Monday, May 16, 2011

First stop - an unexpected stop

Ahhh, Greyhound.  I was a bit too last minute to get myself a cheap train ticket down to Portland and decided I wanted to just stick my headphones in and watch the world go by so didn't go for a rideshare.  So Greyhound was it.

I first travelled on the Greyhound when I was 19 with a friend and going from LA all the way up to Seattle.  I remember some interesting characters on the bus plus our cookies being stolen.  

In terms of riding the bus the way I wanted (headphones in etc), all went smoothly - actually the bus was fairly empty to got a couple of seats to myself. Sadly, a long stint at the border* meant I missed my connection bus in Seattle to Portland.  It was already 8pm, so rather than hang out in the bus station for the bus to Portland, I headed to the Green Tortoise, the hostel I stayed in when I was in Seattle the first time around. Also, taking the advice of the Green Tortoise person at reception, I bought myself a train ticket for to Portland and sent the second portion of my bus ticket off for a refund.

110411 Seattle (2)

Actually, the unexpected stop worked out well - the Green Tortoise had moved location and was much nicer than I remembered. It was close to Pike Place Market and managed to stroll around Seattle for a bit (it looks more grown up than I remember it), was thinking about stopping off in a bar but thought I'd feel too much of a billie in the more buzzier joints. Anyway, after witnessing a couple of sketchy drug deals, found myself in a jazz bar where there was a 16-piece live band playing and had a beer. Both very good. My train was leaving first thing in the morning so didn't have time to check out the Space Needle or much else but I'm glad of the u
unexpected stop.  In fact, made me want to go back and check out all grown up Seattle again one day.

* Just on crossing the border... I'm always a little anxious about crossing the border (and generally have 'please let me in' on repeat in my head) - and even more anxious when it's the American immigration officials I'm facing, they're just scarier!  Anyway, I was a little worried when it was my turn and the immigration official I was speaking to was asking me how he could know for sure that I'd leave the US when I said I would as I didn't have proof with an onward ticket.  Actually, I explained I was only planning to stay for 6-8 weeks (the visa waiver program gives you 90 days) and wasn't sure of where I would be leaving from yet so I guess his concern was fair enough really!   I thought he had started to lighten up a bit when he asked me how much fun I had planned for my travels.  I responded with an enthusiastic 'lots of fun!' and a big smile.  He then frowned and said 'funds, how much funds have you got?'.  Oops.  Well, I reckon my mistake worked out in my favour as he must have figured I was clearly not there to find work and let me in :o)  

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