Thai and IPA
Sunday, June 6 2010
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, New York
It was a good thing that Gretchen wasn't sleeping well last night, because I'd set the alarm on my iPhone for 2:45 pm instead of am. And we had an early morning flight to catch down in Newark, New Jersey.
It didn't take us long to get our shit together and get on the road. We took our car to E-Z Way Parking, a private car parking service which exploits the substantial difference between what it costs to store a car near the Newark Airport and what the Newark Airport charges to do so. Of course, to run such a competitor, one has to provide shuttle transportation to and from the airport and help people find your non-airport location. All of these details seemed to have been ironed out, and we easily made it to our flight on time. Because we were flying Continental and Newark is a Continental hub, our flight to Portland, Oregon, would be non-stop.
Somehow Gretchen had come into some Ambien, a pharmaceutical sleep aid, and she swallowed a pill of it soon after we arrived at our gate. I'm used to muscle relaxers, our usual means of making transcontinental flights reasonably comfortable, but not Ambien. Within fifteen minutes, Gretchen was fast asleep on the floor over near the wall. I had trouble getting her to her feet once our plane started boarding, and once I did, her speech was slurred beyond easy comprehension. At one point she managed to successfully ask if the floor was supposed to be moving. It wasn't supposed to be and it wasn't.
Once we were seated, I took a muscle relaxer, but it didn't end up having much of an effect. I don't think I slept at all during the flight to Portland.
But with the new MSI Wind U123 laptop, I could putter away at my leisure, not having to worry about battery life. I could listen to music and type away (or even, if I so chose, work on my database visualizer, since I'd installed a complete web development environment and had a built-in test server running as a service).
The last time we'd been in Portland, the weather had been absolutely perfect, with sunny skies and mild temperatures. But when we landed today at the Portland airport, skies were overcast and a drenching downpour was ongoing. Gretchen turned to me and glumly said that we should have waited until later in the season. (That had been the original plan, but then she'd found out that the Sadies would be playing in Portland in early June.)
Our first stop after landing was the satellite location of our car rental place, Thrifty Rent-a-Car. Gretchen had chosen them because, as their name implies, they are cheap. And indeed they are cheap, but not in the way one wants a car company to be. When we found out that our "compact car" would be a PT Cruiser, Gretchen raised an objection, saying that nowhere on Thrifty's website had there been mention of PT Cruisers. We'd been stuck with a PT Cruiser last time we'd visited the Pacific Northwest and had been underwhelmed by its fuel efficiency. (This raises the following question: why do car rental businesses only carry American cars when cheaper, better, more reliable Japanese alternatives exist?)
In the end we decided to spend an extra ten dollars a day to rent a Ford Fusion, but having to do so put dark little clouds over our heads (in addition to the broader layer of stratus from which rains continued to fall). Never again would we be renting from Thrifty.
Google maps screwed up our drive out to the place we'd be spending the next few day's, Gilley's house in the northeast. By the time we arrived, we were cranky from bad weather, bad car rental, and low blood sugar. But then Gilley gave us bagels and coffee and then the rain even slacked up a little.
After I took a long nap down in the [REDACTED] basement, the three of us went out for dinner at a vegetarian Thai restaurant called
Vege Thai. Since we were in the Pacific Northwest, it seemed prudent to have an India Pale Ale with my dinner (as did Gilley). As expected, it was a better IPA than can be obtained in the East.
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