West Coast Bopping

28 Jan

I 100% could not have done this trip without the generous, generous Patrick who let me borrow his car (keeping costs to a minimum).  And so, because Patrick is amazing and also because his car is in the Pacific Northwest, this leg of my trip began in Seattle.

(As I mentioned,) SEATTLE

Patrick picked me up from the airport, and thanks to Carmageddon (pile-up of traffic due to a major highway closing), we had extra time to catch up and chat in the car while we headed to The Octopus to watch a sports game and then back to his place to drop off his vehicle in favor of walking around in the GORGEOUS SEATTLE WEATHER!   It doesn’t rain there, I swear. 

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Hello, beautiful Seattle 🙂

 

That evening for our first dinner, we went to a Mexican restaurant, where Patrick and I both had “good orders” including a fantastic soup which I tried to eat while a plate was still on top of it — The bartender, Samantha, watched me try with a spoon but, as I said, a plate was still on top of it. Not the smoothest I’ve ever come across to a stranger.

I recovered, with class, at that bar though with another interaction (sarcasm) — Here’s the story: A man named Fernando, with a gorgeous mustache, was also working behind the bar.  Because of him, between Patrick and I the conversation topic was: “Would you prefer to be told ‘nice mustache’ from a guy or from a girl?  “Fernando!” I yelled as we were talking about him. Of course he looked over. Oops. Um, I stammered, yes we were talking about you but no, we don’t need anything.  Ugh, not smooth, Patrick whispered. (My cheeks turned red and) Patrick and I left shortly after that.

But we didn’t got far!  Right around the corner the two of us *accidentally ducked into a place that became one of my new favorite restaurants — The Barrel Thief!  Why was it so amazing?? Because of this item on on their menu: Cold baratta, beets, and toasted, hot bread.  Fact about me? I absolutely love hot-cold combinations.  Hypothetical warm cookies, chocolate sauce, and ice cream?  I CAN NOT SAY YES FAST ENOUGH! Cold baratta, pickled beets, and hot bread??  LET’S ORDER ANOTHER ONE, please!! 

But even after that surprisingly perfect stop, my night with Patrick wasn’t over.  We still had one more restuarant left — it wasn’t time for bed until we consumed two orders of muscles and two orders of fries.  Sure, it felt like a mistake the next day….but that night it was a blast!  Thank you for taking me out, Patrick ❤

The next morning, luckily for both of us, Patrick lives v close to the best coffee shop.  He enjoyed an espresso while I downed, as fast as I possibly could, the best chai latte I’ve ever had (except for that other time that I was in Seattle and I’d had the best chai latte that I have ever had), and then Patrick and I shared treats.  The treats were 1. I had brought Patrick homemade chocolate-covered goldfish (a la Kyrgyzstan) and 2. Patrick presented AND READ OUT LOUD two blogs from central Asia ❤

Our second night together we went to bed early both because of Patrick’s work schedule and because of my impending road trip to Portland the next morning.  Earlier, Patrick had told me about the time his car had been broken into because there was a blanket on the backseat.  He told me to seriously never leave anything in his car because the homeless population on the west coast was a bit dangerous. I assured Patrick that I would be careful with his vehicle and promised to heed all of his warnings.  

 

PORTLAND

My road-trip to Portland was kind of a bust.  But not because the car got busted into! Yay! I choose not to (but wish I did) get a hostel. #sleepinthecarlyfe Hindsight is 20/20 though, and my perfect vision is telling me that it would’ve been a better idea to splurge on a hostel so that I’d have had a safe place to leave my belongings (and hopefully make friends) instead of bringing my bag with me everywhere I went and driving very far out of town in order to sleep and feel safe.  At the time, the reason I didn’t get a room felt justified: The only hostel in town had ALL of their beds available.  Meaning that there weren’t any friends to be made at that hostel anyway.   So I saved my money and tried other avenues for friendship, like a Couchsurfing event!  But that got canceled.  And then, for other activities that I attended (like an open mic) I was forced to bring my backpack inside with me #nerdalert and that, apparently, doesn’t scream camaraderie in Portland.  

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A view of the city.

 

Also, the job I applied for didn’t pan out, and the second place I tried needed a social security card, which I had not brought with me. I told them they could have my passport, and, even though it’s the most valuable thing that I own, it wasn’t good enough. Sigh.

I ended up finding a nice hotel that let me leave my backpack with them for a few hours (thank you, thank you!) while I got ready in a fancy bar. Since the hotel staff was babysitting my luggage, I felt safe enough to walk around downtown. I found some ramen to eat and a FedEx driver to ask: “Which part of town do people leave their keys in the car??”

Answer: Lake Oswego

I drove 20 minutes to sleep in a safe part of town i.e. the parking lot of a hotel in a (notoriously) safe part of town.  I knew I was in the right area of Portland when I stopped at the gas station in Lake Oswego — it was fancy and had the perfect solo bathroom to brush my teeth.  It wasn’t until the morning, however, with this discovery, that I knew I’d made it to the big leagues:  Home Depot.  I found the most wonderful box store in Lake Oswego — it opens early, has a filtered water fountain to fill up my water-bottle, had a hairdryer (er, hand dryer) in the bathroom, and had the word “home” in its title! My strategy to bathe at “home”:  Use a refilled water bottle to wash my hair (and bits) in an empty parking lot and then head to “Home” Depot  to blow dry my hair with that hairdryer/hand dryer.  I’ll call it the “Minimalist Chic” beauty regimen, if you will. And I will.

