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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wrapping things up

Another weekend, another opportunity to meet up with an old friend from college. In this case, it'd been 27 years since I last saw Andrea, though we'd reconnected in recent years via Facebook. Andrea had come up from Portland to visit a friend living across the water in Port Orchard, and used that opportunity to take the foot ferry over to Bremerton on Sunday morning, where my daughter and I met her at the ferry terminal. We spent the rest of the afternoon having brunch and catching up on various things that had been going on in our lives during the past two-and-a-half decades. I definitely had a wonderful time, and Andrea certainly charmed Amber. The intervening years have been a lot kinder to her than they have to me, as is obvious from the photos below!:

Our time here in Bremerton is coming to an end, for on Wednesday we move out of the apartment where we've been staying for the past month to commence a cross-country trek to our ultimate destination in northern Virginia. Planned stops en route include Yellowstone National Park, Mt. Rushmore and Chicago before we're due to arrive in Falls Church on Labor Day. We've really enjoyed ourselves here spending time with family (as well as getting to catch up with some of my old UC Davis friends), but it's time to move on. I'm not sure if I've been re-acclimatized to the American way of life, but home leave has proven to be a needed detox of sorts after two years in China.

Below are some snapshots of some of our activities of the past week or so...

Pulled pork for lunch at the Sweet and Smokey Diner in downtown Bremerton:

The view of Bremerton's waterfront from Port Orchard:

The foot ferry that operates between Bremerton and Port Orchard:

Her mother would like her home as well:

A Seattle attraction that has appeared on the scene since the last time we were in these parts is the Seattle Great Wheel Ferris wheel. Expensive and too quick in duration, but Amber liked it and the views of the city weren't bad:

The obligatory cheesy souvenir photo:

It turned out that Amber couldn't recall ever visiting Seattle's famous Pike Place Market, so I made sure she would have a new set of memories:

A late breakfast at the market:

One morning we joined my dad for a seaside barbecue get-together put on by his apartment complex for its residents at nearby Lions Park:

Orca have been sighted in these waters in the past, but on this particular day only the geese and gulls were out:

A large granite boulder dumped in Silverdale after it was pushed there from Canada by a 3000-foot thick (914 meters) ice sheet during the last advance of the continental ice sheet around 14,000 years ago:

We returned one evening to Big Beef Creek in Seabeck in hopes of getting a glimpse of the resident bald eagles there, but the scavengers had already retired for the evening. The views across the water more than compensated, however:

On Saturday, we took the ferry from Kingston to Edmonds, then drove to my niece Jamie's home in Marysville on the occasion of her six-year-old son's birthday party. En route we stopped for lunch at a Herfy's Burgers. This is what home leave is all about:

Entertainment was provided by the Reptile Man, who runs a reptile zoo in Monroe. I'm much more comfortable in the presence of pythons and alligators than I am in when confronted with, say, party clowns:

The party was also our last chance to get together in person with my sister (pictured above holding the gator), at least on this particular visit. Hopefully she and my nephew can visit us in Falls Church before we depart for Lithuania next spring. Here we are at the end of the party saying goodbye to Jamie:

My daughter plays near the waterfront in Bremerton after our brunch with Andrea yesterday:

Regulations and warnings at Illahee State Park - could any of these ever be enforced in China or Taiwan? Notice the different languages given on the sign about the toxic clams:

The warming waters of Puget Sound have resulted in an explosion of jellyfish:

Another sunny day, another great view of Mt. Rainier:

Amber pokes at jellyfish that had been washed ashore:

Forget the liberal politics, relaxed lifestyles, the outdoor recreational opportunities or even the caffeine. This is what the Pacific Northwest is really all about:


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