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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Friends, coffee, and Seahawk Fever!

USA | Friday, 17 January 2014 | Views [991]

I'm on a skidaddle; a "Seattle Skidaddle" that is, filled with friends, 12-cent coffee, Seahawk fever, and Ethiopian girls coming at me marvelling at my jersey. Brian and Bree picked me up last night and dropped me at the Green Tortoise Hostel, located smack dab in the centre of town one block from Pike Place Market. Convenient, eh? Whilst a bit more expensive than many other hostels ($33 for a bed, plus $20 cash deposit) I really liked it. Each bed has curtains for privacy and a four-plug outlet so you can charge your phone and camera and have them next to you whilst you're sleeping. I stored my bag and decided to head out for the day. January is my favourite time to be in Seattle; it may be colder but the crowds are fewer. All eyes and talk here are on the Seahawks, which are in the NFL playoffs.

The number 12 is everywhere, and Seahawks fans are known as "the 12th Man." Seahawk fever has even swept Starbucks, by selling cups of coffee for 12 cents if you're wearing Seahawks colours. Whilst I don't own a Seahawks jersey I pointed to some of the colours on my Ethiopian jersey and the barista asked "are you a Seahawks fan?" so I answered yes enthusiastically! Seattleites love their Seahawks, and as the only NFL team within for about 700 miles in any direction, there are fans in Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, British Columbia, and elsewhere. A #12 flag even flies from the Space Needle. Weather today was typical Seattle-in-winter weather: gloomy, cold (but not terribly), and with a somewhat salty air. I enjoyed it and I had no trouble walking in just a t-shirt. After sipping my 12-cent Starbucks tipple I caught the bus to Ballard to meet up with a special friend. Her name is Sara, and my stories would never be complete without her. She's a lovely lady of 43 with a passion for travel far beyond even mine. She spent the last seven years working and gallavanting in various parts of Asia before recently landing a job here in Seattle. She has taught English in China and Japan, volunteered in Myanmar, and lived in Thailand, just to name a few of her experiences. As I sat at Starbucks with another 12-cent coffee I had to burn some time but when Sara emerged from her office it was hugs all around! For lunch I was up for Thai food and she knew of a vegetarian Thai restaurant she wanted to try. I ordered pad Thai and she ordered Thai red curry. We chatted for a long while over tasty food, and one thing I love about Sara is that she's a great listener and gives great feedback on situations. At the end of our lunch, we shot this photo with our hands held skyward.

There's a story behind this pose: she summitted Mt. Fuji last year and posed with her hands held high, and my words to her were "I would have loved to be with you on the summit with our hands held skyward." She inspired me to do a similar pose in the Simien Mountains last year. My visit with Sara today was for only two hours but we caught up on a lot! The bus back to downtown came straight away. Seattle's public transport is either awesome or horrible depending on who you ask. Bree says it's the worst but she lives in an outer suburb on the other end of Bellevue. When I was dropped in downtown I wandered a place I never fail to enjoy: Pike Place Market. As I strolled I got some chocolate lip balm since I forgot my Burt's Bees before coming up here. As I sipped yet another 12-cent coffee I received a call from my friend Amanda. She and Keating tentatively agreed to host me tonight or at least visit with me for a short while even though she's leaving for the Philippines tomorrow for a work assignment. As darkness fell over Seattle I called in at yet another Starbucks, my fourth of the day. As I chilled out and debated staying at the Green Tortoise again, a gorgeous Ethiopian girl named Liwam admired my jersey. Keating called me at around 7 PM and told me I could come over. The D bus dropped me only about a block from their home, though there was some traffic due to a Justin Timberlake concert at KeyArena. Amanda was busy but Keating and I chatted whilst sipping some home-brewed apple cider.

We had to go to the store to pick up some bug repellent for Amanda, and when I asked at the pharmacy counter where it was, I turned around afterward and suddenly hear "Hey, where'd you get your shirt" with much enthusiasm. At first I thought she was asking Keating but I said "Addis Ababa, Ethiopia" and realized she appears to be Ethiopian. The diaspora seems very excited that I visited their country; I wouldn't get the same attention if I was wearing a Mexico or China shirt elsewhere. We stopped to get some pizza at the market since I wasn't up for going out to eat tonight, and when we returned home, Boomer the dog was loud! Amanda said "if Boomer doesn't like Chris it's not his (Boomer's) problem" but it didn't take long for him to soften up to me as we laughed, ate, drink wine, and hung out whilst Amanda packed and did her thing. Keating told me when he met Amanda he had more travel experience than her but now it's the other way around. As we argued and bragged about our travel experience I noted how Sara, time-wise, has more travel experience than the three of us put together. We argued travel with one another on another great night in Seattle, though none of us were exactly sleepless.

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