October 28, 2006
Vancouver, here we come!
Wednesday was pretty uneventful. We woke up to a misty and overcast day. We went to check out the free breakfast and kinda smirked. It wasn't really all that different from Silver Cloud's breakfast besides it being in a little room instead of a restaurant. They had the same stuff: waffle maker, bagels, cereal...But we got turned off with the styrofoam cups they had for the coffee. They had styrofoam plates and we might have been okay with that if only they had paper coffee cups. Yves has finally seen the light with drinking coffee in styrofoam, basically it sucks! So we decided to go to this little coffee place I saw yesterday. We both got egg and sausage sandwiches on english muffin and it was probably one of those frozen kinds but we also got cafe mocha! MMMM. We haven't gotten something like that in ages. It was good and sweet.
We headed down to the pier to catch the 11:10 ferry back to Anacortes and headed straight up to Vancouver. It took us about 2 hours and the border wasn't too bad, not too long of a wait. As soon as we hit Vancouver, fellow yellows everywhere!! Hello my peeps! hahaha
We found our hotel okay after making a wrong turn. We went with the Days Inn, Vancouver Metro. Apparently it is only 3 miles outside of downtown Vancouver and within walking distance of the Skytrain. The Days Inn is a Days Inn, nothing special but it was cheap. We decided to take the train into downtown to check it out a little bit. The Skytrain ended up being about 10 loooong blocks away. Normally not that big of a deal but we were at the end of our trip and starting to feel touristed out.
We went to the machine to buy our tickets. They operate on a zone system and we were going to zone 1 so it cost $2.25 canadian. We took the escalator upstairs to the platform and a train was coming in. We jumped on it. We then realized something didn't feel right. Where was a turnstile to put your ticket through? How did they know we paid? I thought maybe there would be one on the other side. Nothing. How bizarre!! They work on an honor system! If someone stops you, of course, you have to show proof you paid but we didn't see any sort of official looking person on the platform. I'm guessing if you get caught, there would be a hefty fine. The trains were only 4 cars long and shorter in length and narrower than NY. But the trains come very often.
We decided to get off at the waterfront and thought we might be able to take some night shots. HA. We got there and it was so foggy and misty, we couldn't see anything! We really didn't prepare for Vancouver so I didn't really know where to go. We saw the tourist information center and went in there and got some brochures, walked around a little bit and decided to call it a night. It started to rain pretty steady. On the way to our hotel, we stopped off at a little pizza place where I got a meatball sandwich and Yves got a greek salad to bring back to the room.
October 24, 2006
Tuesday, we took the shuttle van down to the waterfront to get our rental car from Thrifty. We got a white Chevy Cobalt. It had the bare minimum! Manual windows (didn't know they still made those!), manual door locks, no cruise control but it got us from point A to B so that was fine. We went back to the hotel to check out and we're on our way North! We head up to Anacortes to take the ferry over to Friday Harbor and the San Juan Island. We left the hotel at 11 and iIt took us around 1.5 hours to get there. The next ferry wasn't until 2:40 so we had some time to kill. We shared a half turkey sandwich from the little food stand, which turned out not to be so bad. And the view waiting for the ferry wasn't so bad either.
The ferry was really nice!! I don't know why I was thinking more along the lines of the Staten Island Ferry. I mean, that ferry is free, this one is not. There were cushy seats, carpet, nice bathrooms and everything!
We got onto the island around 3:45 and started driving around it. According to the brochure, the island is 55 square miles. I was hoping to see some Orcas but they knew I was coming and hid. It was a nice sunny day and the scenery was just beautiful!!
I do believe the island across the water is Victoria, BC
The sunset wasn't as pretty because it was so cloudy but it was still nice. We decided to head back into the little town to see about dinner since our lunch wasn't very substantial. We settle on a Mexican place and it wasn't bad. It wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst. I don't remember the name of it.
Since we spent a good amount of money on the hotel in Seattle, we just wanted something cheap for the night and we went to the Best Western. The only room they had available was a King Suite. It was a 2 room suite with a big frig, microwave and gas fireplace. It was nice and roomy and much more cheaply made than Silver Cloud since I could hear our neighbors talking and the people above us walking around. I felt like I was at home! But I put my earplugs in and was able to fall asleep.
October 22, 2006
Last day in Seattle
Monday was our last day in Seattle. I planned it that way so I could see Jude but I ended up not going. More on me being a bad fan later.
Since the weather was overcast and misty, we decided to go check out The Underground Tour. It reminded me of the underground subway tour under Atlantic Avenue that I missed out on. I wasn't sure if it was real or made up for the tourists and I was hoping it wasn't going to be hokey. We finally utilized the free shuttle van our hotel offers. It only takes you to downtown areas and this tour was in Pioneer Square. We made it for the 11 am tour and it was fun. The tour guide had a lot of corny jokes but it made it fun. The tour lasted about 90 minutes. We learned some interesting facts about Seattle, none of which I could recite right now.
