Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
28Trip End Nov 24, 2006
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So, we had 3 days left on our US visas - so we had one last hurrah in the states last weekend when we took the two-hour drive to Seattle.
I had an itinerary of some cool stuff to see - and we headed down there in our chauffeured Mercedes! Haha! Ping drove his car obviously! So we hit the road and headed south towards the border. The line-up was pretty long once we arrived at the border - we lined up in our car for 1 hour until we reached the front - then we had to go park and go inside the INS to get a green form for our passports. So... once we got to the front of THAT line (another 45 mins) Ping handed over his passport - and the guy asked him why he had this piece of paper in his passport and accused him of not returning it because he was working illegally in the states... basically the interrogation went on for 30 or so minutes - until he'd accounted for every stamp in his passport - was a right pig to him - and then decided to let him in. (I thought I was going to have a heart attack - US customs have this incredible way to make you feel like a criminal) He was civil to Paul and I - and then we were on our way...
So... we arrived at the Space Needle 5 hours after we left Vancouver... 3 hours behind schedule...
Our first stop was to the Experience Music Project - which is the little investment project of the Co-founder of Microsoft and he has basically built a music hall of fame - based around Seattle musicians with particular emphasis on Jimmy Hendrix. It had a guitar gallery - so if you're into guitars - it is very cool - right back from the 1800s, it had handwritten lyrics from Curt Cobain and all sorts of others... Presidents of the USA (the band), soundgarden, Hole... all those Seattle grunge bands. It was quite cool. Basically just memorabilia etc. Then the coolest thing (if you're able to play an instrument) is it has a recording studio - so you get 10 mins in guitar/drums/piano/vocals booths and they cut you a cd of your demo! Soo cool!
We spent time wandering around the very touristy amusement park type area - with markets and sideshows etc... which was actually quite fun!! I picked up where I left off 25 years ago as the champion of skee ball - and got myself quite the collection of stuffed frog toys, and lets face it... you can never have enough of those. And then we went up to the Space Needle and checked out the view, which was cool.
The next day we went to the Pike St Markets and wandered around. I'm not much of a markets person... (and Paul despises them!) it really is the same low budget stuff everywhere... We did see the very famous Pike St Fish dudes throwing around a fish - they're more of a tourist attraction than a fish shop... there was 30 people hanging around with video cameras.. and no-one buying any fish - to throw around! We saw the original starbucks, went down to the waterfront and then had to hit the road. So it was a very quick jaunt down. It's a very pretty city, a lot like Vancouver in a lot of ways.
Funny thing was... they 'accidently' gave us another 3 month visa for the states !! Paul thought he was in the clear...