"Mountains, Gandalf!"

Without further ado, I present to you my stream-of-consciousness, scribbled-in-a-notebook-while-en-route-to-work recap of our recent vacation:

Mmmmm --- mountains ... the supermarket that sent Dan into raptures, despite his jetlag ... the best Vietnamese beef soup in the world ... a place where they leave keys out in an envelope with the guest's name on it ... unsweetened iced tea south of the border, the sweetened variety north of it ...one entire carton of diet root beer ... enough Sun Chips and corn chips to feed a little kid's birthday party ... beaches and sea, the sun out, yet strangely not hot at all, even for us jeans-clad tourists ... the multicultural hordes (locals and tourists alike) at Stanley Park on a Sunday ... days stretching languorously into quiet nights; no sense at all that "time flies" ... free turns on red!! ... our whale of a Ford Taurus, that gradually turned into a nest in the back seat as the weather blew hot-cold and we kept buying junk food (low-carb bread exempted) ... low-carb everything, including a billboard advertisement for Bud Lite, announcing that it had fewer carbs than Miller Lite ... salads in Wendy's and Burger King ... almost running into (and instead, running past) someone from work who materialised evilly at Whistler ... Chinese-Canadian bengs in their full-body-kitted Honda Civics and Acuras ... "Ducks." "You mean, geese." ... too much tax north of the border, no GST refunds south of it ... little kids running amok in the Museum of Anthropolgy, next to iMacs, next to centuries-old First Nations tapestries ... mountains, mountains, everywhere we turned, till we headed south of the border ... nobody said we had to pay for I-94s to enter the US --- good thing the border control office could break a $100 bill ... traffic at every major city, while going south on the I-5 ... the best radio station in Seattle, with all the good music they don't play in Singapore anymore ... I ate half a bag of strawberry Twizzlers on the drive south and not another one for the rest of the trip ... miles to go before we slept ... who knew that the speed limit on Highway 101 dropped to 20-30 mph every time it entered a town or hamflet, of which there seemed to be one every 15 miles or so? ... time of arrival, Newport: 11 pm; time of arrival, Portland (having learned our lesson): 6 pm ... driving through rain, down what was essentially a paved country road, with no street lights or, indeed, much of a map --- those highway miles ticked by slower than the twelve-hour plane ride from Hong Kong ... storm-beaten windswept coasts, to the edge of which the highway curved perilously near sometimes; no wonder Spielberg set The Goonies here [Ed: Well-trained typing fingers automatically want to type "Goodnies" instead of "Goonies".] ... where the locals don't really even know the driving time or distance between towns ... everyone seemed to go to bed or head indoors, even in late spring, by 9 pm ... seals sunning themselves on a rock the next day ... now I know what brine is, because we saw so much of it from Yaquina Point ... now I know what really cheap factory outlets are, too --- and no sales tax in Oregon! ... Portland seemed to be all steel and industry till we hit downtown, where it became a remarkably pedestrian- and bike-friendly milieu --- though the tall buildings made me feel as if I were ploding along at the base of enormous canyons ... the mildew from the duvet cover at the Travelodge decided it liked me enough to relocate a few of its offspring to my left cheek for a few days; we can safely say we've had the quintessential motel experience ... the best Italian food in the world (and value for money) is at Romano's Macaroni Grill, which doesn't serve macaroni at all but has the friendliest waiters and the most exquisite food (without equally exquisite prices), including lasagna that restored my faith in the human ability to get lasagna right, not to mention an honour system for the consumption of house wine ... a riverfront patrolled by Coast Guard boats with a man at the machine gun, because the US Navy was in town ... the biggest and bestest bookstore in the world! Now I know why Montykins always finds random and quirky stuff in there, though my purchases were more restrained, since I actually have a baggage allowance imposed on me ... Hare Hare Hare Krishna, Hare how are you come read my books oh Hare Krishna ... heaps of sushi at Todai ... heaps of digestive juices grinding overtime as we headed north to the land of Microsoft --- and our friends the Byrds ... the Byrds' new house! Which lacks an actual birdcage but does, at last viewing, have a bird-feeder and a bird feather, the latter courtesy of one of the three resident cats ... "Happy anniversary." ... six-layer chocolate cake! Eat your heart out, Seah Street Deli! ... modern-day ersatz Vikings on Bainbridge Island ... the best luck ever in arriving at the car ferries just in time (twice!) to immediately roll on up into the boat [Ed: Could there be more prepositions in that phrase?] ... Coast Guard escorts (but were they armed?) all the way to Bainbridge Island, but no escort back to show off S-curves in the water ... the strongest wind in the world whips up at the front of the ferry on the way back; go forth with un-ponytailed hair at your own peril ... a Pike's Place market lovely offers T a food sample and gets her picture taken in return ... the Microsoft 'campus', where people were at work even on Friday night ... the Redmond brewery 'tour' that never left the room where the taps were ... Dan, Twinkie virgin no more ... more shrimp than six people could eat ... Before Sunrise, on DVD! ... cats, in our room: wilful Chance, fat Ash and skittish Sammy ... too much cat fur makes Dan's throat all rough and coughy ... Hot Mama: How To Have A Babe and Be A Babe ... 98°F water: " ... not recommended to remain in the pool for more then 10 minutes" --- though we did ... kids of all colours ignoring the "No Diving" signs ... a really big rock on a girl's finger, blinding Sprite as she tried to snoop closer to investigate its carat size ... the chear Harrison and murkey Fraser ... "Ducks." "Geese." ... old people dancing in the Copper Room and celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, while we wondered when we had time-warped back to 1956 ... DVDs at HMV; DVDs at Future Shop; more DVDs at HMV; even a quick scan at London Drugs for DVDs ... Bread Garden serves beer? ... el cheapo (and, as it turns out, el yummy-o) maple creme cookies ... the Suzy Shier store at Pacific Centre mall that would not be found ... Japanese tourists, hackeysack and chess outside the Vancouver Art Gallery ... the best Horatio Crane, aside from Horatio Crane himself ... sunset, waterfront, cool conversation, fresh seafood ... Pho Viet, for the third and last time, because it's just that good ... The good thing about arriving and leaving Vancouver in daytime is being able to say hi and bye (sigh) to the mountains ... Hong Kong: hot, crowded, but thanks goodness for modern decor, power airconditioning and internet access ... a tantalizing opportunity to stay an extra night, thanks to an overbooked flight, if only other accommodating people hadn't elected to switch to a United Airlines ... run, run, run all the way to Gate 62, but we weren't the last to board after all ... Singlish ... home.


