I am happy to be back in Seattle again, especially being in a different season this year as my previous visits to this lovely place were always in mid-summer.
The charm of autumn is something we don’t see much living in Australia’s cities like Melbourne or Sydney, while every streets in the neighbourhood here adorned with bright hues of red and yellow varieties from so many species of trees and shrubs. A delightful sight!
I am still a little jet lag but managed to get outside for my walk just in time to catch a bit of sunlight before the rain set in for the afternoon. It started to get dark by 4pm but my daughter’s house was warm and cosy inside while the delicious aroma of vegetable soup on the stove filled the atmosphere…
… And blessed that my grandson was happy to have a photo taken with his new scarf that I just finished knitting.
Early Saturday morning checking in with Qantas at Melbourne airport, the ground staff had my wheelchair ready. Although my knee was a lot better after many physiotherapy sessions, I could not face walking at the airport with heavy bags less I should miss a step and would do more damage to it. The wheelchair was a better option and no, my knee was not totally back to normal by any mean and yes, it could stay like that for sometimes according to the therapist.
The Qantas staff who operated the wheelchair was a handsome young man. He might even be younger than my son, but I was very impressed with his politeness and courteous manner. At the X ray security check, the operator demanded that I should take my shoes off while it was okay for me to stay sitting on the wheelchair, even though I was ready to stand up and walk through the X ray portal, but she insisted that was no need, only that I had to take off my cardigan. Well, my young man had to help me pull off my cardigan, unzipped my ankle boots, took them off my feet then wheeled me through the doorway.
I felt a little embarrassed and sorry for the young man even if it was for him just a job like any others, especially when he was patiently getting down on one knee putting my feet back into my boots, gently zipped them up, then wheeled me to the Qantas lounge. Where I sat, almost crying thinking of my husband and remembered all the tender caring attentiveness he had bestowed on me for all the years we had together.
One thing I was so glad about, was that I did not have to walk through the terminal with my heavy cabin bag among an unusual crowded airport on the day, the traffic of humans and their wheeled cases was terrifying.
Boarding the A380 airbus was a long boring process and more so when the plane was full. “Champagne or orange juice?” I just wanted a glass of cold water and was ready to nod off. After a long while, the plane started to move away from the gate, only when it was about a hundred metres away, the engine stopped. For a few long second, suddenly not a sound, everyone stopped talking, a total silence that was quite strange and almost eerie until the captain’s voice announced that the plane lost power and we had to move back to the gate for some adjustment.
At the gate we were (over 300 of us) patiently staying in our seats for what it seemed an eternity for about forty minutes before the monotonous engine sound started to hum again and then we were on our way but not before our turn to wait on the runway for taking off. Altogether we were delayed for about an hour out of our schedule fortunately I did have plenty of time to connect with my flight to Seattle.
I knew it would be a long thirteen hours flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles, but trying to relax even in business class did not come easily. The novel “I Am Pilgrim” helped keeping my mind off the slowness of time from sitting in one’s restricted space. I admired the power of surrendering and acceptances from the travel discomfort demonstrated by my neighbour: After devouring small portions of three-course meal and exactly nine glasses between the French champagne, sauvignon blanc from Adelaide Hill and Penfolds shiraz, she settled down to a goodnight sleep until to wake five hours later and started all again at breakfast. I was grateful she did not snore.
It was my loss that I had no appetite because Australian chef Neil Perry put together a delicious in-flight menu, but all I could consume were a small plate of fresh fruit and a sandwich for my dinner. Sleep never came easily to me either, an hour here and there scattered throughout the night as I turned to “I Am Pilgrim” for distraction, that I must say it was great reading if you try not dwelling into the descriptions of violence. I enjoyed Terry Hayes’ style of writing very much.
Los Angeles was an enormously large and busy airport that’s beyond my comprehension, yet every little details seemed to function so effortlessly where everyone knew what each had to do. I was wheeled from Qantas airplane after landing, to US custom, collecting luggage, transiting to another terminal by shuttle bus and boarding a domestic flight to Seattle, with such ease not by one but five different people who knew exactly what to do while maintaining good humour and pleasantness, which left me such a warm feeling in believing the world is a good place to be if one cared to travel outside our comfort zone.
By the time I was in my seat on the Alaskan airline 737, another packed plane, my body and mind were ready to collapse from the tiredness that started almost a whole day ago. It seemed like hours that the plane was travelling on the runway and while I was slipping in and out between sleeping and waking I dreamt that I was on a plane travelling on a huge and very wide road to Seattle, its wings were swaying from side to side, trying to avoid hitting the trees lining on both sides… The announcement from the cockpit woke me up, and then within second I was back in oblivion until the plane landed at Tacoma International Airport.
When I was able to hug my daughter and the grandchildren and only then that I realised why I have made that long journey, there is something that one just had to do to reach the reward of being able to hold my family in my arms, smother them with kisses then all my discomfort and tiredness were eliminated…
It was a very agreeable Saturday as far as the weather was concerned even though it was a little windy up the hill and along the coast. My friends and I decided to venture out, and by 11:30 AM we started wine tasting at a couple of wineries.
It was a picturesque drive up to Red Hill, about an hour away where local produce such as fine grapes and olive orchards grown with tender loving care, and where many restaurants fine dining boasted their local specialties of delicious food and fine wine.
Many people were about and most places were booked out, I think everyone had the same idea as ours. I was treated to a sumptuous lunch and a lovely walk through the vineyard and sculpture garden where local artists displayed their skill.
The outing brought back many wonderful memories of another life and time. Though I missed “him” I was grateful to have caring friends who have given me this lovely day.
A trip to the market gave me the urge to do some cooking to share with friends and neighbours.
The luring of lovely fresh produce reminded me of the days when I would try so often a different new recipe, and my husband was then my taster and critic… He might have been a little bias but how lovely that we sat down and enjoyed every morsel together.
Memories! Oh, memories!
Lately I have lost my inspiration in cooking as well as my appetite and seldom cooked. Today I paid a visit to my favourite market and found that joy of cooking once more.