Satish Shrestha (सतिश श्रेष्ठ )

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Archive for March, 2010

Spring Break Travelog- Day 1 in Seattle

Posted by Satish Shrestha on March 6, 2010


The plan was to leave Spokane by 6pm on Thursday night. Thus I left earlier from work and headed home to hastily take a picture and GIMPed it to make it eligible for visa application. My first attempt was an interesting fiasco. Though I resized the picture to make it applicable for the application, I forgot to restore the original resolution of it. The result was a photograph of right size but terrible resolution. The lady at Rite Aid asked me if the person in the picture was actually me. After a stupid smile at her, Jamie and I headed back to our respective rooms to pack and get ready for the trip. I had few more hours to kill since most of my packing was already done. I spent some time to reconfigure the photograph to get it in a right size and right resolution. Unlike we planned, we left quite late and it was already 10 by the time Jamie and I were in the car. We first went to Wal-Mart to grab a video camera. I was hoping I could print my pictures out there, but the service for even express machine was closed after nine. Grabbing the camera along with some chips, dark chocolates and jolly ranchers to keep us awake we left Wal-Mart. It was around 11 by the time we actually hit the road towards Seattle. It was an intensely foggy night. We literally could not see anything further than 10 feet from the car. So we had to limit out speed to 60. As we crossed Moses Lake, the fog was gone and we raised our speed to 100 miles per hour. With this great speed and great music by the Beatles, we covered the distance of 362 miles between Spokane and Seattle in less than four hours. As it were already 3:15am and I had to be at the Canadian consulate by 8:00am we decided to crash in the car cancelling our earlier plan to sleep in a hotel. We parked the car close to Rite Aid in downtown Seattle and grabbed our sleeping bags, rolled the sit down and hit the sack for 4 hours. It was pretty chilly morning in Seattle. A lot of chips and jolly ranchers, and only four hours of sleep in the car gave me a terrible morning breathe. Biting a big energy bar to kill, or at least suppress, the bad morning breathe I ran to Rite Aid and printed the passport photographs. They turned out to be very professional looking. Thanks to GIMP. I completed my visa application in the car and rushed to the Canadian Consulate.

I was the second person in the line to apply for a visa. There were lots of other Indians (Hindustanis, not native Americans Indians) and Asians around along with few white folks. I presented my documents but failed to satisfy the criteria that they never mentioned in their website. I love Canadian geography and I have good respect for Canadian people for many reasons. But I find it funny that no one answers your phone call when you call Canadian Consulate office in Seattle. The automated voice message says,” due to lack of resources, we are unable to answer your call at the moment”. If it were a consulate office in Seattle of a country like Nepal, I would totally understand. But it is Canada, one of the G8 countries! I guess it is one of the reasons why Southpark makes fun of Canada. Anyway, since my I-20 was issued more than a year back, the consular said she could not process my application. I quickly ran downstairs to make a phone call to GU to ask for some help. I first called GU security to ask for international students office’s number but I could not get hold of anyone in there. I then called Djalila, my Algerian friend, and got numbers of international student advisor. Explaining my situation I asked the advisor if she could immediately fax a copy of my new I-20 to me. Jamie, when he was waiting for me in the parking lot, booked a room in a hotel in downtown for two nights and he got its fax number. I was thinking of going to FedEx Kinkos or Office Depot to have those documents faxed. But Jamie just did a great job by getting fax numbers of the hotel instead. I got those documents within 30 minutes at the hotel and so I ran back to the consulate and re applied for a visa. The line was massive by now. I waited for about an hour until my number was called. I was rather unhappy by the treatment of the security guard. It is almost like he had switches to change his modes between polite and impolite. Right before me, a Russian girl with terrible English was being served by him. That Russian girl was there for the same reason as I was. The security talked to her quite politely. When it was my turn, it seemed to me that he just changed his mode from polite to impolite. What a jerk! For that white chick whose English was worse than my Russian, the security was quite polite. When a rather dark guy was in front of him, he was no more polite. If it was a trivial place like McDonald’s I would have retaliated. But the issue here was rather serious, so I backed off and reacted calmly. Is it because I am dude, or is it because I am darker? I am not sure. But I am a human with dignity and I deserve to be treated normally if not good regardless of or gender and my skin complexion. Anyway, my application packet now was not lacking anything thus they processed my application and issued a visa after 11:00 am.

First mission of the day was accomplished. The next mission was to get a ski jacket. We grabbed big fat Chipotle burritos for lunch and headed to the Pacific Place, a mall downtown. Jamie is a big fan of Helly Hansen ski jackets. We went to HH store and browsed some of them. When we were in there, two African American guys came in. A big guy went ahead and asked the store keeper if she had any job application. In the mean time the other guy grabbed a big jacket and ran away. It was quite dramatic. The keeper called the mall security but those robbers were long gone before they could do anything. The HH store keeper informed us that once a robber crosses the mall property, the mall security can do nothing. And it’s not at all hard to cross the mall property as the floor in which HH store is, is connected to Nordstrom building, which does not belong to Pacific Place Mall, through a bridge. This law makes no sense to me. Anyway, Jamie didn’t find a right size jacket so we headed to Belleview mall. He found the right size there and bought one. Fortunately he found one in sale for 400 bucks. That’s kind of too expensive for me, but I think the jacket deserved that price as it was specifically designed with thinsulates for skiing and came with life warranty. We wanted to go to Renton from there and visit Jimi Hendrix’s cemetery but both of us were too tired. So we decided to get early dinner and take a nap before hitting the bars later in the night. We went to a Cajun diner near Pike Place. It was interesting that the Cajun food was made and served by an Asian lady. It had been quite a long since I ate Cajun food, the last time was back in the summer of 08 in New Orleans. We ordered seafood etoufee and red beans and rice. Of course they were not as great as authentic Cajun foods down in Louisiana but they were ok for northwestern standard. We headed back to the hotel and took nap for around three hours and went out in the quest of some good bars. A random guy directed us to an Ethiopian bar and nothing much was going on in there.

We headed to Capitol Hill in the quest. We walked around and checked few bars. There were just too many gay bars around. We went into an Irish bar and I ordered myself a Rouge. I took my time to explore the bar but it was not any interesting. Jamie chatted with a random guy about the bars around there and the guy recommended Linda’s between Pike and Pine. It was almost midnight already. We could see just tons of gays shouting and walking around. I hope people did’t mistake Jamie and I for being gay. We tried a bar with live music but it sucked. Jamie started expressing his frustration over Seattle’s bar scene and ruining his first bar hopping experience out of Spokane. I was his partner in crime. It was not a very fun night. Nonetheless, some observations were pretty interesting. At a gay bar, there was “shaved” and “not shaved” section, which I thought was interestingly hilari0us. Also, there were posters of the band named Blow Ponies in the walls, which was absolutely pornographic. It was pretty much like a homosexual red light district.

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