Archive for July, 2012

Disease-Covered Puget Sound

Posted in Travel with tags , on July 24, 2012 by Noise Road

Our favourite patient, a display of patience

Disease-covered Puget Sound

– Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle

Noise Road came of age musically in 1991.  And so Seattle is a spiritual home.   It is a rare week when I don’t put on Alice in Chain’s Jar of Flies or one of 27 Melvins records that I own.

So it was with great excitement that I boarded a Fiat back to Seattle…  for my first Major League Baseball game!

Noise Road’s first experience of North America was on Xmas Eve in Seattle nearly a decade ago…   It is well documented on this blog that the combination of big holiday meals and long-haul flights leaves my body violently oscillating between chronic constipation and explosive diarrhoea.  On that first night in Seattle, 9 years ago, I managed to block a toilet after a chicken parmigiana called the believer.  I made a believer of that porcelain.  To me and my brother’s great embarrassment, we had to call in the hotel staff on Xmas day after we failed to unblock the toilet.  The bathroom was flooded, dude…

9 years later, a massive feed of tacos, enchiladas and burritos after the trans-atlantic flight recalled those infamous pacific northwest stomach issues… but enough of your potty talk.

Whilst I failed to block my lovely hosts’ toilet, my body was still weirded out by the time difference between Glasgow and Vancouver.  I was a little fatigued, but we were up early, and on the road down to Seattle for the Mariners game.

I have had painful experiences with the US border control.  My family members have had worse.  So, I had concerns about crossing the US border 24 hours after flying into Vancouver.  So you’re an Australian who works in the UK, who flew into Canada 24 hours ago and now wishes to cross into US?…  but border control was cool.  They even made corny jokes.

After a bit over 3 hours, The Count, ‘Stan, Lisa and I arrived at Safeco Field.  From our obscured-view, moderately-priced seats, we overlooked the Seattle skyline.  This is an obscured view?

I’ve watched enough American TV to know that we needed beer and hot dogs to fully experience MLB.  So we wanted to do as the Romans do, but the line for the traditional hot dog and cheap domestic beer was so long and the first pitch was imminent…  so we hit the boutique booth for a bratwurst and a microbrew…  No matter where we went, it was going to be extortionist prices.  They’ve got you trapped there.  They know you need beer.  They know you need a hot dog.  They can charge you whatever they want.

The national anthem started while our man was making our dogs.  You have to be careful to conceal your surprise at the overtness of American patriotism.  It’s not like Oz or the UK – people don’t just mumble along to the national anthem like kids forced to sing a hymn in church.

The tenor was selling the star spangled banner.  I was genuinely digging his passion, until I turned back to check on why my hot dog was taking so long.  My dog man had his hot-dog-dealing hand over his heart.  The hand that should have been dealing my dog was held over his heart for the anthem…  get your priorities right man.  I need my dog.

Not long after, sitting in the outer with a hot dog and a tasty brew, we witnessed a grand slam.  Unfortunately it was for the LA Dodgers.  The home team got flogged.  The Dodgers already had 2 runs in the inning.  With the bases loaded, they hit a home run, a grand slam.  A rare sight indeed in MLB.  One of the Count’s mates said he has been to 20 games and had never seen a grand slam.  I’ve been to one game for one grand slam.

We had to get back to Vancouver that night.  So there was only time for a quick feed before we headed back up north.  I still managed to squeeze in getting asked for ID at the tender age of 32, with a receding, greying hairline.

There’s nothing like a Cheyenne sunrise,

To make us has-beens feel too old

– Cheyenne Sunrise, the Hold Steady

…  But this has-been has a busy week ahead – hiking in the Vancouver mountains, the Count’s 30th birthday party…  and would it be a Noise Road sojourn without gigs?  Corrosion of Conformity and Primus!…  Vancouver!  Let’s do this!

North West Squalls

Posted in Travel with tags , on July 24, 2012 by Noise Road

Disbelief, this weather falls;

Callous, North-West squalls

– Gypsy Kids, Narrows

There is an old Billy Connolly riff that goes something like “There are two seasons in Scotland…  June and Winter”.  At the start of what we laughingly call “Summer” in Glasgow, Noise Road traded in Atlantic North West squalls for Pacific Northwest squalls.

Yeah, it’s fine

Walk down the line

Leave our rain,

A cold trade for warm sunshine

– No Excuses, Alice in Chains

A 9-hour flight is a long flight for one week in Vancouver.  Not for the Count’s 30th it ain’t!  We’re Australians.  It takes us hours to fly to the nearest town in Australia.  It’s a four hour flight to leave the country from our hometown.  We laugh at a 9-hour “long haul”.

Noise Road’s good friend and The Count’s lovely missus, uzbeciSTAN, and I conspired to surprise the Count.  I sat down on Stan’s couch, while she went into their bedroom to rouse the Count.  After 3 years separated by oceans and continents a misty eyed reunion of the great Adelaide mates occurred.

Tears that soak a callous heart

– I Stay Away, Alice in Chains

After a quick de-stenching shower, the power trio of the Count, Stan and I, headed downtown for sushi and a walk along the sea wall.

Making the most of the hire car, we headed up the spectacular sea to sky highway that links Vancouver to the Whistler ski fields….  You look down at heavily treed islands and peninsulas in a deep blue bay.  Less than an hour from the city and we are at the base of a massive waterfall.  Welcome to Canada.

We made further use of the car for a road trip down to Seattle, a spiritual home of Noise Road – but that’s a riff for another day…