Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mongolia, Germany & Canada

How could those three countries possibly be related? I "visited" them all this weekend...that's how. Yea. What's up?!

Let's start with Friday night tho. A Year @ The Movies: 1981 went well. Two movies night down, and it seems like its catching on so there should be plenty more to come. Once again I had my heard set on a freaking action classic (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and the HufflePuffins brought in the dark horse winner (I don't even know what that means) to spoil my 80s action bliss. They brought Stripes which was the winning selection. Funnier than the 1980 winner, Airplane, but still not quite amazing. I'd give it 3.5/5 stars for quality, low brow humor, senseless nudity & a jacked up military RV of destruction. Nothing too exciting happened after the movie ended. I did download Bubble Bobble onto my Wii...which is AWESOME. That game is incredibly simple but so fun.

Saturday afternoon Dan & I went up to Everett (cities!!) to eat at Chang's Mongolia Grill (yay for a "visit" to Mongolia). Now the thing about Chang's is that its awesome. I mean its my favorite restaurant on the planet for any occasion except really special events...which don't happen very often (and my really special I'm talking anniversaries (not married yet so none of them) and uber romantic dates...things like that) so Chang's is the best. On the way back home we stopped by the Lynnwood (omg more cities) Best Buy to see what kind of trouble we could get into there. Turns out it was my turn to get into a little trouble (and my trouble I mean buying things I don't really need but that are awesome). I picked up Stevie Wonder's The Definitive Collection....mostly bc we heard a few Stevie songs @ Chopstix...and especially bc of my dad's Superstition request. Also picked up the Crossbow game for the Wii. Haven't had a chance to play yet but I hear its fun. Solid trip to Best Buy. w00t...wth? why aren't the zeroes taller than the letters? what a weak font. i'm so upset i can't even properly capitalize my thoughts. gd-it.

Get back to the house and chill for the mid part of the day...bc the big part of the day awaits us in the evening. We had planned on going over to the Shark Club in Kirkland (another city). Dan had been there before, and I was game to check it out and play wing man. Well before we left Dan looked up directions and found out they were having a live band play that night...an AC/DC cover band of sorts. Might have been cool but we were looking to "bust a move" and not \m/ (think of that as a hand making the international sign for rock...see it? no? well then you clearly don't rock hard enough). Decide to just go to Dante's again....which is in Seattle (we live in Shoreline so that's another city...five?). We get there and THEY'RE HAVING A LIVE BAND PLAY. Unreal. We decided to stick around and see if they're any good bc the place is packed...and there's plenty of cute ladies. Well they sucked. Hard. So we left around 10:45 and decided to head back up the road to one of our favorite bars, Die Bierstube (a German bar, and sister bar of Prost! (our bar of choice when we lived near Greenlake) & Fieirabend (sp?))...so there's our Germany visit. It was crowded, but one of our favorite bartenders was working...Mari. We hadn't seen her in awhile so it was good to see her. At this point tho we were both pretty bummed out that the night didn't go as planned...so we decided to just head home after Dan's first & only bier.

Damn. The big weekend plans are a bust. At least I was able to get Dan to drink two beers & do a shot before we left...so he's got a little buzz...at least I hope he did. (OMG I've had Stevie playing and Superstition just came on...YES!!) Well I had been texting my friend Sierra to come hang out with us since we were going to be heading back to our place. Now I've tried to get her to come out before and it takes massive amounts of pleading and promises of fun...and then she still usually won't come over....but this time she decided to come. Hooray! Well before she got over Dan decided to go to bed. Weak. It was maybe midnight...and a Saturday night! We could've made the best of it (haha...and boy did we...but just not with Dan) but he's Captain of the Anti-Fun Brigade...or something...so to bed he went.

Sierra shows up and is disappointed Dan is asleep. Agreed. So we're just chillin' downstairs, catching up on things bc we haven't hung out in ages....and trying to think of something fun to do. Oddly enough...while I was peeing...I had this crazy idea of how ridiculous it would be to drive to Canada that night...really for no other reason than to say we left the country. So I come out of the bathroom and share my crazy (and highly unrealistic) idea. She agrees it would be crazy but also fun. After a few rounds of "are you serious?...you really want to go?"....we decide to go for it. WHAT?! Yep. Canada here we come. Well first we had to drive back to Bellevue (another city...this is like...what?...18? :P) to get her birth certificate so we could cross the border. I grabbed my passport so we're golden. Get to Bellevue...get the b.c. and head for B.C. (haha! sometimes my cleverness astounds me...) She drove to her place, then decided it was my turn to drive...all the way to Canada. Great. I get to drive the whole way. Thanks. Guess that means I'm in charge of the music. Booyah!

