Heading West soon!

00550021 In three weeks or so I’ll be on an airplane again.

Thank goodness!

Without travel I feel as though my soul shrinks. Or is warped, at least a bit.

This time I’m going somewhere I’ve never been: Los Angeles!

My thesis piece is there- a beautiful enconchado that I will do a post on soon!

I’m staying with good friends Chelsea and Comrade Kate and the last time we all were together in a city was a roadtrip through Montana, Idaho, and Washington to Seattle and Olympia. Harlan tagged along and upon getting to Seattle declared, “I hate cities!” at which point we all wondered why he had come along to a trip to a city. Nonetheless, we had a blast, eating our way through seafood and staying with Chelsea’s wonderful grandparents.

I’m excited to see these two soon in an entirely foreign environment to me!

 

I do not believe you, continue: Road trip, Part II

Our second day heading into the city began with us waking up to the sun rise in Chelsea’s grandparents enormous windows. Harlan went for a run, and tried to coax me into going along. Having forgotten shoes and socks and anything looking like athletic gear, I politely declined; Harlan’s endurance and general fitness would have shamed me anyway.

We got into the city and decided to go in the direction of the shopping area. We parked in a garage near the charmingly decorated Louis Vuitton window, and meandered past Gucci and other couture shops. Being generally broke college students, we skipped anything expensive and instead went to H&M. Immediately we found things we lusted over; I left with dresses and shirts that quite fit my budget and my figure. We meandered over to the Nordstrom Rack, crowded with bargain hunters. I found a See by Chloe dress that, at $150.00, was too far out of my budget…until I put it on. Ugh. Silk, purple with little stars dotting it, and beautiful sleeves and easy to wear…I tried it on and carried it around the store. Reasoning that I had been working two jobs all summer and deserved a splurge, I purchased it uneasily, but then swelled with pride: it felt good buying something expensive with money I had definitely worked for.

The city offered us many sights to see; picketers proposing paid sick days at McDonald’s, free chocolate chip cookie hand outs downtown, large groups of tourists armed with cameras and backpacks worn on their fronts, well dressed Seattle-ites with briefcases and beautiful shoes. We decided that hunger was gnawing at our moods, and we marched down 3rd Avenue towards the Library Bistro, but it was only open for brunch, and we decided to scout out other places to eat.

We found ourselves, with help from a wonderful girl at a boutique, at Japonesse, a sushi restaurant that was without a doubt, chic. A power couple sat next to us, sharing a chilled white wine. They also played footsie and rubbed their knees together while on leather encased iPads and Blackberries (“No, Jeanine, last quarter was 3%, and that investment was supposed to be made yesterday…) and definitely added a funky vibe while we had California rolls and salmon and eel.

Marching right across the street we entered the very air conditioned Seattle Art Museum, who’s collection varies widely and is a treat to explore. I love the portraits and the giant kitschy Jeff Koons ceramic work. They have some great Asian-American art, which I normally don’t prefer, and actually a pretty cool Byzantine collection!

We then ditched the city, bidding it a wonderful fairwell, and departed to get some Italian food in Olympia. I ordered spaghetti con vongole e cozze (spaghetti with clams and mussels) and everybody else ordered similar dishes. As an appetizer we ordered calamari, and the whole, tiny squid made Kate and Chelsea quite squeamish…Harlan and I ate them, tentacles and all- they were delicious! The waiter was as timid as a mouse, and also quite awkward, but nonetheless we ate well…except for the promised tiramisu afterwards, which consisted of a single lady finger, some cream, and some raspberries. Harlan was quite angry; tiramisu this was not! Falsified dessert claims tend to boil the blood; this was no exception.

“Thanks for the lady finger!”  He hissed as we paid and left. We felt jipped! Ah, but the evening was still young…sort of. We were exhausted. After our dinner we went back to the house and slept- the alarm was set for 5 am to wake up and make the return drive!

I woke up at 5 am, and everybody else was rather slow at getting a move on. I went and looked out the window- the tide was out! It hadn’t been out the entire time we were there, we had gotten up too late, so I scrambled down with my camera and shot some pink and orange sunrise shots on the beach. I found several sea snails, a dead squid, some lovely sea glass, and Mount Rainier, glorious in the morning sun!

Then we shuffled out of the house after many hugs goodbye. My honorary grandmother packed us with brownies, muffins, and fruit, and we climbed up the 46 stairs and clambered back into the car (or as Harlan thought, the cage) and drove back. We returned to our homes and slept in our respective beds. Road trip 2011 was a success!

