Sleepless in Seattle

November 19th

Left the campground at 8:00 AM. I saw a Lowes at a shopping centre, so I had to go check it out. Same as a home Depot. I bought some AAA batteries for the digital voice recorder and some S-hooks so I can hang some things from the clothesline. Nowhere to buy an umbrella. Yesterday I talked about being ½ an hour from Seattle and how wonderful driving on freeways was. Well, today, I didn’t get to Seattle until 10:30: heavy crawling traffic all the way for no good reason except the rainy weather, at least according to the radio. You would think that a little rain wouldn’t paralyze their traffic, but there it is. Along the way, I got off and stopped at McDonalds to use the washrooms (it was the closest to the expressway). At least MickyD has clean toilets, won’t say anything about the food.

Seattle: one of the most influential cities in our globalized late 20th/early 21st centuries. Three brands/corporations that define our era stand out: Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks. Three mixed blessings: the jumbo jet that allows us to flit economically around the world in airborne cattle cars and spew massive amounts of CO2; the MS-DOS and Windows and the MS Office that have monopolized the personal computer and that I am using to write a draft of this blog; and the espresso-based (using the term loosely) “latte”. I have ceased railing that latte means milk in Italian, not coffee. But Starbucks has made espresso ubiquitous around the world (I once read about a place in Prague offering “real Seattle-style latte”), and I no longer have to search for the Italian neighbourhood to get a decent coffee.

Not that Starbucks’ espresso is any good, but that of many of its imitators is clearly excellent including our very own Yukon coffee roasters, Bean North and Midnight Sun Coffee. (To those of you from Outside, the Yukon is a coffee exporter. We get it from secret tropical valleys Jack London wrote about.) Would Zola and Michael & co. have gotten anywhere without Starbucks pioneering the whole thing? Even Tim Horton’s tries to sell espresso but they should stick to providing the men in red serge with double-doubles and doughnuts.

Pike Street MarketGot to the convention bureau at 6th and Pike around 10:30 and then headed to the Pike Street Market to replenish my fresh food stocks. Bought some good smoked salmon, fresh porcini, a truffle (only $5.00, not bad), fresh local fruit and greens. Lunch was heart medication: a yummy and messy to eat grilled salmon sandwich on baguette. I intended to make a porcini risotto with truffle tonight, but I ended up going out for supper. Also bought a bottle of the best Washington Syrah at $60 odd dollars a bottle. I am feeling flush today as I just got paid by YTG.

I love Seattle! I have to come back with Marilyn and stay for five days exploring the food at the Pike Street market.

After the market I went to the Seattle Art Museum where there is an exhibition of some of Michelangelo’s sketches for the Sistine Chapel that he somehow forgot to burn and another on Calder. Some of Calder’s later mobiles are amazing: how did he do it? I also took a brief look at other exhibits. Apart from a couple of Warhols, two things caught my eye: an Italian renaissance wood paneled room and a 16-17th century Dutch wooden display chest/bureau. Why is it that the woodworkers were who made such wonderful creations remain anonymous, while the most minor daubers of paints on canvas or least competent stone chiselers all have biographies and books written about them? Pisses me off!

Dutch cabinet

Similar Dutch cabinet from Van de Ven Antique dealers in Baarle-Hertog-Nassau

I went back to the Convention Centre Tourist Information Bureau as I couldn’t find the address of the RV park they had suggested earlier. Ann and Janet were extremely helpful and I decided to stay in an inexpensive hotel rather than in a RV Park. The hotel (Belltown Inn) is fairly nice and inexpensive and has parking, but is in a neighbourhood that turns quite seedy at night, with obvious drug deals going on allover the place.

I got new glasses made at Lenscrafters: one hour service. But I didn’t get there in time for their 8:00 PM closing time as I was talking to Marilyn for too long. I forgot to say that a lens fell off my glasses while driving last night. A little scary as I had to hold the lens over my good eye while driving. (For those who don’t know me, I like to refer to myself as a one-eye-talian, having lost my left eye in a car accident in 1977.) I stopped at the first exit and retrieved another pair from the camper.

Anyway, I also went to Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy of Paul Theroux’s book on the Patagonia Express. I started reading it last night as I had a hard time falling asleep. The room was way too hot and the book interesting. I fell finally asleep at about 3:00AM.

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5 Responses to “Sleepless in Seattle”

  1. Doug Rutherford Says:

    Good to hear all is well… minus the lost lens thing.

  2. Bill Says:

    I was getting somewhat anxious to hear from you. I’m glad to know that overall things are pretty cool and you seem to be having a blast. BTW have you thought of getting some cooling for the camper once you reach the southern states? I know you have completely forgotten what humid days and nights feel like since you moved to Whitehorse. I can get used to cold but never was able to get used to heat and humidity, without AC that is….

    Enjoy!!!!

  3. Karl Caillouet Says:

    Really enjoying your adventure vicariously, Luigi! Keep up the good work.

    “The Old Patagonian Express”, I believe his first, made a Paul Theroux fan of me for life. He is one of the best travel anthology writers ever, and not a bad novelist. Hope you enjoy him as much as I do.

  4. janne in Cowtown Says:

    What a great diary Luigi, It’s fun to track your progress are read about what you are doing…oh alright, you can spare us SOME of the lurid details!
    VERY glad your first border crossing was (insultingly) uneventful. If they are all that easy, happy you.
    I’m going to forward your blog link to my friends Sam (Sandra) and Bernie who are now in Sucre Bolivia, into their 15th month of travel in a camperized van. Perhaps you will connect with them at some point…? Lots of love to you, and we shall Skype at some point I am sure. My address is my name too. xox

  5. Luigi Says:

    I found an antique site with a Dutch renaissance cabinet similar to the one I saw at the Seattle Art Museum. http://www.vandeven-antiquairs.com/cgi-bin/VDVpageENG.pl?type=viewpage&id=271, except the carving in the one in Seattle was not as intricate. I have posted a picture

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