At 6/27/2004 1:56 am , Blogger Packrat said...

Miller lite has half the carbs of Bud lite...on the other hand, Bud lite claims that all lite beers have the same amount of carbs...who's right? Who cares? :)

At 6/27/2004 8:50 am , Blogger SilverBullet said...

Must check out bookshop!!!

We love Romano's Macaroni Grill too! There's one across the street from us so we go there when I don't feel like cooking. The chicken scallopini there is sublime. They have amazing sushi at "I Love Sushi" and really good Singaporean/Malaysian food at "Malay Satay Hut".

Where can this marvellous 7 layer cake be found? I'll be spending the next week wandering the streets of Bellevue while the husband's at work. Thankfully we're staying at the Hyatt Bellevue so I can walk to the mall and spend all my time at Borders.

At 6/27/2004 10:56 am , Blogger Terz said...

It's at a place called Claim Jumpers. Not sure if the first Borders we went to in Seattle was the one at Bellevue, but if it was, then it's just across the parkade.

At 6/27/2004 1:49 pm , Blogger Agagooga said...

Why don't you write it out like I do? :)

This time I've included some pics too!

At 6/28/2004 6:05 am , Blogger Tym said...

My dear Agagooga, I do have a job, you know. Can't sit around composing travelogues all day. Besides, it'd be really dreadful to hear me drone on about every last meal we had, how much we left for tip and whether people are less obese north of the border than south of it.

At 6/29/2004 6:50 am , Blogger Agagooga said...

If I *did* go on about that, I could write a book for each trip already.


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