14 February 2006


This weekend I had the great pleasure of joining some friends up in Seattle. I booked the tickets on a whim and a rumor that a bunch of people were going to be there, and we would party. (I use whim loosely...for me that means about 2 weeks in advance. I am not really the spontaneous sort) Rarely one who misses a chance to travel somewhere, especially when United is running a deal, I was relishing the chance to get out of town and up to the Pacific Northwest.

I had been to Seattle only twice before...once with my friend when we were seniors in high school. If I recall correctly, our excuse was we wanted to go somewhere for spring break, and her grandma and aunt lived there, and we thought it would be fun. The real reason being there were some boys up there that we had met during Close Up in Washington, D.C. and we wanted to see them. They must have been cute. (incidentally, we were there the day Kurt Cobain committed suicide, and because of this, and the affect this had on the pop culture world at that time, I remember that more than anything else that happened on that trip) The second time was in 2004, 10 years later, when we had a sales meeting. Still the most fun sales meeting I have attended, our big night out coincided with Cinco de Mayo, so after spending our ballpark dollars on beer rather than food, we headed to some bar and salsa danced the night away (along with Don Julio).

This time, there were no rules. I was picked up at the airport, a treat for me, and taken to my weekend living establishment. I stayed with a few friends in the HI Hostel...I haven't stayed in a real hostel in quite some time and was somewhat apprehensive, having been completely and utterly spoiled by the posh digs I usually get put up in for work, and was pleasantly surprised. 60$ for two nights, I got my own bed with clean (or so they say) linens and a towel. And the bed was comfortable, even if it was in a bunk. It was also right under Pike's Market, and pretty central to everything.

I was greeted with the most beautiful weather, and counted my blessings as I had heard that up until that week, it had been raining nonstop. It was cold, but the skies were clear and the sun was up. We walked around for quite a while, ran into other folks from the group, and eventually headed down to a bookstore in the same area where I had partied for Cinco de Mayo. My theme for the weekend started there, that I always seemed to be hungry. I am sure I caused many eyerolls with my apparently insatiable appetite.

I should point out that this is really the first time I have traveled with much of a group. I did go to Ireland with my family in 2000, but beyond that, my travel has been solo. Luckily, I was with a group of other independent travelers, and I think this common thread helped us all get along well, even when we got frustrated with trying to get everyone together.

The big shindig was Saturday night, and it was a fun time. We all converged on a restaurant for grub and drinks. When that got a little too quiet for us, we headed across the street for a fun looking Irish pub. But this place wasn't having any of our kind, and basically told us to get lost (even though there were maybe 5 other people in the place). Undetered, we headed down the street to another bar, which was where the action was! There was karaoke in the front of the bar, jukebox random music in the back near the pool tables, more karaoke upstairs (in perhaps a private room) and other music in another part of the upstairs area. It was a nuthouse.

After consuming a few drinks there (and for me, staring at the TV at speedskater Chad Hedrick), we headed to a mellower place. I am not sure if that bar knew what hit them. Thankfully, we were the only ones there, and we were noisy and drunk. It was great fun. The phone calls to our friends back east, also having a party, began, and there was much taking of someone's phone, yelling into it, and passing it to someone else. I think the staff at the bar may have gotten a little fed up, and we just wanted to dance and party. So we left.

Back over to the first bar we went, and decided to karaoke. As we were waiting, someone looked outside and noticed the police, a cab and a very drunk young man. Turns out, he wasn't sure where he lived, and the police had to come take him out of the cab and try to sober him up. This guy couldn't string two words together, and the police couldn't contain their laughter. They went through the guy's cell phone and found his wife's number...I bet she was happy to get that call! As they waited for her to come (I am not sure where she lived...but she took forever to get there), the guy kept mumbling and the officers kept giggling. As did we. We ended up talking to the officers for a while, and they told me things are a little mellower in Seattle.

We never did karaoke.

Sunday was a recovery day. A local friend drove us around Seattle, trying desperately to get us to say where we wanted to go, with us not caring whatsoever. We finally settled on a cupcake place with Ben & Jerry's next door. Perfect.

As we stepped outside very early Monday morning to leave, I was a little sad to go back to work and stop having fun. Our room had been a little like sleep away camp, but with older kids and alcohol. It was fun to hang out and bond with people I didn't know so well, but had a great time with. I didn't want to head back to the reality of life, but, so it goes.

I think Seattle was a little sad as we were leaving, too, because as we stepped out to get into the cab, the clouds were crying a bit.

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