When I left Orlando, Florida on May 11th, 2011 the flight with transfers was meant to take about 8 hours to cross the country and arrive in Seattle, Washington…..mother nature had other ideas!
The United States has been hit by crazy weather this year – never ending snowstorms in some parts, fires and flooding in others, but the most devastating to human life and property has been the tornadoes. Apparently nearly 1200 tornadoes hit various states this year so far!!!! A record for sure. The varying weather conditions made it prime time for mother nature to wreak havoc, cold air from the north mixed with humid air from the south – perfect for tornadoes. When I was in Kentucky I narrowly missed a big storm that went below Louisville, and for my flight to Seattle, it was once again looking a little ominous.
The flight took off on time, but the flight ended up coming unstuck after leaving St. Louis. From there it was meant to be on to Denver and then Seattle. Instead we ended up stuck in Colorado Springs with a bunch of other planes sitting on the tarmac in a row with ice forming on the wings! Apparently Denver was hit hard by a massive storm, and the plane I was on was running out of fuel and had to land somewhere now……ummmm why did the plane NOT have a full tank of fuel???!
So they landed in Colorado Springs – a place where this airline (unamed) does not land at, and thus had no facilities, so we just had to sit out there in the darkness and wait! Well over an hour later, we took a 15 minute flight to Denver….still raining heavily….oh joy we have missed all our connections and will have to stay overnight near the airport! Of course airlines here in the USA dont pay for you if it is an act of nature…..like it is my fault (but they do arrange a discount)! Hotel was OK, for the 5 hours I spent in it…then it was time to go…….but alas via Las Vegas (got to play a Star Wars slotr machine whilst at the airport, won some cash so not a complete write off – only in Vegas)! 24 hours and 5 cities later I set foot in Seattle SEATAC airport to more rain!
Not a great start to my new city, but Seattle is an awesome place and soon welcomed me with open arms! So much is happening here, and since my arrival the weather has been generally pretty good.
A common response from everyone I have met who does not live in Seattle…..”Seattle, it rains a lot“. Yes it does rain here, and it is often grey and cold, but it also can be sunny and warm, it is surrounded by beautiful mountains, forests and waterways (and yes I am sick of hearing that!!! Ha, just deal with it people!). If no water, none of this natural beauty would exist!
They are obsessed with the temperature here at the moment though, the last 9 months has been pretty ordinary, but I suspect this has as much to do with the terrible weather across the northern hemisphere in general this past northern winter and autumn, than being the norm. Summer kicked off yesterday on June 21st (strange here they don’t start seasons at the start of the month) to a beautiful sunny day. Great start!
As many of you will know I have been pretty busy since arriving getting to know Seattle – baseball & roller derby games (love the latter – it has a great atmosphere, is fast, they have giveaways, good music and you get to see women on roller skates knock each other down – what more could you ask for?! My favourite player is “Re-animate Her” from Grave Danger), WWE wrestling, concerts, exploring the various neighbourhoods, festivals, EMP museum (Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, Avatar and Battlestar Galactica exhibits – an actual 1970’s Cylon!), Pinball & Arcade machines show……so much more coming this summer. Its a great town (also great food and friendly people)! The other good thing is that a lot of these types of things you can see for less than $20!
I seem to have also met all the local homeless people – very noticable in Seattle (and the major US cities in general), oh and the crazies on the public transport system from black witches to the clinically insane! Joy!
Sally from Florida was out here, as her Mum was here on holiday. Had a couple of funny nights out with them from dodgy bars (“we do not have wine glasses here lady”) to intense karaoke fans i.e. not us! Oh and a sleazy Jabba the Hutt type guy videoing a dancer in a restaurant bar…strange scene (we ate there as Anita, Sally’s mum said it was tastefully decorated)!
