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Wrapping-up the summer in Seattle - onward to India!
Although we did not expect to be in Seattle for our last two weeks in the Pacific Northwest, this has not been a bad place to be stuck at. My car is sold, we have tickets to Bangalore for Sunday, October 5th, and we have been staying at Laura and Glenn's (Peter's sister and brother-in-law) nice hideaway near the buzzing University District. To top it all, it has been sunny almost everyday (I did not think this was possible in Seattle) and the restaurant scene matches Vancouver's, which is not a small claim.
Seattle reminds me of San Francisco in the 80's: mellow, diverse, clean buses and friendly drivers, beautiful uncrowded neighborhoods filled with home gardens spilling out flowers and shrubs into the side walk. People smile to us on the streets, are happy to stop for a chat, and almost every other person seems to sport a Timbuk2 bag. I remember when the bicycle messenger bags were so popular in SF -- I went through several versions of this shoulder bag myself.
The Seattle main public library has cool lime green escalators and elevators and the building looks more like a MOMA than a library. And you should see the internet terminals on the 5th floor. Oh my God! More than 100 of them filled with people surfing away. I have been in Seattle a few times, but not long enough to deeply explore its vibrant neighborhoods like Fremont with cool restaurants and a Belgium beer bar called "Brouwer's" which happens to be Peter's last name, so we had to stop by for some good Belgium brew. The view of the city from Gas Works park is breathtaking, and there are beautiful waterside scenes in several areas, including the daily buzz of boats moving around Salmon Bay Waterway, rising 15 feet up above sea level to the canal through a "lock." I had never seen this and Peter kept laughing through my mesmerized look while watching the water move with gravity at the rate of half a million gallons per minute. The days were so nice that we rented a kayak when the thermometer hit 80, feeling so good to be on the water. And it was right in the center of the University District, near Lake Union.
The summer went so quickly, it is hard to believe fall is upon us and the only consolation is that we'll have another shot at summer weather in Asia. My move from SF to Vancouver Island was smooth except that three weeks into it, Peter's mother passed away. She was ready for it so given the circumstances, it was not a bad thing. Peter was also prepared, which made the grieving process easier. It was a big change for me to live in Duncan, but a pleasant one, making new friends, seeing old ones, and visiting the lush farmlands around town. I volunteered at the 2008 Indigenous Games as a photographer and it was a great experience. The Cowichan Valley where Duncan is located has 1000's of indigenous inhabitants, making it a very especial place. Before that, there was the annual Folk Music Festival and before that, the International Jazz Festival in Vancouver. So, between Vancouver city and Vancouver island, there was a lot to keep us busy all summer long. I got really spoiled taking walks in unspoiled Indian reserve lands, wild marsh lands and broad promenades along marinas and sail boats, abundant in the whole Pacific Northwest.
Then my mother and sister arrived at the end of August for three weeks, including a week on a cruise ship to Alaska. It was great to see my mother and my sister and after being together 24/7 for three weeks, our intimacy grew leaps and bounds. Peter did very well being smacked right in the middle of so much "estrogen energy" as my mother put. We saw whales from the boat, and moose while on a drive to Yukon Territory that we made from Skagway, Alaska. I saw salmon swimming up the stream, going back where they were born to put spawn and die. It is amazing how everything in the universe has a master computer built-in. What else in the world would drive these salmon swim up the stream where they were born in? And the funniest part was stumbling upon a shoe store in Juneau where Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin bought the shoes she wore during the republican convention when she accepted her nomination. Her brand of shoes is called "Naughty Monkey" ...Oh boy! That is a feisty one.
It feels like I have been transitioning into my new "retired" life up until now. The "real" travels are just about to begin. I hope you follow me on my journeys by either subscribing to my blog or checking on what I am up to once in a while.
I wish you all the best,