Where I Went


  • Washington (6)

Beach and Breweries

Category Washington
This post was published on Friday 9 August 2013.

Who knew New York was in the Pacific Northwest?

Yesterday was a very long day.. but a good one.  We didn’t get back until 2am, hence the lack of a blog post until now..!

In the morning Steve & Diane, Annie’s parents, took me to Alki, which is a beach front on the other side of the bay from Seattle, for a walk and a bite of lunch.  The views of the Seattle skyline and the Olympic Peninsula are really quite something from there.  I was exceptionally jealous of the people living in the apartments with balconies facing Seattle, just fifty feet or so from the beach front.

We had lunch in the oldest fast food joint in Seattle.. a fish and chips place called Spud’s.  It was pretty good.. and the view was even better!

One of the strangest sights in Seattle is the row of cranes at the dock, which look surprisingly like the AT-AT walkers in Star Wars.  Local legend has it that George Lucas took inspiration from the Seattle docks.  Urban legend or truth, the similarity is really quite striking.  They are some sort of weird cross between a mechanical walker and a giraffe!

After we got home, I had another nap—it seems all that driving took a lot more out of me than I realised—and spent some time listening to Pandora.  If you have never heard of Pandora, it is an internet radio service using what they call the ‘Music Genome Project’, which involves music experts categorising different tracks by something like 400 different attributes.  You tell it what music you like, and it helps you discover new bands.

Unfortunately, the record companies have stopped it from operating in the UK.  But it works in the USA, so I had lots of fun listening to one of my old stations I set up at university.

The evening was a chance for me to ‘indulge my hedonistic Anglican tendencies’, according to Annie.  Translation: go somewhere that Ben can have some beer.  So we headed out to the Red Hook Brewery (the winery opposite was sadly shut for an event) and met up with her sister Stephanie.  I had the beer sampler: six quarter-pint glasses of different ales.  It was yummy, and washed down the enormous chocolate brownie and some of Stephanie’s sweet potato fries very nicely indeed.

The next place we went, Rock Bottom in Bellevue (next-door to Mars Hill Church), wasn’t quite so successful, although it did make us laugh.  Until last night, I had only been refused alcohol once, in a supermarket trying to buy a bottle of wine.  It was back in Oxford; I had ID, but the two girls with me, although over-18, didn’t, so the cashier refused to serve me.

It is pretty common over here to be asked for ID, it seems.  I have been asked for it many times, and everyone had accepted my UK driving licence so far (for obvious reasons I don’t walk around with my passport).  But last night, the waitress looked at it every so suspiciously, took it to her manager, and refused to serve me.  This, even despite the fact we pointed out that I’m a pastor / minister: the ID and my credit cards all say ‘Revd B C Green’.  We even had to move from where we were sitting to the other side of the bar, to comply with state law (!).

Cue guffaws from Annie Mae, who agreed it looks like a fake.

If we had been in England, most bars would not have served us alcohol given one of us had (apparently) fake ID.  But not here.. I just about managed to keep a straight face while Stephanie and Annie (who don’t drink) tried to order a beer for me to drink surreptitiously, trying to remember what I had enjoyed at Red Hook!  Between us we did a surprisingly good job, and ended up with six more taster glasses of their different beers (it was another micro-brewery).

I ordered a coffee so I could have a drinks recepticle, and while Annie and Stephanie sipped their coffees, I sneaked each of the six glasses into my now-empty coffee cup one at a time, while the girls made a great show of sampling the different beers.  I wish I had been able to take a photo of Stephanie’s face screwing up in disgust as the foul liquid touched her lips..!

The manager must have known they were really for me, but he made a good show of asking them how they were enjoying the beer while I was drinking my ‘coffee’.

It certainly added a lot of fun and laughs to the experience!

It was now midnight, and after dropping Stephanie off at her car, Annie and I drove to a friend’s house to drop off some zucchini bread (like carrot cake, but made with courgettes).  It was great to meet them, at first in almost total darkness, and then to see their garage / workshop; they are involved in racing, so there were engine parts (and in fact entire engines) around, and so many tools!

It was great to meet them, and to receive an invitation to the open day at the Boeing Everett Factory (the world’s largest building by volume), so by the time we left it was gone 1am!  Hence, we didn’t get back until 2am, yawning our heads off and cancelling the pancake breakfast we had planned for this morning.

Right now, I am supposed to be writing sermon words, so I had better get back to that.  Later today there will be a hike, and then a bonfire at Annie’s house.  And hopefully tomorrow morning I will wake up to better cricket news than greeted my bleary eyes today.