So we're off. Hit some rain. And a little snow as we passed through north Snohomish county, but nothing too bad. Then we got up into Mt. Vernon/Burlington area (yes more cities...) and I have this crazy idea for a side trip. We'll make a little detour to my family's campsite we own at this little private campground off Highway 20, up near Conrete (cities galore!). I don't have the key card to get in, but hope a gate is unlocked or maybe we can climb a fence and do something crazy like go skinny dipping in the Skagit River (OMG...would've been so cold) or the pool...tho I was pretty sure it would be drained bc its still winter. So we get there. All locked up. And we don't much feel like climbing a fence to then de-robe, jump in freezing cold water & not have a towel or anything to dry off with....maybe this plan was ill-conceived from the start. Dang. Turn around and get back on I-5. If anything...this side trip ate up some time so we don't arrive at the border at too ungodly of an hour. Nope. Wrong. Not the case.

After battling more snow and bad road conditions, we get to the border and decide our story is we're just coming up for the day. Well the border patrol guy was not having any of this. He asked where we were going and I said BC (which made sense in my head bc in Washington we refer to Vancouver, WA as Vancouver...and then Vancouver, BC is just BC)...whoops. I think this is where it all started to go downhill...and he said "its a big province...where exactly are you going?" to which I replied, Vancouver. Then he kept asking us where we were staying, and where exactly we were going...and I just kept saying "around." Its a day trip...we're not staying anywhere and we're just going to do whatever we want. He didn't like this one bit. He made me roll down the back window, bc its tinted, to make sure we weren't hiding anything? I guess. He then asked if we were carrying any "firearms or weapons" and I didn't hear so I said..."fire-able (as in able to fire...not a weapon related to fire...ok now we're clear) weapons?"...again he did not take kindly to this. He re-enunciated his question and I told him we had no such items. His final question was "have you slept at all?" and w/o thinking I responded with this gem..."yea i slept before I came up here." OMG. He hates us so bad now. Then he handed me a piece of paper and told us to park up to the left and go inside. Perfect. We're being detained. Sierra was shaking her head at me for failing to get us passed (I think I've been going with past...but I just realized that's wrong...past is "in the past" and passed is "we drove passed"...shoot....sorry) w/o incident.

This is the first time I've been detained. I have no idea what to expect. I guess she'd been detained before...but its hard to say what it'll entail at 5am on a Sunday morning. Ugh. At this point though...we're technically in Canada (I think)...so we made it and in doing so physically visited the last country from the aforementioned country list. Um. Yea sure. I guess the other countries were "visited" but I was actually in Canada...so ha. And stuff.

Eventually another man calls us over and asks a few questions...where do you live?...where do you work?...how long have you known each other?....what are you doing here?....etc. We sit back down. Then he calls me over and asks me to empty my pockets, lift up my shirt (so he can see my waistline...to ensure my claim of "no weapon" is still true) and then wants to see the tops of both my socks (ok I get it but wow). Asks me if I've ever been in trouble before with the law...been arrested...anything like that. Nope. He looks through my wallet...at every credit card...through the cash (bc one of the questions at the border was are you carrying $10,000 or more in any currency) and then tells me I can sit down...but keeps the car key...so that he can go out and inspect the car. Nothing there? Really? Maybe that's bc we're not hiding anything and your freaking uber-investigative border patrol man caught me so off guard and intimidated me like no other...that I answered nervously and sounded more suspect that I actually was. BLAME CANADA INDEED.

