Friday, July 07, 2006

The Seattle Report

My apologies for the posting delay. I got back from Seattle on Wednesday, but have been tired and busy since then! But now it’s Friday afternoon, and I feel like I’ve done enough work today to warrant a little posting.

Scott and I took off bright and early on Thursday morning and had nice, uneventful flights. We picked up our rental car and headed north to the University of Washington where I met with two members of the Information School. I’m thinking of getting a Master’s of Information Science, and UW’s program is young but supposedly very good. A pleasant, helpful visit all around! I’m not convinced I want to get an MSI, and this helped clarify the pros and cons for me.
Scott and I took in the UW art gallery, which had a great Maya Lin show. It was all about landscapes, which was particularly relevant and exciting, because the entire plane ride from St. Louis to Seattle, I was peering out the window and admiring everything below. Very different from the DC-to-MN flight, much drier and rougher.
Note to Dad – Maya Lin has been commissioned to do a piece along the Columbia River to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition. It’s beautiful, and reminded me of your trip down that river.
From the University, Scott and I headed south and spent some time wandering around downtown Seattle. We started at Pike Place Market, went down to Pioneer Square, and back again before we got hungry. We ate at The Islander because the first thing listed on their menu was a Pu Pu Platter. On the flight out, I was working on a crossword puzzle. One of the answers was “pu pu platter”, which prompted me to wonder what a pu pu platter really is. Scott was as clueless as I, so we decided to search out Seattle’s finest Polynesian establishment in order to quench our thirst for knowledge. We actually stumbled onto The Islander rather than sought it out, but we quenched our physical thirst with crazy cocktails (a Pain Killer and a Dark & Stormy) in addition to our academic thirst.
Not quite ready to call it a night, we stopped for coffee and a slice of Marion Berry pie. We were sure it was a pun on DC’s illustrious ex-mayor, but in fact there really is such a thing as a marion berry. It’s tasty!

Friday morning saw us an Irish pub with 8 of our teammates watching the Germany/Argentina World Cup game. It went into overtime, and Scott and I left before it was over to go to the Pacific Science Center. I thoroughly enjoyed the 3-D Imax movie featuring narration by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, music by Danny Elfman, and tons of really crazy deep sea creatures. Can’t remember the last time I watched a 3-D movie… it’s so much fun!
We met up with my friend Paul and took in the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Lovely! Scott and I wandered through Chinatown before heading home for the night. (Our team got to stay at a friend’s enormous house, which makes hanging out and cleaning up so much easier than hoteling or camping.)

The tournament was on Saturday and Sunday. We played 4 games each day, and won 2 per day. Couldn’t ask for nicer weather or nicer teammates. We were largely a BRDM team, with some DC and Canadian pickups. The neat thing about Potlatch is that the games and gifts at the end of each game are as important as the game itself. We sang songs, did shots, played games, and traded MVP/spirit/misc awards. The “102 Damn Asians” team gave us a dog dish full of “puppy chow”, and the fiesta team (who’s name escapes me) gave us a pitcher of margaritas. Our drink gift was Dickel and Pickle – whisky and pickle juice – which is not as bad as you’d think. I actually kind of like it.
Anyways, the tournament was great. I love my sport and the people who play it. Many thanks to my teammates and to my opponents for giving me the opportunity to play! Also, a HUGE thanks to Paul for captaining this team. It takes an enormous amount of energy to coordinate a trip across the country, and an enormous amount of energy to manage them on the field. He performed beautifully.

Monday started off with a team pancake breakfast, and people started to part ways. Scott and I, along with Nate, Jess and Caryn, headed south towards Mt. Rainier for some camping. We spent Monday afternoon at a mosquito-infested campsite. Fortunately, it was on a pretty little alpine lake. The scenery, and being able to jump into just-melted water, made up for the bugs. We hiked (bushwhacked) up to a ridge that evening. It’s one of those experiences where I know I was miserable at the time, but now the thing I remember most the amazing view of Mt. Rainier when we got to the top… and the relief we felt when we discovered that we could take a road back down to the campsite.
One more swim, a campfire, quesadillas and big bottle of cheap wine, and then we were off to bed.

Tuesday started off with a swim (a much colder swim than the previous night!), and then we drove down to the Carbon River Glacier. We hiked 3.5 miles on a pretty trail (no bushwacking!), ate lunch overlooking a glacier, and headed back. We dropped off our 3 companions, got dinner (Mongolian!), and went to the airport. I’ve never slept so well on planes/airport floors in my life!

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