To Seattle

Monday August 29th

Mum and I borrowed Kate's car today to go to the US for a couple of nights as a side trip before the big day. We'd arranged a B&B in Des Moines just South of Seattle.

We started off heading East then dropped down through the border. Being used to European borders where you barely stop these days (and not at all if driving) it was a shock to see warning signs declaring the wait at the border. Still it was under an hour, supposedly.

We waited paitently eventually gettingt hrough the actual border guard in about an hour only to be told that we then needed to go to an additional station where they took the car keys and sent us to a another building. Here was another queue, there were 5 guards on duty where we apparently we had to fill out border forms but almost as soon as we arrived two of them closed up and went for lunch - great.

Another hour slowly went by before we got to the guard, filled out the form (incorrectly so I had to start again; at least the guard did admit that he wasn't going to subject us to a detailed investigation) and thence to yet another queue, this time we had the privilege of paying $9 for entry to the US.

Someone remind me not to bother ever going back (to the US), there are plenty of other countries to visit.

Memorial totem

Eventually the ordeal was over and a couple of hours later we were driving mindlessly around Seattle looking for parking, $20 for 2 hours, wow a bargin; at least it was only 1 block from the sea.

We walked along the front and came across a totem being carved by the brother of a native whom had been shot dead by the police a year earlier. The dead man, a totem carver, had been carrying a carving knife and a plank of wood when accosted by the police. When he failed to put down the knife they shot him.

After an investigation leading to the resignation of the policeman the city agreed to erect a memorial totem for him. This was due to happen tomorrow and the totem was out for display today.

Seattle seafront

Pikes Place

Seattle is home to Pikes Place, a huge indoor market with a fish shop that features on corporate training videos (which I'd come across a month earlier). We wandered aimlessly around the multi-storey market looking for the shop until some kind soul bade us follow him.

There we watched the salesmen hurl the fish across the stand and yell in unison every time a tip was received - just like the video.

Here catch this


The fruit and veg stalls were a riot of colour, mum bought some figs but I couldn't find a suitable T shirt for the boys. We'd walked quite a way by this time so rested for a while with an ice cream in a small park before heading back to the car and on to Des Moines.


Sat navs are wonderful for getting out of unknown cities through rush hour traffic, I was glad I could borrow Kate's.

The B&B was run by a retired couple overlooking the sound; we had the basement, 2 rooms with a shared bathroom overlooking the sea with giant US king size beds. We were immerdiately invited to join them the family and the neighbours for tea, salmon, but we felt we'd had salmon 2 days running and would be sure to have it again in the near future, what's more we just needed to slump at that point so retired to our rooms for a half hour.







When we had gathered some strength we jumped back in the car and drove the 1/2 mile to the seafront, which turned out to be Redondo though we're not sure if it is THE Redondo.


We walked along the boardwalk watching the sun go down, the boats come in and the lights go on. There were an unusually large number of Koreans out strolling which we later found out was due to a local enclave.

Redondo boardwalk


There was a fish restaurant but neither of was feeling hungry so we headed back.

Mum went to bed but I stayed up talking to the hostess for an hour or so before collapsing.