Published: May 4th 2005April 29th 2005
Hope everyone is well! Well, we finally crashed on our Seattle hotel bed at 11pm after a 30
hour flight including short stopovers. We can't complain too much as there weren't too many delays, and the Pacific crossover wasn't as painful as feared. We certainly caught up with a number of recent movies missed due to all the planning for the wedding and holiday!! Though you can only handle so much in that time frame. You would have been in your element Michelle!
The long haul flight got off to a bad start with our Jumbo having to divert from Melbourne to Sydney for refueling (due to upgrades to the runway and building of new terminal). Besides the added flight time, we had to disembark and undergo a second more rigorous security check at the Sydney airport (?US request I suggest). Both Moira and I were randomly selected at different times for swabbing to test for explosives. This included checking our shoes. Looked like an MS analyser. Grant would be impressed! It was fairly painless and we moved thru fairly quickly. However we had to wait another one and a half hours before we could board. Security staff were swarming
all over the plane during this time. They were certainly thorough.
We were served a 3 course Lunch over Narau (or close by at least) which included a Magnum icecream for desert. Magnifico!!!
We were then served breakfast at Midnight (AEST).Bizarre. Moira didn't touch much of hers but I devoured mine. I found sleep to be impossible (a snooze or two that was it).
We sighted L.A. at about 0830, caught sight of peak hour traffic or is it always peakhour there? Bumped into Lee Trollope from Abbott (same flight as ours)at the immigration/customs desks. He was about to attend a conference near San Francisco I think. It had to do with feedback regards their haematology instrumentation. Hopefully its more positive than the feedback we would report on the Axsym! Its certainly a small world. Got thru security without dramas and without the feared strip search. Had to wait 4 hours before flying off across the desert to Dallas airport, this time in business class (got some kip this time). Things really are bigger
in Texas. We had to take a train from our landing gate to our departure gate. It's a big airport!! As we landed I
looked behind the aircraft from my window seat and counted six aircraft approaching, preparing to land. Apparently the airport is in the process of getting bigger as they are building a new international terminal as well as a new runway for the monster A380's when they come into play next year. We finally got stuck at the back of a S80 aircraft for our Seattle flight, right next to one of the rear engines (thankfully I had ear plugs made before the trip). I think Moira's hearing has deteriorated since that event. We'll be the odd couple!
Impressions of Seattle? Well we can only comment on the North and CBD as we didn't have time to check out outlying areas such as Redmond, Lake Washington and some other attractive looking areas. We spent three nights only here, changing over hotels for one night. It didn't make any difference, we couldn't count on getting sleep anywhere. The first night I slept OK, but the following night our neighbours kept us up by chatting (very loudly) all night. I guess they may have jumped a few time zones like us. The following night I couldn't sleep as it was too warm
and the air-con buzzes like a chainsaw as soon as you turn it on!
The weather was great the first two days, mild around 23C and we enjoyed checking out the market at the pier. There were stalls with lots of colour with fresh flowers including different flavours of tulips. The fish mongers offered a huge range of delicacies and we bought a lot of good fruit from the green grocer. It was very pleasant taking a break, sitting down for lunch looking over Puget Sound checking out the numerous Chinese freighters bringing in their cheap goods. Observing the growing US trade deficit first hand. We bought a city pass which allowed us to check out the zoo, aquarium, science centre, seattle space needle, cruise on pugent sound and the air museum all for around $40. The zoo was great. I know alot of people cringe at the thought of seeing caged animal. This zoo however is about 100 acres and they are not caged so much. We were seperated from them by perspex enclosed viewing areas. So you only got to see the animals if they happened to be up close. The hippos fascinated me. One stupid american women walked up to me and said "are they rhinosaurous?". I just looked at her and the only advice I offered was that she not allow her 2 year old child to climb through the barrier as hippos have been now to devoure small children in one bite. She thought I was joking and so we quickly moved away so as to not be witnesses to sucha tragic event.
The highlight of Seattle for Craig would haveto be the worlds best piano shop - Bossendorfers everywhere. For those not in the know these are rather elite, expensive and very nice sounding pianos. If inteseted you could pick up a small one for around $50,000 US. We got a business card - yeah right!!!
We also spent an hour or so at a glass blowing workshop. Fascinating stuff. It's no wonder they charge so much for the stuff - it takes 3 or 4 people to make one large piece like a plate or bowl.
The bus ride from Seattle to Vanc was very long. The delay at the US border very tedious. A couple in the line ahead of us did not have a Visa to enter Canada. Fortunately they were able to "purchase" one for a small fee of $200. Honestly, security is a joke and it is really only to make them all feel better, not secure.
Well this will rap up our first chapter in the journal. Craig will probably come along and edit this a little - I have apparently been too brief. He will also add some photos. I will catch you in the next edition from Vancouver. Moira