Last week, we headed off to the wondrous city of Seattle, where the air smells like a city and the buses run on petrol. We took a wild adventure on the Greyhound bus to get up there.
Travel Tip: Don’t ride the Greyhound unless you’re either homeless or have nowhere you want to be anywhere soon.
Thankfully for the both of us, we had a traveling companion with us (I had her and she had me, if you’ve read our previous posts). If we hadn’t had that, I guarantee this story would have involved a rental car or a plane flight from Nowheresville, Central California or something you’d read on the news soon.
Pro Tip: Don’t sit next to creepy people on the bus.
Though about 80% of the others we saw on the bus looked like decent hardish-working Americans, a few haggardly raggedy stragglers were partaking the trip upwards with us. Most of them kept to themselves except one. We’ll call him Fart.
Fart smelled worse than the onboard bathroom and had a fun habit of listening to himself ramble about nothing in particular. He successfully violated the only three rules the bus had (1800’s Baptist Standards: no smoking, drinking or loudness) and I’m sure that everyone else there was having a blast hearing him talk about “those dumb faggots who won’t let me smoke”.
The good news is that Fart got kicked off the bus in Redding. I’m not sure where, though. I lost track when our bus driver got lost. (I’ve named her Helga, which I imagine is a common African American name) Along with having more patience than many people have with screaming hobos, Helga apparently hasn’t learned how to operate the GPS. I guess it’s today’s version of not programming the VCR or something.
Anyway, we get into Portland a tad late from Helga failing the trace-the-line part of her preschool years, but the good news was that we got a chance to explore the city! We showed up at 11 a.m., and that 2-hour drive from one side of Redding and back meant that we missed our transfer and had to wait until 5:30 p.m.
Travel Tip: If you ask nicely, most customer service workers will treat you with the same level of apathy.
Portland is a funny place. It’s not as bad as Portlandia, but it might be because we weren’t near the Brain-Suck Districts. Though there was the wayward kook, most of the people there looked like tourists. I have a funny suspicion it’s because they were.
Pro Tip: Tourist stores are greedy. If you want to walk away with a shred of dignity, make a list and buy the stuff online.
After a three-hour tour with less coconuts than I was expecting, we got back on the bus, and the rest of the trip was uneventful outside of Fart somehow making his way back on with us and him getting kicked off in Olympia.
Travel Tip: Whenever things go wrong, remember that you could be in the same situation, but with diarrhea.
We made our way to Seattle, and got a ride back to the lodging house by the AirBNB folks. It wasn’t much, but it was quaint enough and close enough to the city, and gave us opportunity to do honeymoon things like chess and watch TV and talk about the weather.
Pro Tip: When using AirBNB, remember that the lowest price is probably that way for a reason.
Outside of the strange codependent family that rode us in, there was a cute family who was sharing our room. It was a mommy and daddy longlegs, and there were a few kids hanging around. Later during the stay we noticed the daddy longlegs left, so we imagine he put on a little tie and took a little briefcase off on a spider business trip to put more flies on his family’s web.
Cooking Tip: Some countries eat ants, be open-minded.
So we got a chance to see all of the most important tourist traps of Seattle. We saw:
- The Space Needle, the longest-running tourist trap in the city and the hub of Seattle’s Fleecing Center
- The Monorail, the 1962-era awesomest thing ever
- The Underground Tour, a very worthwhile tour formerly meant for just the locals to talk about the weirdness of the city’s founding
- The Seattle Aquarium, a modest collection of large fishbowls
- The Chihuly Garden & Glass, an amazing and tasteful exhibition of a truly gifted artist
- Pike’s Place Market, the longest continuously running market in the USA (depending how you define that)
Along with that, we also spent unreasonable amounts of money on a harbor cruise, a fancy ferris wheel and some amazing coffee.
Boat Tip: If they serve drinks, it’s a cruise even if it’s 45 minutes.
In all of this, we experienced the true city life by not getting a rental car. For those of you reading, this may be odd for me to bring up, but in Southern California only the poorest and most college-attending don’t have a car. A lack of a car around here guarantees you’ve got great-looking legs.
Travel Tip: When you’re fat and out of shape, good shoes can’t save you from the pain of long walks.
After our excursions across a city named after a long-dead tribe, we made the excursion back home. If I could have done it any differently, I’d have not taken Greyhound back.
Pro Tip: Two times doing something dumb is twice, not half, as dumb.
Apparently Olympia is cursed, because we were stuck there for 4 hours waiting for…something. The bus driver told us that there was a big rig that had driven under a bridge it didn’t have clearance for and broke off a part of it that hit a car and therefore caused the entire highway to be blocked off. Also apparently, nobody on the internet or any major news outlets heard about this! Apparently the Greyhound bus service has insider information everyone else doesn’t! Google should really talk to them about that!
Business Tip: Sometimes people lie, except organizations, which never lie and never do anything wrong.
When we got off at Portland, we were given reissued tickets for the delay. The tickets said that we were billed for a reissue, but my bank statements don’t reflect that. They must have paid it for us!
Business Tip: Organizations are not prone to money laundering, but when they do it’s best to not ask questions if you like your legs.
After getting on at Portland, we were able to make our way back to Riverside in time to sleep, which gave us enough energy to get to church to give the last of our wedding invites to people.
Family Tip: Traveling is a rigorous and frustrating experience, and is best left to the professionals.
The fact is, no amount of sharing here can capture the magic of our shared discovery of some very sobering realities. We both realized that our shared upbringing leaves us confused about the proper way to be a tourist, but we don’t particularly want to have any in-depth part of it. If we want an escape, a good hike or a good movie or a good video game will do that. A $2500 escape is not a cost-effective way to do it when a $100 weekend trip will suffice.
Now that that’s done, we are off to planning our wedding!