Sierra's turn. He's digging through her purse and finds her pepper spray. He then proceeds to tell her that pepper spray is considered a firearm in Canada, and its not allowed. WTH?! Yea. So he has to confiscate it. I guess he kept moving it further and further away from her and he continued to ask her questions and inspect her items. Weird. He lets her sit back down. After a little bit he calls her back up to sign a form, which states she gave him permission to destroy the pepper spray. LOL. I guess he gave her the benefit of the doubt that she didn't know pepper spray wasn't allowed (which she did not know) and so she wasn't in any trouble. Good. That was about the only break we caught. We then called me over and told me we were free to enter the country. Sweet. Another detour...only 30 minutes this time. So now its 5:30am and we're in Canada. Shibby.

Head into the country towards BC, but decide that's kind of far way so maybe we'll just stop in Surrey (foreign cities!!) and see what's open. Um. We get kind of lost. Not sure where we are...but everything we pass is closed. Hmmm. Well...probably should just head back then. Turn around. Don't see a sign for Seattle so we end up driving passed (ah!) where we originally turned off the highway...bc we saw a Seattle sign on our way into the town. Um. If I confused you just now...don't worry...its not that important. Ok. So we're back on the highway towards the border. We get there and its this sweet old dude. Nice guy. Asks us where we're from and how long we've been in Canada...

"Uhhh...about 20 minutes? "
"Wait what?"
"Yea. We had this crazy idea to come up for the day but got here and lost all our enthusiasm so we decided to just head back home."
"And they admitted you into the country?
"Yea."
"So what time did you leave to come up here?"
"3am"
"So you drove up in the middle of the night...why don't you want to stay now?"
"Everything is closed."

And the guy just looked at us like we were crazy and told us to move on. He was hilarious. The look on his face was priceless...kind of like "WTF...you kids are crazy." Oh man he was great. Wish we could have had him going into the country...oh well.

So now its roughly 6am and we're headed back for home. Hopefully no more detours, and we can be back in Seattle for some breakfast around 8am....and then hopefully one of our roommates will wake up...see we're both gone and call us to see what's going on. (Now I get ahead of the timeline here...but neither of them called...which was too bad bc we were both hoping one of them would...would've been HI-larious. Oh man.) Still not too tired yet, and feel good about getting back home to sleep. We both have to pee but for whatever reason forget to stop off to take care of that...probably bc we hit a freaking snowstorm. I'm talking GI-NORMOUS flakes the size of dollar bills. Seriously...ok well not that big...but they were huge. Now the roads are covered in snow & probably ice...so getting home will now take longer bc we slow down to be safer. A lot of good this did.

So we're going along nice and smooth and up ahead I see a semi truck in front of us, but well enough ahead, in the right lane. In the left lane was another car...about 30-40 feet behind the truck...but in the other lane. As we approached the truck I tried to slow down slowly...so as not to hit the truck or spin out of control by skidding on the ice. Feelin' like I have it all under control when this stupid other car decides to change lanes behind the truck...with no blinker...and effectively cut us off (there was a still a good amount of distance between us but bc of the inclement weather conditions this was like cutting someone off on the freeway by a few inches)...so now I have a car a lot closer to me than the truck was and I can tell I'm not going to be able to stop in time w/o hitting the breaks too hard....so I try and change lanes as carefully as possible to continue slowing down and miss this car at the same time. I was able to miss the car...but in my attempt to change lanes the car started to skid. I did my best to steer into the skid and regain control before the car spun out of control. Nope. The road was so slick that was soon as I tried to attempt to right the car...the back end spun out to the left...then back to the right...and the whole car followed to the right and the front end started to come back around but at that point we were off to the left side of the road and had skidded to a halt in a ditch. A small ditch...thankfully. Somehow the car didn't stall and was still running. I turned it off and made sure Sierra was ok. She said she was fine but looked visibly shaken. Understandable.

***RELATED SIDE STORY***In December of 2006 I was driving with a friend over to Spokane to meet up with some old college friends. This was right after the big windstorm we had. So it was wet and cold out...and had been really windy the night before. Roads seemed fine. Nope. Wrong again. I went to change lanes just like any normal person would...and hit an icy patch or something that caused the car to start skidding. The genius that I am....I hit the brakes and this only makes things worse. We ended up doing about an 1100 degree rotation in the car...across all four lanes of I-90 and back. It all happened so fast but wow was it freaky. The car stalled out and we were angled towards the right. How did that happen...I was only changing lanes? Wow. Thankfully there was no absolutely no traffic (and it was only 8am so there very well could have been more traffic) and we were able to start back up and continue on our way. Still crazy to think about...three full rotations in my car and then some. Dang. So while this most recent "Canadian" spin out wasn't as "bad" it reminded me of this occasion and made me realize how much I now fiercely hate driving in snow or any kind of inclement weather.

