Monday, July 4, 2011

Java jive

“Given that there is a coffee shop around every corner out here and that everyone seems hell-bent on imbibing as much caffeine as the body can humanly handle in a 24 hour period, how come they to be so calm?” inquired Mrs. Hall. They watched the other commuters perform a leisurely pas de deux as they drove across town to the Boeing factory. “The drivers are actually driving below the posted speed limit!" Mrs. Hall blinked twice and wondered what sort of parallel universe she had entered. "Pedestrians are crossing blithely at the official crosswalks, oblivious to drivers and trusting they will make it safely to their caffeine-centric destinations.” “It’s true,” Mr. Hall agreed. “They do seem fairly laid back.” She continued, “I watched a group of grey-haired sandal-sporting matrons stride defiantly into the fray, and expected a disaster of unimaginable proportions. Yet, instead of carnage, the cars simultaneously slowed and even waved them on, with nary a trace of malice nor vulgar hand gestures.”
“Perhaps it’s a form of mass pharmacologic treatment; like treating ADHD with the stimulant Ritalin; they use coffee in order to have an opposite sedating effect.” posed Mr. Hall. Mrs. H. just shook her head in amazement and watched in disbelief.
Erick had procured reservations on a tour of the Boeing assembly plant for them. When he informed Mrs. H. that while she was welcome to take (mental) notes along the way, cameras and purses were forbidden, she was a little downcast at the prospect of not being able to document her event. But the tour was so enlightening and impressive, she barely had time to worry about it. Watching the crews assemble the 747-8, the 777's and the 787's in the world's largest factory was a show not to be missed.
After the tour, they walked around the museum alittle. PERC (Passenger Experience Research Center) was conducting trials with new interiors for their jets, and the Halls gleefully participated in one of the trials. The business class jet interiors were everyone's favorites, and one with which Mr. Hall was truly familiar. Though it took a little while to rouse Mr. Hall after he had settled down and was re-acquainting himself with the cockpit of a 727 again, the little band was finally able to move on.
A quick trip back to the apartment to provide a pitstop for Shakespeare, Erick's golden retriever, and they were back on the road again. Passing those downtown classics, the rotating Pink Elephant Super Car Wash neon sign and the neverending stream of tourist filled Duck buses, they finally arrived at the destination Mrs. Hall had been pining for the most: the Space Needle!

Built for the 1962 World's Fair, the Space Needle hovers over Seattle's city center like a fantastic spaceship. The weather could not have been more perfect; the water in the bay sparkled and Mt. Rainer glowed pink as the sun set in the distance. Despite the holiday weekend, the lines were small and for quite some time they endured the gusty breezes at the top of the needle. It would have been fun to stay longer, but after pointing out several wonderful eateries visible from above, it occurred to all that perhaps the bracing air was making them more hungry than they realized. It was the general concensus of all parties concerned that, despite the local coffee's stellar appeal and ability to warm, what was really called for in this situation was a spicy Mexican menu. A half an hour later, they were toasting their good weather fortune (and taking some of the chill off, too!) with some especially tasty margaritas and chips with salsa, at Pesos restaurant. After scarfing down way too many chips and watching the Mariners beat the Padres on the Jumbotron in the bar, the little band wondered home, happy, warmed and sated. Next episode: Wandering the streets. Stay tuned!

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