The eyes are the groin of the head: Road trip, Part I

The alarm went off at 5 am, and I ignored the “Arabian Night” song that chirped from my phone. It wasn’t even light out yet…blerg. Luckily, smart Kate had already packed, and only had to swipe on some chapstick and put on non-pajama clothing and drive to Chelsea’s abode.

Our roadtrip involved four people, one Honda Accord in a beautiful white, no CD’s or iPods that would work, and a lot of spontaneous opera (that’s what you get when you travel with a music major). There were two Kates, and the trip had some mix ups as a result, but nonetheless, we were a positive and happy group heading from Montana to Olympia, Washington.

We stopped about 30  miles out of town to get fresh mountain spring water flowing from a tap, and then stopped another 150 miles later to eat some 50’s diner themed fare- I got a cinnamon roll and bacon, Harlan devoured an enormous omelette, and the others got sides of things and we all sipped coffee from white, chipped mugs.

The next stop was to buy cherries and eat them in Idaho, then stopping again in Ritzville, Washington, to devour Zip’s burgers and fries. All in all, we stopped a lot. Probably more than necessary, but hey, we weren’t in a rush. Everybody took turns driving, taking full advantage of the 75 mph speed and the cruise control while the passenger seat person DJ’ed our drive (usually to country or whatever we could get).

Arriving at last in Olympia, Chelsea handled the traffic with ease as her inner city driver came out. She cut across lanes and maneuvered through the masses like a professional, and we pulled into her grandparent’s beautiful beach house at a prompt 6:00 pm. They greeted us with hugs (“We don’t do handshakes”) and took our things upstairs. Harlan, being of a different gender than us women folk, was banned to a couch, which Chelsea’s gracious grandmother quickly transformed into a luxurious bed with layers of blankets and many pillows- the couch was not a bad thing to sleep on!

The grandparents insisted on feeding us large amounts of food, and after saying grace, we enjoyed the view of the sound, and then took a turn on their yacht, Miracle, before collapsing in warm beds with the windows languishing a breeze upon us.

We woke up and once again were fed fresh food by the doting grandparents (Chelsea informed us we were officially honorary grandchildren) and all climbed back into the Honda. Chelsea once again sped us into Seattle in no time at all, and our first stop was my favorite: the aquarium!

 

Growing up in rural Utah and Montana, I appreciated every moment of my childhood spent in New York, Boston, Cape Cod and New Jersey, and relished the ocean. Any sort of aquarium automatically sucks me towards it; I was helpless upon entering! There was so much to do and see! We were allowed to pet sea urchins, anemones, sea slugs and cucumbers, and starfish! A lovely octopus was quite the actress, putting on a show of changing from a burnt orange to a beautiful deep red while swimming around, and the tanks of exotic tropical animals drew us in.

The aquarium went by quickly, and by the time we were out, we were craving something cool. A gelato shop just past Pikes Place looked doubtful, but my taste buds were soothed by the perfect hazelnut gelato, which could have easily passed as one I picked up in Lugano- the hazelnut, essentially, blended into the nocciolo flavor I got while downtown at school.

Post-aquarium and post-gelato we marched up to the Seattle Library, a beautifully designed building full of every type of city goer possible. Homeless people had their carts tucked in corners writing letters, and children sat in enormous chairs hearing stories read while people came in and out of elevators whisking people up 10 stories to see the panoramic view. The entire time I was surely a light green shade of envy, but also in absolute awe at the vastness of the resources available. They had books in Esperanto, Thai, Russian, Serbian, any language imaginable, and had beautiful books with hand-marbeled covers blending in with encyclopedia collections.

 

We walked down the spiral steps until finally giving in and taking the elevator, we walked to Iver’s, a Seattle classic with great clam chowder and a special treat for the brave. I ordered an extra side of fries, as Chelsea had previously told us of the option of feeding seagulls. The bold birds lined the fence, and we tossed them fries. The afternoon was wiled away by a ferry ride to Bremerton, and coming back, we climbed into the car and went to Olympia for dinner- finding I-5 was quite the adventure!

The Spar Cafe got our business- Chelsea had spent time here as a youth, and so we thought we’d kick back and enjoy Chelsea’s nostalgia. I ordered pesto pizza, which was delicious! A weak pesto is a sad thing, but no disappointments with this pesto- it had all the zing necessary!

We then drove back to the beach house and slept, ready for the next day of our road trip to get started.