Saturday, May 21, 2011

Seattle, May 21, 2011

I’ve been buzzing around the US since March 21, while Tom has been slogging away at the boat in Phuket,Thailand. It’s been a hard, long haul. Meanwhile, he immersed himself in the full Thai cultural experience, as shown from these pictures with his lady friends from his birthday party aboard the freshened Rasa Manis. After a record time abroad of fourteen months and 36 hours of travel, he arrived May 16 in Seattle, very tired.
To recap the last two months in Thailand: At the end of March, heavy rains stopped all work on the boat for 10 days. April was a scramble - the painters and varnishers had to finish while Tom and his helper cleaned and reinstalled every movable part on the boat, which had been stripped pretty much bare in January. On April 30, he moved back aboard. Racing against time because the channel to the sea is only navigable for a few days each month at very high tides, he left Phuket’s Boat Lagoon Marina a week later, enjoyed a few idyllic days on the hook, checked out of Thailand and sailed 120 miles overnight to Rebak Marina in Langkawi, Malaysia. With less onerous regulations, cheaper rates, and a pristine setting, it’s a good place to keep the boat.
For me, it’s been a slow reintroduction from the steamy sunbaked shores of Thailand to temperate climates. I spent three weeks in Bradenton, Florida where, in perfect weather, I helped my mother move from her condo by the beach into her boyfriend’s condo by the bay. We celebrated Amy’s completion of law school, and joined Eve for the Atlanta wedding of a longtime friend of the family.
With dogwoods and azaleas in full bloom, Atlanta was lovely. I’m not sure if the best memory was the breakfasts at The Flying Biscuit Company, the wedding by the gorilla enclosure at the zoo, or the bachelorette party, which ended in a smoky basement bar. One attendant was a twenty something lap dancer who lit her nipples on fire. Another was a sixty something lady in a torn fishnet body suit who was said to crush aluminum beer cans between her breasts.
My US tour continued on to Berkeley, CA to celebrate Eve’s birthday live and in person. We ate more wonderful meals, and wandered up and down the Cal campus where she is studying for her MBA.
And then it was “homeless in Seattle”. My first stop was the box of warm clothes in the storage unit - sweaters, fleece, jeans, boots, jackets, wool socks. Not many because I’m living out of a suitcase, first staying with my friends Anne and Roger and then a month house and dog sitting on Puget Sound, watching the yachts, tugboats, tourboats and barges round the corner into the Ballard Locks. After that, ten more days hosted by friends up in the San Juan Islands. Starting June 1, a short term fully furnished rental apartment.
I feel a bit like a visitor from outer space, seeing this megalopolis with new eyes. The traffic, the consumerism, the smart phone culture, the cold and cloudy weather. Spring has not sprung – it’s in a state of frozen suspension. Quite a change from SE Asia.