After the tour we walked around a bit and headed over toward Chinatown since it wasn't too far away. I'm not sure if we ended up on the outskirts of Chinatown or what but it barely seemed like a Chinatown. And there were hardly any people around! We decided to have a dim sum lunch at Sun Ya Seafood Restaurant. Since it was a Monday, there weren't as many customers and only 2 carts of dim sum were going around. But since we weren't too hungry, it was fine with me.
I thought the dim sum was good, Yves just thought it was ok. The above picture shows we got har kow (3 pieces of shrimp inside instead of 1!!), shu mai,fun kor and turnip cake (yum! all for me since yves hates turnip cake). I had to ask for sauce for the turnip cake! We also got sticky rice and don tat. The sticky rice tasted a bit dry and the rice not cooked enough and the don tat's crust wasn't flaky like we are used to. I think that was all we got and it cost about $17. Pretty reasonable for dim sum.
After dim sum we called the hotel to have the van pick us up in Chinatown but we ended up having to go back to where we were dropped off instead. It wasn't far away but after walking so much earlier in our trip, I was just tired! I did the laundry when we got back and we just kinda lazed around our room. That's when I got really tired and lazy and the prospect of taking the bus to the venue that Jude was playing did not sound desirable. I know. I'm getting old. I haven't seen Jude in years and years and we're in the same town and I dropped the ball and didn't go. I'm a terrible fan. Yes. I. Am. Sigh...
For dinner, we walked a couple of blocks over to Pike Street and had some Indian food. It was pretty good. Then we just went back to the hotel and got our bags ready to check out tomorrow and start heading north!
We're back from our weeklong trip to Seattle/Vancouver! It was a fun trip but we are glad to be home, back in our beds and back with our pets. We took Jetblue's red eye flight Friday night and arrived home Saturday at 8:30 in the morning. It was a shorter ride than going there but it was still tough. I couldn't really get comfortable. My forehead was tender later on Saturday and I couldn't figure out why until Yves pointed out that I was trying to sleep (and might have) with my head up against the seat in front of me. Dad picked us up and took us over to Liz's to pick up Skippy. We had to get our Skippy right away! We spent Saturday cleaning the house, putting our things away and napping.
But I want to continue documenting the rest of our trip in chronological order and I'll continue that with the next post.
October 17, 2006
A football widow and super tourist
Barb and I planned on doing some stamp shopping while I was in town, especially since there were so many! At least more than the one we have in NYC. So Yves kindly asked if we could do it on Sunday so he could watch his football. Whatever keeps him busy while I'm shopping for crafts works for me!
We started out the day going to Snoqualmie Falls. It's right next to Salish Lodge, which if you were a fan of Twin Peaks, you will recognize it. It was a rainy day so I got to use my new rain slicker and the rain jacket on my new camera bag.
On the way to the North Bend outlet malls, we passed this Railroad museum with these really cool old trains out on display. If it wasn't raining, I would have had Barb stop because I just love old trains. Oh well. I'm not really a big outlet mall person but I did manage to buy these cute little bunny mini pans. And some chocolate covered pears, which I haven't tried yet. We were really just killing time waiting to have lunch at Twede's Cafe, where their Cherry Pie and a damn fine cup of coffee was made famous in, you guessed it, Twin Peaks. It was a cute little diner with Tweety bird stuffed animals lined up along the wall. I got a turkey burger and they serve it with a heaping of fries, which of course I had to eat all of them. Fries are one of my weaknesses and I am on vacation, damn it! Their cherry pie was good, although not as good as the sour cherry pie I had at Bubby's but I had to have it, it's famous after all!
After waddling out of the cafe with full stomachs, we heading to Make An Impression rubber stamps in Issaquah. It was a pretty big store and we had to have spent a good hour in there. I bought a decent amount of stuff in there without going overboard, we had other stores to hit too! After that we headed to Rubber Soul in the Redmond shopping center. It was a smaller store but really cute and nicely laid out. I didn't spend as much money in there as the other store, which is a good thing! What blew my mind about the shopping center was they had this big containers with big purple umbrellas in them. Barb said those are free to use while you are shopping. The mall is an outdoor mall. Well, that just about blew my mind! Besides the fact that they offer that but also the fact that there were actually umbrellas in there!!! I had to take a picture of it!
Turns out that Yves got his lunch for free at Taco Del Mar because another customer had canceled their enchilada order, which is what Yves was ordering, and they didn't want to waste it so they gave it to him for free!!! What's up with these Seattle people??
We ended out shopping spree at Ben Franklin arts and crafts which I've never been to since I don't think there are any in New York. What a great craft store! It's much better than Michael's, A.C. Moore's and Joann's. Guess it's a good thing we don't have any. I got some cool stuff and resisted buying any of the paper packs to keep my suitcase light.
