And so the adventure begins — amidst an ample supply of water, both falling on our heads and gliding beneath us on our 30-minute ferry ride from Bainbridge Island to the Olympic Peninsula. Our destination: Nico’s boat that’s a house, parked docked in the quaint, quiet, Norwegian-tinged town of Poulsbo (pronounced “Pawlsbow”). Or, a “shitty tourist trap/old lady town” as Nico described it. Either way, we’re in for an adventure — even if it’s the latter, as we reside in a town that regularly baits and traps the least elusive of creatures: the tourist.
Oh Seattle, soggy city of my heart! Before we even made it to the peninsula, my childhood friend Nini swooped us up and we landed in Laurelhurst, near the U (University) District. Here, in her cozy basement apartment, Tyler proceeded to nap on the couch and we took up our longest standing, nerdiest pasttime: creating lists of our favorite things, this time while nibbling on sugar cookie dough. Nini and I have been nerding out in such fashions ever since we became fast friends at age 11 in the booming metropolis (not) of Lakeview, Oregon.
On Sunday morning, we jumpstarted our two-month-plus vacation with a visit to Portage Bay, a restaurant with huge portions and a pancake toppings bar with vats of whipped cream the size of tugboats. And pitchers of grapefruit mimosas, like the one ordered by our friend Elizabeth, who now resided in Seattle but met us first in Fort Collins, Colorado. Our waitress later informed us she put two bottles of champagne in the pitcher. It made sense, from how it infused my entire body with a bubbly sense of freedom to the way it erased every objection about day drinking. Wait… were there any to begin with?
Before our charmed stay among on Nico’s boat, the 1940s era Iron Feather, we visited boatyards full of vessels in various degrees of dilapidation in Poulsbo. We met Aaron in the midst of steaming strips of white oak to replace the ribs on his vintage tugboat. His scruffy, little white dogs barked and ran around, adding enthusiasm to a gray afternoon.
On Halloween, we wandered the streets of Poulsbo, receiving a slew of amused glances. Why? Because Nico caroused in a fully vintage Navy uniform and blonde bob — she looked like a pinup girl. She also lent me a velvety dress suited for a vampire and pulled out a black wig I’d left with her years ago when I’d been zombie Wonder Woman.
Halloween night we spent almost exclusively at The Triple Door in downtown Seattle. We showed up early to imbibe and Nico, Tyler and I almost had the place to ourselves. Soon enough the place was jampacked with zombies, slutty school girls, werewolves and the like, all jamming to the 90s hip hop under the care of an energetic live DJ on a corner stage. Then the Grim Reaper showed up; wait, actually it was Nico’s friend Anya, the shephard’s crook of her Little Bo Peep outfit fittingly eerie in the dim bar light.
At 10, we all filed into the extensive venue section of The Triple Door for a burlesque version of Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas.”
And then some drunken wandering around downtown Seattle in search of a dank, wooden-hued bar with late night food. When we arrived, I inquired about sustenance, my stomach rumbling.
“All we have is beef stew,” said the short bartender, his face tired and awash with stubble.
“We’ll take five,” I said. We played pool until the food arrived and minutes later, every bowl was scraped much, much cleaner than Donald Trump’s mouth.
Now, for the picture version of this story:
Now it’s time to say goodbye and walk the puddled pavement of Seattle. Next time I’ll have to say tom biet, or goodbye in Vietnamese. Tonight we climb aboard our Eva air flight a hair after 2 a.m., after meeting Anne and Kate in the airport. When we wake up, after however much time, we’ll be in Hanoi, Vietnam!