Day Trip to Washington

Tuesday, the 8th, was my 3-week anniversary (weekaversary?) of being here. I had my Nexus interview in the morning down in Blaine (the first city across the border in WA) at 8:30. Thankfully, things went a lot better than they did the first time! I am now a “trusted traveller.” 🙂
(I was also told that I am officially considered a “temporary Canadian resident” which sounds fancy (trés trés fancy) and means that I have loads of homework to do because the regulations of what American can bring to Canada vs. what a Canadian can bring into Canada (and the amount of time I’m gone determines which one I’d be considered) are different. Also, the regulations on what I can bring into Canada vs. what I can bring into America are different.)

Originally I’d been under the impression that they issued the cards the same day and that you couldn’t use them for the first 24 hours so I planned to spend the night in the Evergreen State. I think maybe that used to be case but nowadays they mail it to you 7-10 days later. (I’ll make a separate post under Caveat Expat about what the actual interview process was like.) I decided not to spend the night in Washington, especially since it was going to rain the next day effectively ruining my ferry to the San Juan Islands plan anyhow, and just head to Tacoma and Olympia.

I believe that's Mt. Rainier--in JUNE.

First stop: food. (How surprising.)

Southern Kitchen in Tacoma, WA

They have quite a few of these vintage posters up on the walls

He has yet to steer me wrong. Long live Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

I had a hard time deciding between fried chicken and catfish

Words I could use to describe this: crunchy, juicy, spicy, cheesy, succulent, yummy, comforting, homey and a total letdown (mashed potatoes only)

A cross between cornbread and a pancake. Good plain or slathered with butter and honey.

There was enough sweet tea here to put out a small house fire

I can’t even explain how good this was. How necessary to who I am. Everything about it. And the service! My food was ready in less than 10 minutes and piping hot! I thought the chicken must have been cooked in a volcano in Hades. I couldn’t finish it all in one sitting. I can’t wait to go back! 🙂

After my meal, I headed south on the 5 to the Monarch Contemporary Art and Sculpture Museum outside of Olympia. I think the city is called Tenino. Once you get off the freeway, you travel down a very long country road.

This is the road to get there. 12 miles of this. Notice there are no streetlights and no cell reception. There are horses, cows and people selling fresh eggs though.

Roads like this freak me out. No matter what state (or country for that matter) I’m in, the farther away we get away from the city, the more concerned I get about all of us being on the same page. Do they know about the Emancipation Proclamation here? Is sexual assault a hobby? I’ve got this 27-year streak going of not being called a n—–r or being raped going for me and I’d like to keep it that way.

I did pass a house with a car in the driveway with an Obama sticker so that calmed me down slightly.

The place was interesting (and free!) once I got there but because it’s so far off the beaten path I can’t say that I see myself going back.

They reminded me of "Under the Sea"

The closer I got to this one, the more it freaked me out. The teeth are REALLY well done and they seem like real people who got on Medusa's bad side.

No, I didn't ring it

They don't call it the Evergreen State for nothing

I came back to Vancouver later than night and I was a little nervous about how the border crossing might go even though I have a Visitor Record stapled into my passport that allows me to be here until August 1st, so I brought all my paperwork with me, just in case. It ended up being a non-event, though there was this funny moment when the guard asked me what I’d done in WA and I said that I went to a really good soul food place in Tacoma,

“What kind of food?”
“Soul food.”
[Slightly confused stare]
“It’s an American thing.”

We both chuckled. He did ask me about what had happened when I tried to cross the border the first time and I explained and then he sent me on my way. I think the whole thing took about 5 mins.

I know I’ve only been here 3 weeks but I definitely felt a difference being in Canada vs. being in the States. For one thing, you drive a lot slower in Canada so I was repeatedly finding myself 60 mph on the freeway because 100 kmh, the equivalent, is the fastest you can go here–at least, that I’ve seen. There was also a dual sense of feeling less safe but also more relaxed because I wasn’t constantly converting kilometers to miles or celsius to fahrenheit or “oo” to “aw.” (E.g. “soory” vs. “sawry”)

It’s funny how much of a mental shift occurs based on an imaginary line in the ground.

About J.

A former twentysomething with a head full of curls and heart full of questions wondering: when we get to nirvana, will there be food?
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