Well, boys and girls, I just got back from Seattle, and I figured that it was an interesting enough trip to merit an update. I'll post pictures on Facebook as soon as Rob gets around to sending them to me (I forgot to bring my camera), but for now you will just have to make do with your own mental pictures.
I had an afternoon flight to Seattle, which seemed longer than I expected. I think it was 5 hours of flying time total, which is about the same as going to NYC, so I'm not sure why it felt like so long, but it did. In any case, I read a good bit of my book (The Sparrow, which I borrowed from Caitlin ages ago, we shall have to discuss it in depth soon, Caitlin and Anna) and listened to the entire Rent soundtrack on my iPod (and I'm no longer sure why I thought it was so great when I wa sin high school, most of the songs now sound pretty awful to me). We passed over some beautiful mountain ranges on the way, and the view of Mount Rainier when flying into Seattle is absolutely breathtaking. Rob picked me up at the airport and we drove to Redmond/Bellevue, which is where his apartment is and where Microsoft is located. It's a pretty impressive area, but a little too suburby for my tastes. The rest of the night was general hanging out kinda stuff.
Rob and I went to lunch in the cafeteria located nearest the building he works in, and I determined that working for Microsoft is essentially extending the college experience. The cafeteria looks very much like an on-capus eating place (mostly like a big Cafe 212) and everyone is wearing jeans and t-shirts (absolutely no business attire to be seen), and Rob even told me that you can put money on your Microsoft ID card to use like Flex or Dining Dollars. It was basically geek central, and that made me very happy for Rob. Microsoft employees also apparently get all the free soda they could ever want, which I found funny. Then Rob snuck me into his building and I got to see his workspace, which, because it was Rob's was completely devoid of personality (not even a picture of me!) Then we went to the Microsoft Visitor Center, which is like a tiny Microsoft museum and where you can play with "cutting edge technology." I found it fun, but mostlybecause Rob was so very unimpressed by all of the technology we were supposed to be impressed by. Then we went to the Company Store, which has all sorts of incredibly discounted Microsoft stuff that only employees can buy. Rob got me a t-shirt that says "Microsoft." I will wear it proudly. Then we had substandard Chinese food with some of Rob's friends and another night of hanging out.
So on Saturday we finally got to go to Seattle itself. My impression of the city is that it's a lot like New England, but with more hippies and the crazy homeless people were actually up to NYC standards. Seattle definitely doesn't live up to how I feel about New York, but I think I could be happy living there for at least a little while. We went to Pike Place Market first, which I LOVED. It's like the French Market, but more organized and superior merchandise. Lots of people selling fresh seafood, and fruits and veggies, and flowers, and handmade things. We ate there, and I had fish n'chips which I found delicious. In the downstairs area of the market there was even, I kid you not, a Museum of Giant Shoes. I was very impressed by that, but Rob was not. Then we went to the aquarium, because we could see it from the market. I had lots of fun there too. The otters were definitely the best part. I even got socks with otters on them from the gift shop. We also saw the seals being fed, which was pretty awesome. After that we journeyed across town to the Space Needle, and paid more than it's worth to ride to the top. It was a good view, but certainly not worth $14 per person. Now, I would very much like to eat in the restaurant there, which rotates 360 degrees as you eat, but Rob said it was too expensive (I think I will insist on going next time though). The Space Needle is surrounded by all sorts of cool-looking stuff, like a Science Center, and this Music Project thing, and a Science Fiction Museum, but we didn't have time for anyof that so we plan on spending a day there next time. Dinner that night was at the Cheesecake Factory in Bellevue, which was quite enjoyable ( I got totally smashed off of one ultra-strong cosmopolitan).
On Sunday we journeyed back into the city and then to the outskirts and actually went to the beach! I hadn't been to a beach in forever, so I found it very enjoyable. The beach itself was pretty neat because, unlike most beaches, you could see trees and mountains when you looked across the water. We had a picnic and met lots of other Microsoft employees and their significant others. I made friends with a gay guy whose boyfriend was a Microsoft intern, and he and I founded the Microsoft Wives' Club. That night we went back to the Space Needle area and saw Superman Returns in 3D at the Imax. Ok, say what you will, but I really enjoyed the movie. The only thing I wish is that we could have seen a litle bit more of Clark Kent, because I think he's what really makes the character interesting. Rob's not a Superman fan at all, but he admitted that the movie was pretty good (or as good as a Superman movie can be). If you're considering paying the extra to see the movie at an Imax, my advice is to save your money. The 3D scenes were either lame or distracting, and they also gave me a headache.
Rob had to go to work for a little while on Monday, so I just hung out and read and whatnot. That night we went to a place called, again I kid you not, Celtic Bayou - which serves both Cajun and Irish food. It wasn't as bad as I predicted it would be. I had the red beans and rice, which were decent. Rob and his friends go there every Monday because they have a trivia contest. Rob had told me that I would be helpful at this because they ask a lot of literature questions, so I was all ready to validate my existence. Unfortunately, the vast majority of questions that night centered on either sports or classical music. Oh well, perhaps next time.
All I did Tuesday was fly home. Amusingly, my flight from Seattle to Houston was flight number 1776. Get it? My flight from Houston to Lafayette was supposed to get in at 8:30 but ended up arriving right around midnight, so I became very familiar with the Houston airport. And that's all.
Well, I hope this journal didn't bore anyone too much. I considered this a pretty important trip. See, if Rob does well as an intern, he has a really good chance of getting a full-time job there after he graduates, and I know that would be an amazing opportunity for him. And I'm in love with New York City, but there are no comparable opportunities for me there. Everywhere needs teachers. So this trip was very much like a test drive for me, I had to constantly ask myself if I could be happy there are on more permanent basis. I think I could, especially if we could live in Seattle instead of the suburbs. It's certainly no NYC, but it is a super-nice place, and I'd be willing to make the sacrifice to give Rob the chance to live his dream.