New Flophouse Address:

You will find all the posts, comments, and reading lists (old and some new ones I just published) here:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tales from the Homeland: Driving in Seattle

Minor crisis this morning:  It was 5 AM and we were almost out of coffee.  Since we are still suffering from jet-lag, this is not good at all.  First order of business today was to head to the market for some beans.

I took the car.  First time I've driven any motor vehicle in two or three years since I don't have a French driver's license and I always take the public transportation.  My mother actually checked my Washington State license before giving me the keys - she thought it was expired - and suggested that I do a short trip to remember how to drive in the city.

I made it to the store just fine;  Seattle drivers are much less aggressive than Parisians (though some have guns so I wouldn't push it), the streets are wide and the signage is good.  I found the coffee, bought some half and half and some Peach Passion Fruit Scones.  By the time I made it to the checkout I was falling asleep again and the nice young woman behind the counter asked me if I was alright.  I replied that I was a bit jet-lagged and that led to a short conversation about what I was doing in Seattle.

All was going according to the Shopping in Seattle Cultural Script and I was pulling out my credit card  to pay when she looked at me and asked, "Do they have credit cards in France?"  Why, yes, I replied and I showed her my BNP (National Bank of Paris) Visa card.

I don't want to be hard on such a lovely young lady and there really is no such thing as a stupid question as far as I'm concerned.  However, I couldn't help but think that here was a poster child for why Americans really do need to get out of the United States from time to time.

Made it back home without killing any pedestrians and marched at once into the kitchen where I ground some beans and made everyone nice, hot, very strong, cups of coffee.

Seattleites are crazy about coffee.  Starbucks was born in this city and on every street there are coffee vendors selling pretty damn good brew.   This has been true for many many years.  When I was at university in the early 1980's my haunt was a little place called The Last Exit on Brooklyn. The service was slow, the boys were cute and you could order one coffee and then kick back to study or talk with friends for hours and never get kicked out.  And, of course, you could smoke.  It was a little slice of heaven.


Christophe said...

"Seattleites are crazy about coffee".
I can believe it. No wonder why we have "Seattle's Best Coffee" coffee shops.
But oddly enough, Dunkin Donuts is known to have one of the best coffees.

Funny, usually, jetlag hits me later in the day in this direction, when it's late in France.

PS: I sent you the waterfall pictures.

Have a great weekend!

Ellen Lebelle said...

When my kids were at camp (1987 & 88) they described the minitel to the other campers, who swore no such thing could exist.

bubblebustin said...

You may have had your first cup of coffee in the US, but I bet you hadn't really tasted how coffee should taste until you moved to France, did you? I prefer a good French roast, myself.
Thank goodness you don't have to travel too far in the US (or anywhere else for that matter) to find good coffee now, thanks to the ubiquitous Starbucks. Before them, most coffee in the US used to taste like 'dirty sock water'. :-)

CarnetsdeSeattle said...

Bwahaha "Do they have fridges?" (happened to me once".

True story.

And then people have an opinion on foreign taxation. Srsly.

Tim said...

I wish I could say more about Seattle however, I have never been there. I find the do the have credit cards in France question to be pretty lame.

I unexpectedly spent several hours the other night with a Microsoftie from Bellevue, WA passing through Cambridge. We really didn't talk that much Seattle related or Bellevue related other than no one goes to the Apple Store in Bellevue Washington.

Just Me said...

Do you need the link to all the Trader Joe's? Surely there is one close to you.

And as far as Starburnt Coffee goes, there are many better and cheaper choices in Seattle... :)

Catherine said...

I think travel should be a mandatory curriculum in university. I realize not everyone can afford a lavish vacation, but working abroad gets the job done too.

Anonymous said...

I am from Europe, but lived in the US for a time. Some years ago my wife and I drove from California to Vancouver. After crossing the border we stopped at the BC Visitor Centre (note correct spelling!) for some info on the city, and waited behind a 40-something American chap visiting Canada for, I assume, the first time.

He delivered his questions to hapless staff in something definitely not sotto voce. Among them were Do they have hotels in Vancouver? and Do I need a different currency? To her credit, his wife distanced herself both physically and psychologically by conspicuously perusing the postcards well away from the service counter. When our glances met briefly she just rolled her eyes and sighed quietly.