Now did the guy who cut us off slow or stop after making us wipe out? NO. WHAT AN ASS. We were both livid. We were able to get back on the road and were looking for the next exit. Get off at a rest stop...and the guy (no wait it was a woman!) who cut us off also pulled into the rest stop. Paid us no attention at all. Figures. We get out, expecting the worst...and the car appears to be fine. Its dark and snowing...but there's no visible body damage...no dents...scrapes...scratches...nothing....nothing but a lot of mud all over the side of the car and stuck in the rims. Whew. Pee and come back and remove the lodged dirt with a stick. Ok. That was pretty awful but we're ok and we'll just take it real slow.

After about 10 minutes I feel that something still isn't right so we pull off again. The front passenger tire is flat. Great. Get in the trunk and she has a full size spare. Good. Um...how do you get the jack out? Uh...uh....oh...you twist this and push and pull and its out. Took way too long and it made me feel really stupid. Put it down and get the car up. Start on the lug nuts with the lug wrench and see a cop pull up near where we were parked (in this little parking lot). We figure he'd come by to make sure we were ok. Nope. You gotta be kidding me...I mean yes we had it under control but still. I guess it was a-hole driver morning or something. Get all the lug nuts off except one...which is round. What? How the hell do you get a round lug nut off? I guess you need a special key. Shoot. This car is fairly new for her still...new enough that she's not had to deal with this before and isn't even sure if she has the key. At least its NOT SNOWING...oh wait it was. Thankfully tho she found the key and I was able to get the tire off. Get the new one one. And we're back in business. I'm dirty. Cold. Tired. Exhausted. She decides to drive.

Get back to Marysville (last city...thank God!) and it feels like its driving funny. Great. Get off bc there is a Schwab right off the freeway. Oh wait...they're closed on Sundays. Perfect. She decides its fine and it was just the ice/snow on the road that was causing it to feel funny. Get back on the freeway and make it back to my place. WOW! That didn't go anything like we planned. But we're back...and safe...and the car seems to be driving fine again. I go in and get ready to head to bed...but am going to stay up until she texts me to let me know she got home safely. While I'm waiting Dan wakes up and asks me why I'm up so early. HA! I tell him I haven't gone to sleep yet...WHAT!? Yea....I just got back. He looks confused. Back from where? Wait...I don't have a car and his keys were in his room which was locked. Oh wait...he remembers Sierra was here and had a car. His no longer confused and only slightly shocked I'm still awake...then I tell him all of this and the shock returns to his face. Not only did I go to Canada but we spun out on the freeway and got a flat tire. He thinks its one of the craziest stories he's ever heard..and I agree.

Little while later I get my text from Sierra. Home and safe. Good. Tho now I'm not tired bc I'm all jacked up again from telling my story to Dan. Great. Watch a little TV then finally fall asleep around 9:40am...and set my alarm for 12:30 so as not to sleep all day and not be able to sleep come night. Got up around 1:00 or so and that was that. Met my mom, sister, brother, aunt & g-ma (well my mom came and picked me up bc I still have no car) for birthday (sister & g-ma's) dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory. Delicious. Makes me even more tired.

Come back home and struggle to stay awake until now...10:43pm on Sunday evening. Some adventure. Its kind of funny, and exciting now bc we're both ok and as far as we know there's been no permanent damage to anything...except maybe our fondness of Canada (lol...that was never there tho)...still don't want to experience anything like that ever again.

Damn. This postponed the final Vegas entries...hopefully I can get to those tomorrow...if I can stay awake :)

1 comment:

Sean said...

Thought I would leave a comment so you know I enjoy reading your blog; epic length posts and all. Driving in snow, ice, a datsun, rain or anything like that sucks. I try to avoid it if at all possible. In other news, get back to your vegas posts. I like 'em, they get me excited to go. Plus I need something to do while I'm at work :)