Here in sunny Seattle…

Today, after spending a mostly sleepless night watching house design and sales shows on cable tv while waiting for sleep to assert its dominance, I arose at 8.30 am. The snooze button went off 3 times as I fought my way through the fog of sleep. It was certainly a battle. But I was up, eating the Hotel’s complimentary cooked breakfast at 9.30 am and off to visit Seattle by 10.30 am. You can even make waffles here! I really wanted to make some, but I’ve never made any, so did not give that a go. I looked at everyone else’s waffles enviously and ate my muffin.

I caught a bus along University Way to downtown Seattle, visiting Pike St Markets and enjoying the ambience of this old, beloved marketplace. Grottier than Vic Market but with less crap clothes, there were fish mongers galore, flower sellers selling huge bunches of beautiful fresh flowers for $10.00, butchers and cake stalls and the ubiquitous soap sellers. A real treat.

Then it was off to the Sci-Fi museum and EMP (experience music project) near the Seattle Sky Needle, via the Monorail!! Every time I think of a Monorail!! I am uncomfortably reminded of that episode of The Simpsons, where a poorly constructed Monorail!! without brakes wreaks havoc on the town until Homer rescues the passengers using a wire and a large donut.  Hence my consistent use of the term Monorail!! in its current nomenclature. It’s the name of the song they wrote for it.

A great afternoon of looking at my favourite Sci-fi images from Star Trek and the Matrix, then another hour or so lapping up the thoughts and sounds from some of the world’s greatest rock artists, including Jimi Hendrix. EMP is worth another trip, and I purposely left some of it untouched so I could visit another day. The outside of the EMP building is a glorious, riotous panoply of colour, oozing metal and folding tablecloths, in red, blue, green, copper coloured metal, and purple metals. It looks like a giant has decided to hold a tipsy tea party and tossed a few tablecloths carelessly over some wonky tables. Truly gorgeous, and mad.

My breakfast kept me going all day, but perhaps this was because I was actually asleep in another part of the world, because a banana mid afternoon kept me going well into dinner time. I stopped a couple of times to go shopping. Oh dear. just when I had thought I was safe from the summer sales (because they were over), I wandered (foolishly) in Nordstrom, an upmarket emporium with all the designer labels. Oops. I just happened to espy a very nice grey Hugo Boss cotton/stretch dress, perfect for the Brisbane summer. It was on sale. I swear!

Then it was back on the bus – I am very proud of myself for navigating without maps the downtown experience – to the University where I took the opportunity to register for the conference tomorrow. Found cheap and cheerful University Way and enjoyed the thought of visiting there in the next few days.

Unfortunately, another student and I were waylaid by an overenthusiastic and overeager and frankly embittered presenter who believes that music is the basis for our brain development and evolution. He then proceeded to tell me and another poor captive audience member all about his slightly kooky but not altogether impossible theories until I had to apologise and take my leave. While interesting, I didn’t need his entire theory laid out in triplicate! Apparently Ellen Dissanayake disagrees with him on his theories.

So I made good my escape and went to Rams again for a steak this time. I have to say, on the basis of one really cheap steak sirloin with salad and chips and a nice pinot noir, that it was possibly the very best and cheapest steak I have ever eaten. I know. Them’s fighting words. But how can I explain the juicy, low fat tenderness of this wonderful beef? And it was tasty, too. Like a good Angus grass fed. So, the US really DO make a great steak.

And I was going to throw some clothes in the washing machines thoughtfully and freely provided to the good patrons of SilverCloud, but too late! she cried. It closed at 9.00pm and I was taking my laundry down at 10. So I grabbed my complimentary tea (available 24 hours a day!) and headed back to my room with the world’s most comfortable bed to write this little epistle and plan my next adventure: leaving this very nice hotel for the vagaries of college accommodation.

Check out here is at 12, so I think I will have time to go to the keynote, then head back to the hotel and pack up in time to move to the next place. Of course, I have to find the time to print out my handouts AND get copies of them for my poster presentation tomorrow, which apparently I need to pin up tomorrow morning. Silly me not to do this earlier. Did I think about this very hard? No. Of course not.


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