Day 41. Wednesday 28 September.
The bus to the light rail station at SeaTac Airport was right conveniently opposite KOA. An American couple from Florida, also staying at the park, joined us and gave advice on what to do. They were also the first Americans – he in particular – who were vehemently opposed to Trump, although not altogether sold on Hilary either. We got the full story: Trump’s critical financial situation, his $300-600 million debt to the Russians, his crazy pronounciations on using nuclear weapons, the parlous state of the Republican party now it is run by the tea party lunatics, the VP candidate’s Christian fanaticism…..
The light rail ride, punctuated by more asides as well as good advice, provided an elevated glimpse of Seattle suburbs as we travelled the 30 odd miles into town. Next was the monorail to the needle and Chihuly exhibition. We parted ways with our new friends – like pretty much all Americans we’ve encountered, they were happy to talk openly and help out.
Coffee called. The young lady at the restaurant that is part of the Chihuly Gardens informed us, as soon as we said we just wanted coffee, that they didn’t do espresso. How did she know? She directed us to a café in a mall nearby where we got very acceptable coffees and a bagel at another shop.
D ate most, but not all of it with his eyes closed: the image was too powerful ( grotesque, said T) – as indeed was the taste of the peppers and walnut paste.
First tourist stop was up the Seattle Needle. Fantastic feat of engineering, built on time and with no fatalities or serious injuries despite the clear lack of current day WHS practices (such as, initially, no safety harness , vests etc for workmen at high levels!) This was1961/62 and the first men were being put into space, so risk was probably a relative thing. Mandatory photo taken – but free!
Then to Chihuly. Words can’t capture the beauty of the exuberant/ostentatious glass he has made and supervised over the decades. He’s a Seattle legend who seems to have a lot of fun with his whimsical creations. The colour, the shapes, the SCALE! T felt that a garden renovation is definitely long overdue at home.
And a trip to Seattle would not be complete without a visit to the famous Pike Street Markets – and the fish markets in particular. So monorail back to the Westlake Centre and a stroll down the hill. We did indeed witness the fish throwing with singing/hamming it up fishmongers.
On the bus and light rail back to KOA in time for some spring cleaning ahead of the hand back tomorrow, and then some shared drinks and food with our travelling companions. Pizza ordered in – not without considerable difficulty and much telephoning by our own problem solver Michael (including a significant tip-incentive)
Alarm set for an early start to get the motorhome back and then to airport for an 1140 AM flight to Vancouver.
Day 42. Thursday 29 September.
The day started badly at some time dark o’clock. D awoke with some reflux so took one Zantac pill, an over the counter antacid and it went downhill from there as there was some sort of bizarre reaction. The pill helped the reflux but about half an hour after falling back asleep a grinding pain developed just under the ribs along with a dripping cold sweat. D thought of a heart attack ( although was pretty sure it wasn’t). T thought so too and considered alternatives for getting help. Then came the itchy scalp, followed by itching hands, then feet. More was to follow. Itchy hives broke out on the trunk. The only reassuring thing was that the pain, although still intense, had localized in the higher abdomen, so 911 call not necessary. Phew!
A final wipe over, disconnect power and water, empty sullage and we were away under the guidance of our GPS. First problem was a detour due to road works, which took us out of the way and seemed to offend the GPS. Next problem was an unclear instruction that had us taking the wrong option and heading down a freeway for 5 km in the wrong direction. This really did upset the GPS that now just wanted us to keep doing U turns. Reset the GPS but no change. Back to basics – look up the address (we had being relying on blind faith in technology) and enter that. No change. Enough to bring on a panic sweat, as the trip should have taken 11 minutes and we were now up to an hour in rush-hour traffic, with an international flight to get. Decided to return to KOA and start from there again, but en route D noticed 24th Street on the right and as we were heading for 30th Street it was a fair bet we might be close. Needless to say, the next street was 22nd, so a U turn was required. Back we went, to find after crossing a major intersection that 28th Street had been the last one on the right and we were now heading down a dead end. Another U turn in a truck parking lot, with a bit of excitement as a 18 wheeler loomed into view as we were completing the turn on the wrong side of the road. But there, on the new right, was 30th Street, with Anne the owner waving frantically to attract our attention. She had been expecting us earlier, and was going to drive us to the airport after the handover, so she was getting anxious. Not to mention the anxiety levels of D&T!!!!!!
The handover was brief and we were driven to the airport. There, the self check-in counter was malfunctioning and the book -in computer was apparently working very slowly. All in all, not much fun for anyone, but the Air Canada staff stayed cool and kept the line moving, albeit slowly. A bit of luck: the Vancouver -bound folk were separated from the queue and processed quickly.
A very short flight got us back in Canada around 1 PM, so we decided to take the public transport option (had been Googled earlier in the day). The light rail was efficient: a lady noticed us checking out the route map and offered advice. Emerged from the train station in the middle of town, short walk to the bus stop, and onto the bus to take us to our next abode. The bus driver was terrific: helpful, polite, caring – and to other passengers as well as us. Once again on the bus a lady opened a conversation, keen to know of our experience with the airport rail because she was planning to use it shortly. We have been so impressed with the unrushed politeness/assistance from total strangers throughout this trip. Nothing is too much trouble.
A walk up a very steep hill dragging our luggage got us into the lovely apartment in West Vancouver, where we can now revel in the pleasures of space, a proper bed, and, if we are brave enough, take a look at what’s happening in the world according to TV.