Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sleepless in Seattle :-D.


Looks like I have to post an extremely happy or extremely sad post to get some comments. Very sad, I know :-p. Just wanted to let you guys know that I'm alright. Yup, was a bit down for days, but then as I said and so did many of you, maybe there's something better on the way. Or maybe the fact that I'm getting all this time with Snugli is the better thing. Anyways don't want to linger on that too much, because I have a hugge post to write on the trip we took a couple of weeks back. It did help in getting my mind off the MBA, but had to attend to it after I came back from the vacation, so the blow was a lot worse. But lets get on with the travelogue.

Coming to the title of the post, we were not exactly sleepless. But well, after travelling over timezones, to a far corner of the US, sleep was the last thing on our minds. When we booked the tickets about 2-odd months back, I was pretty apprehensive about the whole thing. First of all it had been almost an year since Snugli had been on a plane, so I wasn't sure how she'd behave. Secondly, the flight was pretty early (at 6 AM), that too from Cincinnati, so we had to leave atleast by 4:30 AM! With the little one around, it seemed like a tall order. The last worry was Snugli's food. In our Florida trip, I carried stuff basically because we had the car and the space. But this was a plane and we had restrictions :-p. It was not really feasible to carry a cooker and supplies :-D.

Sri came up with a good solution for the last problem. He suggested cooking the rice in microwave. I hadn't tried it before, wasn't really sure whether it'd work. Researched on the internet (hey, thats what its for!) and experimented a couple of times. The rice didn't cook as well as it did in the pressure cooker, but it was pretty good (I overcooked it for her as such - I have a 950 watt microwave, so it takes about 20 minutes of microwaving + 5 minutes letting it cool). So instead of packing the cooker, I just needed a glass bowl :). We made sure to book hotel rooms with microwaves. I did pack some rice, veggies, ghee, sugar and salt. Rest we could buy there :). One problem solved.

As for the getting up early and getting Snugli ready, it was pretty okay too. We thought of not really waking her up, but she woke up nevertheless. But it actually helped in a way that she slept most of the time on the plane, so it in turn solved the first problem quite a bit ;-). She did get frustrated now and then, but did have some fun looking outside at other planes, houses, clouds and saying "Hi" multiple times to the air hostesses :-D. All in all, not the ordeal I expected it to be :)). Well, the waving "hi" was an ordeal, believe me :-D.

To cut the story short (or should I say long :-p), we left home on Thursday April the 23rd 2009 at 4:30 AM, caught the plane from Cincinnati to Houston, Texas and from there to Portland, Oregon :). In fact we were so in control of things that, we breezed through the security checks and one lady behind us actually gasped in appreciation "You guys are soooo organized", hehehehe :-D. Anyways, the total flight time came to about 7-8 hours and we reached Portland at 11:30 AM PST. Drove north to Everett, Washington (about 3 hours) where we had our hotel booked. Since we had the evening still remaining, the first thing we did was to enjoy a ferry ride.

Washington state has various bays and lots of islands, most of which are connected to the mainland by Government run ferries. We wanted to ride one once, but hadn't decided which one (didn't really know how our situation would be after such a long flight). Since everything looked good and we did have to adjust to the timezone, we thought why not and went to the Mukilteo ferry which goes from a place called Mukilteo to Clinton island, a ride of about 30 min, just what we were looking for! Sri had been on one of these before when he was in Seattle (around 6 years back and it was before he met me :-D) and well, he really wanted us to try it once :).

The ferry was really nice, larger than those of North Carolina and Putin bay. In fact, it was hugggggge :). The weather was a bit chilly, but lovely :).




We stopped at the Clinton beach for sometime :).






That was it for the day. The next day is the crux of the whole story. Its the reason we made a trip, the excuse for going almost-coast-to-coast and the logic behind it all. Ok, ok I'll stop the suspense. April is the month of the annual Skagit Valley Tulip festival that happens north of Seattle. And I'm crazy about tulips. I have always wanted to go to Holland just to see the Keukenhof gardens which are supposed to have tulip fields that stretch to eyesight :). When I came to know that Skagit valley has something similar, just had to see it :). And Sri indulged my whim (he does that a lot, doesn't he? :-D), one of the reasons being that he hadn't seen anything around Seattle when he was there.

