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Published: September 14th 2013
Melissa & Katha
... on the Ferris wheel in Seattle.
It took me a while to finally write this post because the weeks after the World Congress on Positive Psychology in Los Angeles
were just so busy. But finally I found some time to write a few words on what happened afterwards. You might recall that I flew to Seattle right after the Congress to spend a few days with my friend Melissa.
She came to pick me up from the airport on Sunday evening with her partner Kevin. It was so good to see her. Melissa and I had met last year during my retreat in Plum Village, France
and became good friends within only one week. We were not only born on the same day, but we have a lot more in common.
I stayed with Melissa and Kevin for five days and we took things slowly, slept in every day and took a lot of time for talking and reading while having coffee and breakfast. Melissa introduced me to the Tao Te Ching
, a classic Chinese text written by Lao Tzu. Very inspiring, I got my own copy of it when I got back home.
The weather was wonderful and we walked around a lot. Melissa lives in Bothell, a suburb that is about half an hour outside the
Seattle skyline I
The Space Needle.
city centre, but it feels almost like being in a little town somewhere in a rural area. There are so many green areas, so much water all around, and there is even a farm with cows out in paddocks on the way from Bothell into Seattle. It is nice and quiet there. Melissa took me for a long walk around the area, through the shopping street, across an old cemetery, past some buildings of the University of Washington, and up a hill from where we had a beautiful view of all the mountains that are not far from the city. Seattle is truly surrounded by nature!
I had not known much about this city in the Pacific Northwest of the US. Seattle is situated between Lake Washington and the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. That’s why there is so much water. It only has a little over 600,000 inhabitants, but there is a lot going on in this city. For example, I now understand why the coffee at Starbuck’s is called “Pike Place Roast”. It’s because the first Starbuck’s coffee shop was in Seattle, and guess where? At Pike Place! Furthermore, there are a lot of
Seattle skyline II
Around Pike Place.
businesses there. Only to name the few best-known companies: Microsoft and Boeing. But there is also Amazon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Nintendo, and so on. Of course most of you will know that Seattle is also considered the home of grunge music. The band Nirvana was from there, but also Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam.
Compared to busy and overcrowded Los Angeles, I found Seattle pretty laid back. I had the feeling that things were not going as fast as in LA, and that there was a more peaceful atmosphere. The area around Pike Place is really nice, with its waterfront facing the Puget Sound, lots of cafés and restaurants, the Pike Place Market where you can get delicatessen and other fancy stuff, the Ferris wheel. The latter is expensive, but offers a beautiful view of the city skyline, Puget Sound, the island on its other side, and of course of the Space Needle, probably Seattle’s most famous landmark that was built in 1962 for the World Exhibition.
Melissa and I spent an afternoon exploring downtown Seattle and the Pike Place Market, walking up and down the waterfront, and riding on the Ferris wheel. And then something very
The Ferris wheel
... on the shore of Puget Sound.
awkward happened to us. A homeless man walked up to us, addressing us with the words: “You look like two Barbie dolls…” (nobody ever called me a Barbie doll before, and I am not sure whether I was supposed to take this as a compliment or not…) and then asking us for money. We did not want to pull our wallets out, said no and tried to walk past. He kept begging and when we did not stop, he started crying. We could hear him cry for quite some time while walking on. What a strange experience, never seen a beggar burst into tears in front of me!
Melissa and I spent the evening in a bar where there was a band playing. The singer and guitar player was certainly considering himself the most attractive guy on the planet, with his long curly hair waving in the wind created by a fan on stage. There were lots of weird people in that bar: one of the band leader’s disciples who waited for Melissa to go to the bathroom before he dared talk to me, while a woman followed Melissa to the ladies’ room because she found her so fascinating.
... view from the Ferris wheel across the city to the mountain.
Not many people on the dance floor, but those who were there had kind of weird styles of dancing. Weirdness continued when we were sitting on the bus back home. There were two guys sitting on the bus talking shop about marihuana. We even got involved in the discussion. Not that we had much to say on the topic, but one of the guys apparently enjoyed telling us more about it.
The next day was a bit more laid-back again. Melissa took me to Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle on the other side of Lake Washington. It is quite a fancy suburb with a beautiful waterfront. We just enjoyed being there, walking around, and sitting in the sun.
And then I got to experience Independence Day in the US! Melissa and I watched the Parade in Bothell that took place around noon. Already a few days in advance, people had put up their chairs on both sides of the road so that they would be able to sit while watching. And there were a lot of spectators! Let alone the parade itself. I think every club and business in the whole suburb was participating in it. It took
Old election posters
... found in the Pike Place Market in a shop that was selling old posters ONLY.
almost two hours, and this was only the parade in a suburb of Seattle! People had dressed up and decorated cars in very creative ways. There were people of all ages, some doing little performances, others shooting at the spectators with water pistols, all of them smiling and all happy. Interesting experience. In the evening, one of Melissa’s friends had invited us for dinner to her place and we got to enjoy the fireworks there. Very impressive show!
The next day, it was time for me to leave. Melissa and Kevin took me to the airport again, and I flew home. Thank you, you two, for a wonderful and inspiring time with you, hope to see you again soon!
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