As Barb was driving me back to my hotel, it cleared up and we actually saw the sun, as it was setting! I managed to get this decent shot of the needle while on the highway.
Later on we ordered room service so Yves could watch his Amazing Race show.
October 16, 2006
Super Tourists day 2
Man, I love the water pressure in our hotel's shower. It may seem like a small thing to some people but weak shower pressure could really make for a bad start to the day. And the curtains are great! They really do keep all light out of the room and you don't know what time of day it is when you wake up. And the hotel breakfast had hard boiled eggs so there was our protein. So today we went to Museum of Flight. Yves was really excited to go check it out. We walked downtown to catch the bus and the ride wasn't too bad, about half an hour. The bus driver gave us a transfer to use on the way back! Can you believe that? Use on the way back!! It blew our minds. The museum had an airpark with the concord and air force one planes and we were able to go on it. It was pretty cool. Inside the museum there were a bunch of planes hanging from the ceiling.
What's a car doing at the museum of flight?
It's not a car! It's an airplane! har har har
After the museum, we hopped back on the bus toward downtown and the transfers worked! We got off by the waterfront and had lunch at The Fisherman's. We had a delicious lunch of clam chowder (better than the one we had in San Francisco) and I had a crab cake sandwich and Yves had a grilled salmon sandwich. They gave us warm yummy sourdough bread and as usual, ate too much of it. Halfway through my sandwich I was full. Well, I wasn't wasting the crab cake so I just left the bun and ate the rest.
We went back to Pike's to pick up those almonds we tried yesterday. I got the orange honey roasted and I got Yves the regular honey roasted. I also picked up some organic homemade soap and almost got some chocolate. We then went on the bus to go back to our hotel. And I used the same transfer again!!! Yves was a sucker and paid. "It's only $1.25."
I tried to take a nap once we got back to the hotel because I was so beat but I couldn't get to sleep. It's hard for me to take afternoon naps. Before we knew it, it was time to meet Aunt Natalie for dinner. For some reason, Yves thought she was in Portland but she's been in Seattle 4 years now and works for Starbucks (and doesn't even like coffee!) We met her at Pacific Place, a mall in the downtown area and had dinner at Thai Ginger. It was a nice place and the food was good. We ended up staying for quite bit longer after eating dinner and paying the check just chatting and they didn't try to kick us out and it was a Saturday night! Wow! What's the matter with these Seattle people? She drove us back to our hotel after dinner and we just relaxed our little bodies, too tired to do anything else.
October 15, 2006
Super Tourists in Seattle
We arrived in Seattle via Jetblue Thursday night. Got a cab to our hotel, Silver Cloud Inn, Broadway. It was around midnight when we arrived so we were pretty beat. The room is really nice! A king size bed, free internet, frig and microwave (in the room) and laundry machines down the hall. The free breakfast lacks proteins but they have a waffle maker!
We started out our first full day being a total tourist. Our hotel is in Capital Hill, right across the street from Seattle University and not far from downtown. So we walked down to the waterfront and man, we didn't realize how hilly Seattle is, just like San Francisco. The waterfront is where I took the above picture. It was a beautiful sunny day. We walked along the waterfront a bit and then made our way to the famous Pike's Place Market.
This is the famous place where they throw the fish. See how big those crabs are??!! I didn't get a good digital shot of the fish throwing cuz all the freakin' tourists got in my way (haha) but I might have gotten it on my panoramic camera. We walked a little through the market and I got lured toward the smell of fresh frying donuts. They were mini donuts and we shared a half dozen of them. They were yummy! Lots of stalls were giving out free samples and I got pulled into the pepper jelly ladies. I bought the fresh garlic pepper jelly. Can't wait to try it out! We also tried some delicious orange honey roasted almonds but resisted buying any.
We continued walking in the downtown area and considered taking the monorail to Seattle Center but it wasn't working. So we continued walking toward the Seattle Center. We had lunch at this cute little Greek place next to the Space Needle. It was good!! I can't remember the name of it.
We decided that since we were there, we might as well go up to the top although they really get you with the price. While waiting to get on the elevator, they were doing those silly tourist photos, making us stand in front of a picture of the Seattle skyline. I made a totally goofy face on purpose and couldn't wait to see it. We got on the elevator and whooosh, it was pretty fast going up there! It boasts a 520 degree view and since I'm not that good in math, couldn't figure out how it was 520 degrees. Guess from looking up and down as well? Anyway, it was pleasant. It probably would have been much cooler during the sunset or at nighttime. This is a view of the downtown area from the space needle. You can see that there was a little bit of haze.
