I still refuse to acknowledge that I’ve moved away from Austin. I think deep down I know one day I will be back. I’ve been telling Austin and I are just taking a break, a la Rachel and Ross on Friends. If I had to move anywhere though I am at least glad it’s Seattle. Music is an important part of that decision. Obviously I could’ve moved to New York or Los Angeles but I don’t really want to live in neither of those cities. And you can just shut up about the rain and suicide thing right now. It’s not really rain in Seattle… it like, mists. Like at the produce aisle. Also, the city w/ the highest suicide rate is actually Las Vegas.
Moving has been absolutely crazy. I was up until 5am the night/morning before departure packing and I even skipped my last golf lesson (the only pre-MBA preparation I did). I actually left my Seattle key on a different key chain… so stupid. I also forgot my phone and laptop charger somewhere. We left 2 hours later than originally scheduled. Between the time I left my house in Austin and the time I get to my new apt in Seattle 180 hours had passed. In between we stopped at:
1. McDonald Observatory in West Texas for the Star Party. I had taken a Freshman Seminar 9 years ago called Galileo Scandal under the Astronomy Department and they had mentioned about the place. Technically it’s UT campus, so if you’re hard core A&M fan or goes to that other school north of the Red River you might want to reconsider visiting. Without the light pollution the stars almost look unreal. The way they are up in the sky almost looks like someone projected them up there. It was also very educational.
2. White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. Our GPS accidentally directed us to this military base at first. After some questioning from the officer on duty, he decided to let us on base and cut through instead of going all the way back to El Paso and take a different highway. He made me pop my hood, checked if there were drugs in between the car panels and the whole enchilada. When we got to White Sands we didn’t stop by the visitor center, where we probably could’ve rented or purchased a sled, instead we just paid and went straight in. Fortunately I decided to bring my snowboard up to Seattle so we just took that out and gone down the dunes on that instead.
3. Tucson for a quick Sonoran dog. I still don’t if this is just a Hispanic thing or what’s going on because my Tucson friends never mentioned anything about it when I visited before and when I asked again this time around they still are not quite sure what I’m talking about. Basically it’s like your regular hot dog except they put beans on it and some other toppings. It wasn’t that special…
4. Since my friend Vivek, who’s driving up w/ me, has not seen SoCal before and it’s been ages since I seen Vicki we decided to stop in San Diego. We went to Lucha Libre for lunch. They put fries in the burrito I ordered instead of rice, which had no taste… it was just filler. I would’ve preferred having rice. The whole place is decked out in Mexican wrestling trinkets. There’s a microphone like the one they lower down into the ring for the announcer when they call for you to pick up your food. Giant gold championship belt. Warhol style luchador painting. You name it.
I went to Sea World when I was a kid, but I didn’t go to the zoo. At least I don’t remember going. Not only are there’s no ligres and trouser snakes, the panda and elephant sections were also pretty boring. Pandas and elephants are my two favorite animals. If only there’s a way I can mate the two of them. I remember visiting the zoo in Washington DC and their panda section was awesome, filled w/ facts about panda, how they breed them there in DC, stories about where each of the pandas came from. There’s a lot of breadth at the San Diego zoo in regards to the variety of animals they have, but really not much depth.
By the way, La Jolla is pronounced “la hoya” not “la jola”…
5. I didn’t even want to stop in LA other than get a bowl of ramen for lunch, but for Vivek’s benefit we stopped. Coincidentally, one of my favorite volleyball players from college days was playing in the Manhattan Beach Open, the Wimbledon of beach volleyball. I said hi to her before the match and actually got to chatting w/ her mother. I learned that Michelle was supposed to play in Virginia Beach that weekend but because of Hurricane Irene she played in LA instead. Works out well for me!
We did the standard touristy stuff for Vivek, like Getty Center and Santa Monica Pier before driving through Beverly Hills to meet up w/ my good friend’s sister who just moved out here 3 months ago. We took the subway downtown to Little Tokyo for Daikokuya ramen… supposedly the best in LA. I had my doubts about the public transit in LA. It wasn’t completely terrible. There are people riding the subway, but the trains looked like they were on loan from 80’s NYC sometimes and they come way infrequently…
6. You’d have to ask Vivek how Big Sur was b/c I was really tired and hardly remember anything… we drove through the night to get to Big Sur by morning. At 5, 6am I switched over to let Vivek drive and slept. I remember waking up to really heavy fog, walking around a trail amongst the redwoods, and Pfeifer Beach.
7. Part of the reason we wanted to make Big Sur by morning is so we can get into San Francisco in time to go see Ian Axel play at Hotel Utah. I had met Ian couple of years back through a friend. Ian’s got a little Elton John and Ben Folds to him. He’s touring w/ couple of other musicians and unfortunately going the opposite direction we are, otherwise I would’ve come support them in Seattle and at Hotel Cafe in LA.
8. Redwood National Park was gorgeous. I wish we had the time and cargo space to go camping for a bit. The fog makes it mysterious and the early morning peeks through between the trees. This is technically the third national park we’ve been to on this trip and I’ve got to say I’m really impressed w/ the content and organization they have on the website and also at the visitor centers. They make the visit much more enjoyable. You won’t hear me praising about government entities much so this is really something else.
9. Technically we could’ve drove straight through Portland but I wanted to try some of their food carts (they don’t call it food trailers out here) and also Voodoo Donuts. Portland almost puts Austin to shame. Restaurants will list exactly where each ingredient came from, down to the plot of land and longitude/latitude. Maybe I’ve just gotten used to Austin now but I’ve never really consider it to be weird. Portland was weird. Not weirder than Austin. Just different kind of weird. Perhaps this is how people feel when they visit Austin.
It took me almost 2 full days to fully unpack and set up my bed and desk. After multiple trips to places like Bed Bath and Beyond, IKEA, Home Depot I’ve finally got my room up and running fully functional now! Sometimes, the little things still reminds me the pain of leaving Austin, like reprogramming my radio… goodbye KGRS, hello KEXP. Or every time I fill out my address I still instinctively type my Austin address first, only to realize seconds later that I no longer live there.