After some minor trouble at the Canadian border, we headed to Bellingham, WA to see our friend from college, Jonny. To be honest, the first night is a bit blurry. Copious amounts of alcohol were consumed.
After settling in, we all headed out for some food and beer at a local brewpub. Eating before drinking = being responsible. With a meal in our stomachs and a slight beer buzz, we moved on to a bar down the street to try Bellingham’s signature drink; it’s called a “Peruvian Bear Fucker”. Instructions: fill glass with half OJ and half PBR, fill a shot glass with spiced rum, drop shot glass into beer mixture, chug. I think it was good. I mean, I don’t recall it being bad so it was probably tolerable.
I’d also like to mention that the bartender at this bar was an allstar (now if only I remembered the name of the bar). They had dollar well drinks and this guy was muddling lemon and lime for my vodka soda! No one has ever muddled citrus for my $10 vodka sodas. He carried on with some tricks behind the bar, tossing cocktail shakers and bottles into the air before catching them in the perfect position to pour broke college students cheap alcohol.
He even did a little trick for me. He took three shakers and three cherries, did a trick involving stacking the shakers and switching them around and somehow wound up with four cherries sitting on the bar. I was impressed, but I’m also easily impressed. Jonny and I subsequently ate the cherries off of the bar.
This is where is gets fuzzy. All I can tell you is we went to another bar, drank more beer, and played pool.
Day two in Bellingham: Jonny had to go be an adult and TA a class so me and Sarah went and did our own thing for the afternoon. Bellingham has a boardwalk along the water that extends over to the next town, Fairhaven (which is technically part of Bellingham itself). We grabbed some lattes at Woods Coffee – the local standby – and made our way over to Fairhaven. Fairhaven is the more put together, but still a bit funky, sibling of Bellingham, which is more a of hippie college town.
What do you do when you’re in a new town? Get happy hour margaritas of course. This is pretty much all we did in Fairhaven so I can’t say too much about it besides if you want a margarita midday on a weekday you can find it here.
When Jonny got back, he took us on a small hike along the railroad tracks and then out to the bay. It wasn’t the original part of the bay he was looking for, but we chilled there and had a beer before moving on to find the actual trail he was looking for. We walked along the the railroad tracks, found the trail a short while later, and went back out to the bay via the trail. When we reached the water Sarah tripped and ate shit on the rocks. Apparently flip flops are not proper footwear.
Jonny and I walked out further along the shoreline for a bit. There isn’t really a beach to walk on, so it was more like scrambling on rocks. As a climber, you never pass up an opportunity to play on some rocks. Further down the shore there were actually two guys bouldering.
We were wondering where Sarah was and why she didn’t follow us, so we headed back. Turns out she really hurt herself when she fell and was holding back tears. In the four years I’ve known Sarah I’ve never seen her cry. As a physical therapist, she was diagnosing herself and listing off all the possible injuries she could’ve incurred. On that note, we went back to Jonny’s.
Sarah wanted to put off going to a doctor so we went out for dinner instead. Mai tais or ER? Easy choice….until Sarah’s whole arm was shaking and her pain was getting worse. So, we headed to the ER.
At the ER it was a 3 hour wait to be seen. The waiting room was filled with really sick people, coughing and spewing everywhere. Sarah was not about this. After waiting for maybe 15 minutes, she said fuck it and asked Jonny to run to a pharmacy and see if he could find a sling and she’d wait until the morning.
Jonny returned with a sling and we went back to his place to drink instead. I figured, well, Sarah’s the doctor, she knows best. We hung out, played cards, and drank back at Jonny’s. Midnight/ my birthday struck and we cheered to 24 years of my livelihood. “Welcome to 24, it’s great,” Sarah says with the straightest face, as she sits in excessive pain in a sling.
The following morning, we said our goodbyes to Jonny and left for the ER on the way to Seattle. The ER we went to was miles better than the Bellingham ER experience. Sarah was seen right away and in about an hour Sarah had x-rays done, possible diagnosis read off, and a prescription for percocet in hand. The doctor was funny too. She asked Sarah if she wanted anything for the pain. Sarah was hesitant, thinking she’d probably be okay without it, so the doctor just chimes in, “I’ll just write you a script and if you don’t use it you can just sell it and make some extra money.” I never thought I’d actually hear that come out of a doctor’s mouth, even if it was a joke (was it though?).
After the ER visit we continued on to Seattle for birthday activities; Honestly, the ER was a step up from going to the DMV on my birthday last year.
First thing’s first when we arrived in Seattle: beer. We went to Pike Brewery, right in the heart of Pike Place, Seattle’s famous marketplace. Their beer was good, but their food was awesome. This may sound weird, but they had an appetizer that was raw radishes with butter and truffle salt, not your typical brewpub appetizer but it was awesome. Honestly, put truffle salt on anything and it will be good. We thought about getting a charcuterie board, but lo and behold, they had a charcuterie pizza! How can you make a plate of cured meat better? Swap the plate for a pizza.
We continued our tourist trail onward to The Space Needle. What I didn’t realize is that the space idea came before the building. In the midst of the space race, a UFO like structure was proposed for an observation tower to be built for the 1962 World’s Fair. I’ve been up to observation decks in a few cities and I have to say the Space Needle, albeit the shortest, is my favorite thus far. This is the first observation deck that I’ve actually been standing outside and not just walking around the perimeter of the top floor of a skyscraper. My favorite thing about the Space Needle is actually the elevator. The enclosure most of the way up is all glass, so you get to enjoy the view as you climb to the top.
After enjoying a glass of champagne at the top – which I split half of all over myself – we headed back down and over to the Chihuly gardens. The artist, Dale Chihuly is a glass sculptor who does a lot of large glass art installations. I’d seen a Chihuly exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts a few years ago, so I was excited to see a whole building and garden filled exclusively with his work. I find something to be a little magical about his work. It reminds me of Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory, except whimsical glass art instead of candy.
I found the garden to be of particular interest this time around. It was cool to see how the sculptures worked with the plants around them, creating a garden space out of a science fiction novel. Good work Chihuly.
With our tourist activities completed, we headed back to move the car closer to my where my friend, Allie, lives. She was very kindly putting us up for the night. Once she got out of work, she met up with me and Sarah at a nearby bar. Before heading on to another bar, Sarah and I wanted to bring our stuff into her apartment so we wouldn’t have our valuables just chilling in street parking. And that was the end of the idea of going to another bar.
Once we got comfortable in Allie’s apartment, our intent to bar hop went right out the window. Which probably worked out well for Allie too, since she had been working pretty late and was working again in the morning. Instead, we just caught up and rehashed our former college lives. It’s been strange seeing people that I haven’t seen in at least a year and now seeing them settled into a different city with a different life. We’ve come a long way since the undergrad days of cheap vodka and beer pong…or have we?
In the morning we made one last stop at Pike Place to grab some fresh seafood and produce before heading on to Portland.