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So much good food in the Land of Port.

 

But, as is on-brand for me, I didn’t let my accomodations (or lack thereof) keep me from eating delicious food.  Besides that incredible ramen I’d had, I also had some burger sliders, and went to a food truck called Jurassic Cart, which was splendid because of both the food and its amazing name.

Some other major highlights include (but are not limited to):

  • Powell’s bookstore which is a portal for really cool people
  • Sean Whiteman, a friend from college who I got to catch up with. We hung out at a nearby bar where there was a dog inside. Sean was pretty astute, although I might have just been dirty, because somehow he knew that I was sleeping in my car.  Once he told me that he knew my secret, I invited him over to my hotel parking lot spot in order to more thoroughly check out my digs. The tour of my temporary home didn’t last long because there was only one room (and weirdly lots of people outside plus this creepy tree branch that kept tapping on the window), so afterwards, Sean invited me to sleep on his couch, which was so nice, but I stuck to my plan and instead switched hotel parking lots for more privacy .
  • This really fancy grocery store called Zappans where I found myself several times this trip.
  • ICE CREAM. I know, I know. I talked about food already, but I was saving this olive oil flavored Salt & Straw ice cream for its own highlight. It was so good that I may or may not have ordered the same flavor twice in a row.  And the employees were so nice that they may or may not have only charged me half-price the second time. Was this the friendship I’d been looking for??

 

Finally, after a week that felt like a month, it it was time to move along back to Seattle to pick Patrick up from his school trip.  The three hour trip took me seven hours, but I made it right as he got off the bus, so, essentially, the world’s best soccer mom even though I don’t have a kid and Patrick doesn’t play soccer. On the way, Scrappy stopped at a casino but didn’t gamble except on them having wonderful amenities. And I won that bet! They had a bathroom, a charger, Internet, and free bottled water. JACKPOTTTT!

 

(Back to) SEATTLE

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One part of The Unit.

 

Back in Seattle, I finally slept in a real bed, and it was so wonderful that I slept for a well-deserved 10 hours.

I was staying at Patrick’s (duh), and he said one of my favorite things he has ever said: “My roommate smells so bad or maybe it’s the ecology I have growing in my bedroom.” Hilarious. And true.  Anyway, it was nice to get up at 5am, not have to hold my bladder, and be able to go back to sleep.  It’s the little things.  Or the big ones, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Seattle was great! And contrary to everybody’s expectations, it didn’t rain once while I was there.  I got to see Lucie and Allison a couple of times, too. We played in the park and ordered Indian food for the house.  On another occasion, Allison, Patrick and I got burgers and vegan ice cream.

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This charcoal ice cream was hard to beet.

 

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We scream (internally) for ice cream!

 

While Patrick ran 8 miles (wowza), I showered at his gym and used an ACTUAL hair dryer — not a hand dryer.  Later on, he and I had wine and tapas while we talked to Katie B. on the phone for hours. And, as a pair does when they are conjoined by headphones, when we ran out of wine, Patrick and I got up together to order more.  We were really happy about saving $12 at happy hour and asked Katie what the last thing she spent $12 on in Bhat. She couldn’t think of any single item worth that much in Thailand.

Also in the cards for us on that Seattle trip?  A Comedy Sports show and some Turkish lunch with rainbow hummus (see below).

 

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Rainbows always mean something good; in this case, it meant hummus…which is good.

 

The next day, the Unit (Patrick and I) decided to go on a hike with Shane.

 

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When the sun was deciding on whether to keep to itself…

 

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…Or to come out to play!

 

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An ocean of clouds.

 

When we got to the top, we ate some apples and nuts but had to shield ourselves from the The Birds happening overhead. They swooped and tried to get our snacks while we talked, fit in some trip-planning, and of course laughed, especially about Patrick’s favorite quote from the day: “It takes a village to help Patrick make a decision.”

 

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Later that night, The Unit went to Comedy Underground to catch Matt Donahue’s show. We weren’t ridiculously impressed, and we weren’t mildly impressed, and we weren’t generally impressed. But it was fun, and we got to talk to my parents on the phone outside beforehand, so that was a great time.

The next morning, before the sun was awake, I took a Lyft to the train station (felt “Uber” bad for my Lyft driver, who got pulled over right as I got out), a train to the airport, and a plane to….

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Wait for it….

 

CALIFORNIA

Molly picked me up at the Burbank airport (variety, fun), and we headed out for a leisurely lunch, walked around, identified plants, and headed to a doctor’s office for a visit.

 

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New hat who dis

 

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The meal we wanted.

 

Molly and I used our time wisely, I was there for one very full day.  During lunch, a whole new genre of jokes emerged, as we evaluated our leases on life and as Molly made concerned facial expressions when I said something alarming. At our office visit, Molly got a clean bill of health and I marveled at her heart sonogram. I quite literally got to see the depths of my best friend’s heart. And, before I headed back to the airport, the two of us celebrated by going on a sour beer mission and discovered that the key (listen up, folks) is oak-aged, not kettle-aged. You heard it here first.

West coat boppin’,
‘mi

 

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