Another great thing to do is take a ferry across the Puget Sound (incredible views of the Seattle Skyline). I went over to Bremerton, nice little port town, which has a US Navy base right next to it, which happens to be the home of the USS John C. Stennis a nuclear powered Nimitz class supercarrier (aircraft carrier – these things are massive, it is over 300 metres long, carries 90 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters and has a crew of over 5000!). There are also at least 3 other carriers mothballed here. You can see some of them from the ferry as you approach Bremerton, but apparently if you have a car, there is a road that heads out past the base where you can look down and see them all (will have to return one day).
There is also a great little museum in Bremerton on local US Navy activity in Washington state (carriers, nuclear attack subs, Navy Seals etc) and another on local history, plus lots of restaurants etc. Some of the homes over that way are amazing, I guess the wealthy can easily commute to Seattle from there?
Vancouver & Los Angeles
I have also had some interesting side trips in the past month:
One up to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada to do some sightseeing (first return visit since 2006, a lot of changes had occured via downtown renewal due to the 2010 Winter Olympics) and to catch the mighty Anvil play some awesome old school thrash metal at the Biltmore Cabaret. I became an honorary Canadian for the night singing along with the crowd to “FU**ENEH!” and finally got my AMPU card from Sister D (Anvil Metal Pounders Union – I join fellow members such as Alice Cooper, Dee Snyder, Sebastian Bach, Steve-O etc). Now I did something I have not done for years at this gig, entered the madness of the moshpit and worked my way to the front of the crowd for some old school slam dancing! Came out alive and didn’t lose a shoe or any item of clothing or body! RAWR!!!! Met the Anvil boys after the show – Steve “Lips” Kudlow (lead vocals and guitar), Robb Reiner (drums) and Glenn Five (bass), great fun!
The second was a rippa, went to Los Angeles and Anaheim, California to catch up with my sister and her family. We spent 5 epic days (awesome and very testing at times days!) at Disneyland, Disney California, Universal Studios, Hollywood and Santa Monica. We hit Disney hard….as for Universal Studios…well we kind of broke it….my 4 y.o. Nephew shut down the backlot tour completely! Awesome!
- Nephew being scared of all rides from Winnie the Pooh to Ariel but loving the massive drop on the log ride!
- Breakfast with Mickey and Friends
- Water lights show
- California Screamin roller coaster
- Toy story laser ride
- Neice’s eyes lighting up on the Ariel ride
- Crazy big bear rapids ride and the priceless look on sisters face when she got hit by a massive wave just after laughing at me for same thing!
- Nephew shutting down the backlot tour “I am busting”! A special mini bus came and got him and his Dad. All tour trolleys had to stop, hilarious!
- King Kong 360 (created by Peter Jackson, awesome fight between King Kong, a T-Rex oh and a bunch of other dinosaurs and a giant spider – all in 3D 360 degrees around you!)
- Norman Bates chasing us with a knife at Psycho house and motel!
- The look on my brother in laws and my face during the 84 foot drop on the Jurassic Park ride!
- Krustyland and the virtual Simpsons rollercoaster (my niece and I loved it!)
- The look on my sisters face when seeing human excrement just off Hollywood Plaza. Oh and when we were accidently driving through East LA!
Yesterday I had a fantastic day cruising the San Juan Islands, whale watching (Killer Whales) and visiting Friday Harbor on San Juan Island itself. The day was so clear there were fantastic views of the Olympic Mountains to the west, the Cascade Mountains to the East and the mighty Mt. Ranier to the south (it’s over 100km away from Seattle but looks so close!). We were lucky enough to come across “J-Pod” which consisted of 11 whales, we followed them as they fed. Incredible sight on an amazing day. There are about 70 killer whales in the Washington/British Columbia area, a far cry from the numbers of 40 years ago – hunting, pollution and the mad craze of capturing them for sea parks in the 1960/70’s took a toll on the population, but they have been protected now since the mid 1970s. Hopefully their numbers will one day grow again, but alas for now they are on the endangered wildlife list.