired, five-day-stubbled Grunge boys … err … men. So, yes, I’m a happy little Grunge bunny with all that eye-candy about.
Back to being deep and meaningful, a word about smoking: Too many smokers still around. I guess tobacco isn’t expensive enough yet, but it’s obvious Seattleites don’t give a flying shit about lung cancer and – more importantly – having nice breath when being kissed. Not that I’ve kissed anyone but this smoking business wouldn’t really invite me to take the plunge. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to go back to snogs in London 😉
Oh, we just arrived in Tacoma. Looks more or less the same as Seattle, just without that skyline. Lots of Christmas trees about everywhere. Reminds me of northern Germany. The sky is cloudy, by the way, actually dark grey, so I’m expecting to experience some rain at last, but the light is still amazing – much lighter than London’s grey days.
So, and that’s about it. I drank something really disgusting yesterday which needs a mention. It was a mix of cucumber, apples, wheatgrass, celery and other green stuff. The idea of it sounded refreshing but, eugh, never again! The mention of parsley should have been a warning. Oh, and let’s just quickly put down that I’m well impressed by how many Thai places are around. So if I ever move here, I will never be short of my favourite Pad Thai. Yummy!!!
That’s really it for now. I’m gonna enjoy looking out of the window for the next 40 minutes and then I’ll be under Ben’s command. Nirvana country, here I come!