Being There

dimanche, le huit juin, le 1er jour du voyage 

(By the way, I do not pretend to have a good memory, and some of the things I detail as I talk about my trip will probably not be entirely accurate. However, you can be sure that I won't be making anything up to make my tale more exciting. This is straight memoir- enjoy.) 

If you remember this post, you may have been struck by me saying that "I have just learned that it is Sunday morning and that I am leaving to France, so I am unable to complete this right now." I did not have the time to explain myself then, but now I will. Saturday evening, I had fallen asleep at around 7, intending my rest to be a little nap before staying up all night until I was to leave. When I awoke, it was around 7:15 and I was struck by how short I had been asleep. This made me glad though, because I now had a ton of time to be on the computer, watch Saturday Night Live and other things. I turned on the TV, but it was very strange because there was nothing of interest on. Even PBS seemed like it wasn't playing its usual programming. Why couldn't I find any news on at 7:30 in the evening? I went downstairs and got on the computer. By this time, it seemed that it was getting lighter outside, and so a very strange idea began forming in my head. I began to think that maybe, just maybe... "Is it Sunday morning?" I asked Kris over MSN. "Yes," was approximately how he responded. Crap.

I then got a call from my cousin Alexa asking me whether I was ready to go. Fortunately, I had been packed for more than a day and I was in fact ready to go. Just to make sure, I asked her "Is it really Sunday morning? I thought it was still evening... I was going to watch SNL..." Obviously, it was indeed Sunday morning. I quickly dealt with my Diplomacy and Particracy accounts, changing my passwords and giving my sitters the correct information to take care of those important sites of mine. I then got dressed into my travel clothes (I probably took a shower too, but my memory is being tested here) and was totally ready to go by the time my aunt, uncle and cousin picked me up.

Ah... how little we knew of what there would be to smile about in the next two weeks.

All four of us got on the ferry along with everyone else in the group besides my mother, and Bekah's family and Grant's mom came along as well. My uncle paid my ferry cost and our whole caravan went up to the airport to say our goodbyes. We had a lot of time to spare, so we hung around on the main floor for quite a while after getting our tickets. Then at last everyone said goodbye and we went up the stairs. Once past security, the main things I remember were that Grant got an ungodly amount of nachos, and Niles gave me a pair of sunglasses that I would have for the rest of the trip. Then we boarded, and it was off to Seattle. Down at the base of SeaTac, we waited quite a while for the bus that would take us to our hotel. During the wait, we chased seagulls, played "I Spy" for all it was worth, and admired the littered and not particularly pleasant environment of concrete and passing buses around us.

After two calls a very long wait, the shuttle finally came and we were able to go to our hotel. The driver obviously wasn't too concerned with our comfort, as he said not a word about our long wait and really didn't say a word to us at all as he chatted over a handless phone while he drove. Back at the baggage claim in SeaTac we had said goodbye to Bekah and Laura, who stayed with Laura's family. It was just us boys with Madame Z, so we only needed two rooms at the hotel. My mom was supposed to be coming, but she hadn't arrived yet. Mme. Z. went off to get the rental car and so Niles, Grant and I sat in our room and watched TV for a while. Then my mom knocked on our door and I went out and hugged her in the hall. Mme. Z. was back as well, and so after a while we went out and got dinner at a Mongolian Barbeque.

The dinner was not very good, despite the fact that I was able to get calamari. The major redeeming feature of the place was that it had peanut sauce. That stuff is so good... you can put it on pretty much anything. Don't limit it to just Thai food! Then we boys went and watched Kung Fu Panda while the women went off and shopped or whatever. The movie was actually pretty good, and it made me think about all the Asian spiritual influence that one finds in American culture. Most of it is stuffed into a ton of genre movies, but we never recognize the obvious Daoism and other influences for what they really are. Star Wars, for example, is a story founded on Eastern spiritualism and some aspects of Eastern culture in general, and most people never really get that the "force" is a very oriental religious idea. Maybe that's a good thing that we are so subtly influenced by such things... but I would prefer a more direct route that doesn't bring so much violence along with it. After getting back to the hotel, we watched a lot more TV and then eventually fell asleep. That was the first day of the journey... it was an ok enough start, but truth be told, we hadn't started yet.

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