Afterwards, we walked back to the hotel and by that time, we were really feeling it in our legs. We would have taken a bus back if only they had bus maps at the bus shelters, like they did in San Francisco but they didn't so we didn't know which bus we could take. I guessed that we probably already walked 2 miles and Yves thinks it was more.
We rested a bit at the hotel before it was time to take the bus to my friend, Barb's house for dinner. Barb gave me bus directions, according to their website (they have a trip planner) but the bus wasn't where it was supposed to be. The front desk didn't know much about the buses but thankfully, we ran into somebody that knew. The bus was about 10 blocks away. The bus was baffling! First off, you pay when you get off, how weird is that?? The bus driver said because they have a free ride area. And he got me nervous cuz I asked him to let us know when to transfer to another bus and he wasn't quite sure! But he called it in and knew where it was we were supposed to get off. And then, our transfer bus was on the highway!! On the highway!! How weird is that?? And there were like 15 different buses at that stop. The driver was really sweet and let us off right in front of the stairs leading down to the bus stop, on the highway!
So I asked the 2nd driver to let us know when we reached the street Barb said we were supposed to get off and he was kind enough to do so. It seemed like it was awhile so I was just about to ask him if we passed it and he forgot about us but then it was our stop. Barb was there waiting for us and took us back to her house. We met her mate, John and had delicious BBQ that John cooked. And he was kind enough to give me 2 bottles of his famous hot sauce. We were starting to get really low on energy around 10ish and Barb took us back to our hotel around 10:30.
A pleasant but looooooooonnnnnggggg day!
October 12, 2006
You know what your problem is?
Tuesday night was the first time I ever missed a CDMOM in it's 2 year history. Another first is Bill and Bill's mix was not there either. Shocking and amazing! The mixer was at The Crocodile Lounge, which I was bummed to miss because they have skee ball and whack a mole! But I still have a mix (doesn't the cover look familiar?) and if you can't see the setlist, here it is again.
You Keep It All In • The Beautiful South
Lighten Up • The Beastie Boys
Imaginary Girl • The Bees (U.S.)
Mess • Ben Folds Five
You Ain't No Picasso • Bishop Allen
Charmless Man • Blur
You Turn The Screws • Cake
Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken • Camera Obscura
Dangerous Type • The Cars
Schizophrenia's Weighted Me Down • Cat Power
We Used To Vacation • Cold War Kids
Cut Your Hair • Cassettes Won't Listen
Your Racist Friend • They Might Be Giants
Your Eyes Are Liars • SOUND team
You Make Me Wanna Die • Soft
You Could Be Happy • Snow Patrol
If You Talk Too Much (My Head Willl Explode) • People In Planes
Your Little Hoodrat Friend • The Hold Steady
October 08, 2006
5 Years and we go to the Penitentiary
Saturday was me and Yves 5 year wedding anniversary. It's amazing that it has been 5 years because it doesn't feel like it. I won't get into the mushy stuff and say how we're still giddy in love, blah, blah, blah... We decided not to do any cards or gifts. Honestly, there is nothing I really want and besides, Yves is so supportive of my not having a real job, what more could I ask for? We did go to dinner on Friday night and I took him to Al Di La, the wonderful Italian restaurant I went to last month. We went early (6:30) since they don't take reservations hoping to get a table without waiting too long but I guess it took too long to find a parking spot because we got sent to the side bar, a smaller version of the restaurant but with the same menu/kitchen. I have to be honest and say I wasn't too thrilled with their new fall menu but you can't ever go wrong with one of their specials. I got the pork ribs and YUM YUM YUM, the meat just fell right off the bone. Yves ordered a whole young chicken, which I was surprised about because he doesn't like dealing with bones or using his fingers to eat. He almost got one of the pasta specials but since there was cheese in our app, he didn't want to have too much cheese. Of course he kinda grumbled about the chicken when it came and I tried to offer him one of my ribs but he passed. Finally, after I ate 2 ribs I made him trade with me and he finally agreed. His dish wasn't bad but the ribs were way better. I was stuffed because I also ate too much bread.
So that was Friday night. Saturday, we wanted to go on a day trip and decided that if it was nice and sunny, we would go up to Hudson county. If it was cloudy and overcast, we would got to Philadelphia to Eastern State Penitentiary. Guess where we ended up?
The drive took only about 2 hours with a tiny bit of traffic. We had lunch at Jack's Firehouse right across the street. YUMMY!! Yves said his burger tasted great and my brisket sandwich was delicious! It came with fries and a salad and they gave us biscuits and homemade jam. YUM! And they were so friendly!
Ok, so finally on to the prison. It is now an historical site owned by the state of Pennsylvania. I think it closed in 1971. One of the differences with this prison is that the cells are made out of concrete and wooden doors so you can't even see who is in the next cell. That's pretty grueling! I don't think I have much more to say about it that you can't see in the pictures. It was quite an interesting day.