So was it worth the hype? Oh man, you have to see it to believe it! The first sight that greeted us was a field full of Daffodils!




Its not that the whole area is full of flowers. Its more like the area has fields and farms which grow flowers. We first visited the Roozengaarde fields and it was a breath-taking sight. Tulips grew in rows almost everywhere. It didn't really stretch as far as the eyesight, but was a sight to behold :). They had yellow, red and pink tulips, oh man! I must have taken 100s of photos and I certainly don't have the patience or the strength to put them all here, so I have made collages. Here's one of the daffodils and the Roozengarde fields (click to enlarge):




It didn't mean that we didn't take any photos with ourselves in them :-p.




I especially love the following 2 because we asked a pukka photographer to take them :).







Just one more in the fields, I promise :).




I wasn't really satisfied, but we had to move on. So next we went to the Roozengaarde gardens. In the gardens, they had tulips of various colours, shapes and sizes arranged in groups and it was enjoyable. How about another collage? ;-).




The gardens were pretty crowded, but Snugli really enjoyed running around the place. The best thing was that eventhough there were so many flowers, she just pointed to them and never attempted to pluck any of them :). Anyways, we stopped then for a bit of lunch and then encountered another part of Roozengaarde fields which had only red tulips :).



It was an awesome sight! So amazing to see flowers look like lush velvet blankets/carpets :). By then we had found out that there was another farm which we could visit called Tulip Farms. We at first thought it'd be more of the same and so were not sure whether to go there or not. But finally decided to see it anyways. And boy, am I glad!

At first, we saw only some indoor tulips and thought that it was a waste of time. But after sometime, when we did get out, man, it was totally a marvellous sight. Unlike the other fields which had tulips only in 3 colours, this farm had rows of different coloured tulips side by side stretching for a couple of acres! Make way for the collage..




They even had a trolley ride to take us to the far end of the farm (it wasn't THAT big :-p) and bring us back.







Sigh! I really wished I could be there forever. But the tulips only lasts till about 10 days in May thats it. And to tell you the truth, I still want to go to Keukenhof, because nope, the tulips huchchu hasn't gone yet :-D. We finally (me, reluctantly) said bye to the tulips and headed back.

Since there was some time remaining in the day, we decided to head over to the Boeing factory. The Boeing Factory in Everett, Washington is the largest commercial manufacturing site for Boeing Planes. Its worth a visit if you are in and around Seattle. They actually have a plant tour which takes 2.5 hours and they take you into the factory. But sadly, for us, babies are not allowed (min height of children should be 4 feet). They are not even allowed to be carried by parents! I am guessing something to do with safety, but it didn't mean that we weren't disappointed. Sri was looking forward to it the most, but we knew even before we left to Seattle that this was the case. Well, leaving Snugli and me somewhere and him going alone didn't make sense, so we just visited the gallery they had. Well, maybe next time ;-).

This was the actual factory:




The gallery wasn't much, they had a couple of engines, a couple of fuselages and some interesting videos about their new Dreamliner series.




Wish we could have seen the factory. Baby discrimination, I say! :-p. Anyways that was it for that day.

The next day, Saturday, we went on to explore the Seattle downtown. Call me jaded, but somehow the downtowns are failing to impress me these days. Maybe I've seen too many, or maybe I feel that nothing can beat the New York and Chicago sky-lines ;-). There were a couple of good buildings, but well, the downtown craze as such seems to have gone poof :-p. Anyways, the main purpose was to see the famous Space Needle.




Wasn't too impressed with that either. The one that we saw in Niagara Falls, Canada felt much better. Felt like, been there seen that :-p. But we still made an excursion to the top. The day was a bit cloudy, so maybe it all seemed all the more dull to me..




From then on we had lunch and caught a monorail to see the Pike market. Now this was fun. All the hustle and bustle, made me feel like I was in Jayanagar 4th block :-D (though you don't really find a shop selling sea food in Jayanagar :-p).




It felt like home, though (again), we did see hazelnuts and tulips shops which you don't really find back home :-D.




They had everything from clothes to vegetables, from artwork to spices :). And guess what! They had fresh fruit juice too, now thats a rare commodity in the US :-p. After the market, we caught the monorail back to place we parked our car and headed south. Our hotel was on the way back to Portland, but by the time we reached there it was already too late to do anything. So we rested :).

