3/10/08: Victoria, and Seattle again, and home

Word count: 129587 | Since last entry: 1171

The seaplane from Seattle to Victoria was way cool — a terribly civilized way to travel. With only four passengers on the plane (us, plus an off-duty pilot and his charming daughter, bopping over to Victoria for a picnic) the formalities of boarding, customs, and preflight check took only a couple of minutes; we had neither the hassles of Homeland Security nor the waits of the Peace Arch border crossing. The flight took 45 minutes and the whole thing was like the cool bit at the end of a jet flight where you can see all the individual houses and cars below.

We stayed at the Empress, also terribly civilized. The location was superb, service excellent as you’d expect, and the beds supremely comfortable. But the room was rather small and located in the newer wing, so while tasteful was not particularly Empress-y. I’m not sure I’d spring for that splurge again. However, we did enjoy the curry buffet at the Bengal Room, along with many other very fine meals. Actually, we had excellent food karma this whole trip, including a breakfast on the last morning at the Cafe Vieux Montreal, where I was not expecting to cross a language barrier as we passed through the front door. Really looking forward to Farthing Party now!

Apart from eating, we had a relaxing time wandering around, shopping for books and CDs, and poking around a cool old cemetery and a museum or two. Took a nap every afternoon. Life is hard. We also attended a stitch-and-bitch at a local coffee shop, where I played the Dear Husband, sitting in the back and working on my novel. I only wrote on four days during the trip, but the 1100 words noted above actually represent 1600 words taken out and a new scene of 2700 words written to replace them: a new and more emotionally-significant death for one of my main characters.

Our flight back to Seattle was much more popular, so much so that we not only used the larger 10-passenger plane but also added a second plane. Never been on a flight that was so full it required an overflow aircraft before.

The weekend was spent at the “Rain Festival” square dance fly-in (but it’ll always be Geoduck to us), ably called by Andy Shore and Darren Gallina. GCA caller Osamu Miyabe from Toronto called a couple of really exceptional Advanced and Challenge tips, notable for fast and surprising choreo that really flowed. A caller to seek out!

Listening to Osamu call “Light and Reft Gland,” I realized that the reason it seems to our ears that the Japanese get the L’s and R’s backward every single time is that they have only one sound for both. You know the optical illusion in which a gray circle looks dark against a white background and light against a black background, even though both circles are exactly the same shade of gray? It’s the same with the Japanese L/R sound. When encountered where we expect an L, it sounds like an R, and vice versa.

During the fly-in we enjoyed the gracious hospitality of Ulrika and Hal O’Brien, not to mention Sarah the dog and Tinka, Lefty, and Spike the cats. Though Sarah did step on a very tender portion of my anatomy (“she has deadly accuracy,” said Ulrika) and we never did see scaredy-cat Spike. We also stopped in briefly at the Seattle fans’ pub meet on Sunday before heading home. Alas, there we learned that some good news we’d been hoping for had not come to pass. Darn.

Since being home I’ve felt extremely pressured by the amount of stuff left undone during our travels. I decided this morning that I would try to do four things for at least an hour every day this week: writing, to-do list items, decluttering, and exercise. Did all four today (allowing for some creative accounting on the time spent decluttering) but I got some new information toward the end of today that may require shifting into all-writing-all-the-time mode for a day or two starting tomorrow. But for now, to bed.

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