Sunday morning, the first place we went to was Mount St. Helens. The mount is an active volcano which had an eruption in 1982. Its not really tourist season yet there, so the observatory to see the actual crater was closed. But we still hoped for a view of the mount so went along anyways. As we went higher, the drive got more beautiful with the hillside surrounded by snow. Well, all the viewpoints were closed, so we weren't able to make out which of these mounts the volcano was..




Oh well :).




While coming back, we drove into a view point and our car got totally stuck in the snow. I thought the day was gone (the cellphones has no signal there and there was nobody we could contact), but thankfully, some strangers stopped and helped us out of the muddle (make that push the car out of the snow :-D). I was kinda worried mainly about the baby, but we were out of the jam in about 45 min and on our way to first lunch and then the Pacific ocean.

I have always wanted to visit the Pacific ocean since the time I came to US. Well, the worse thing for me personally was that Sri lived in the west coast before I married him. When my parents came, they went to California. Later my in-laws were here and they went to California too. And I haven't yet been to California :-p. They all got to see the Pacific ocean and I hadn't been able to until this trip. I know what you are gonna tell me, its all one large water body, so if you have seen the Indian ocean, you have seen it all ;-). But there's something about the "saptha saagara" concept that I haven't been able to let go of. The added charm is that the ocean is in another corner of US :).

Coming back to the drive, the ocean wasn't very near, it was almost a 2-hour drive from the highway we needed to take to get back to Portland (to catch our flight)! But if you want to see, you have to drive (in this case Sri did, he drove all the way because he was the "insured" person in the rented car. Damn, there goes my dream of driving a car in the west coast :-p). When we did reach the ocean, it was very chilly. The water was so cold that I almost jumped out of my skin when the waves hit my feet :-p.




Snugli loved walking all over the place (can't believe that the last time we went to a beach, she wasn't even able to walk yet :-D). Later we sat on a hilly grassy region where the wind was much lesser and enjoyed the beach for a while.




It was very pleasant and beautiful, but we had to leave and be back in Portland..




So that was it, we went to the hotel. Next day early morning, caught the flight to Houston, then to Cincinnati. Reached home at about 6 PM in the evening. Phew :).

The trip was an eye-opener - it showed us that we could travel with Snugli pretty easily and well, it gave me more ideas on where to head next :-D. Also some of the struggles we faced with her on the plane made me wonder all the more how the heck my parents managed to travel with me and Darsh all over India in trains and buses when we were pretty young. Another thing which makes me admire them all the more :). Hats off to them!

5 Comments:


Soumya retorted...

Honestly Deeps, the more places you go to, I enjoy the feeling of having been there, what with the wonderful description and even more wonderful photos. Kudos to the chakra on your feet.
I can't believe you have not cooked rice in the microwave. Ever since my cooker died on me, I've been cooking rice in microwave all the time. Sometimes, asking advice of your bachelor friends can also help.ha!ha!
I am so glad that this trip was a super success and I'll pray fervently for your Amsterdam trip to happen soon.


Phalguni A.V retorted...

Very nice post Deepthi..I have been follwoing your blogs for a while ..but been very lazy to write a comment.
I have never been to a tulip garden.. and your post has prompted me to mark this as "must see".. Awesome pics and Snigdha is very cute.. keep writing more posts of her.. its always a treat to read what she is upto.. great going with your blog.. !

Read your post on MBA.Congratulations on your GMAT score!!! My husband recently graduated from an MBA school here in the US .. and i have throughout been involved in every aspect of his mba..so i know what it feels like.. to not get an aid.. its a huge financial liability..but trust me when economy revives and snigdha is old enough to go to a play school , you can get back to school...and i am sure you will..
good luck,
phalguni.


Deeps retorted...

Soum,

Stop living vicariously through my blogs and ask Raghu to take you places :))). Ican't believe that we talk for hours and the microwave rice cooking has never come up! Oh well, looks like we have lots of other things to gossip on :-D.

Phalguni,

Thanks. The tulips are totally worth it if you are anywhere near Seattle. A new post on Snugli will be up soon, I hope :).


WordPower retorted...

Beauuuuuuutiful post Deepthi!!!


Ranjani retorted...

Great post yaar...i dunno how I missed reading it. I am travelling with my son and hubby to calif later this month. i really dunno how he will take the plane ride..