05 August, 2007

wine tasting and hallucinations

Walla Walla is a very nice place. Staying here for the weekend with friends of mine, and from what I see of it, there are a lot of things that resemble some type of American ideal that one could envision. College town. Lots of character. A real altstadt (old part of downtown, as they would say in Germany). Many charming homes. And believe it or not, it's sort of affordable!

My friends just bought an amazing home on a corner, with a beautiful yard, full of vegetables, fruits, trees, shade, white picket fence, and an 1800 square foot beautiful house built in 1904. And what they paid for it is 25% less than what you would pay for a complete piece of trash shack in the worst part of Seattle. True, they live in Walla Walla, and not Seattle. But this is the trade-off that needs to be made now in this country. Unless you have a massive income, you cannot have this in Seattle. In fact, you probably cannot have this in Seattle regardless of income because it's sitting on a half-acre lot. Anyway, it's been a great visit out here, and it's nice to see that people can still find something worth having, in a place that is worth living.

The big "activity" yesterday was wine-tasting. As you probably know, Walla Walla is one of the up-and-coming wine regions in the country. And there are so many wineries, you couldn't possibly visit all of them. I think we visited 5 of them. And there was some good wine. Wine tasting is a bit of a strange physiological experience because you are never drinking more than about an ounce of any one thing, but it is easy to drink like 15-20 of these one-ounce glasses and after 3 hours, you find yourself feeling "not 100% right". It is different than going "drinking". Partly because the dose is so evenly distributed, and perhaps because the varieties of different wine might affect the way you absorb it? I have no idea. I am probably imagining reasons that don't exist. But when you combine 95 degree heat, with wine and not a whole lot of other liquid, it makes for a strange feeling.

Felt sluggish and kind of out of it for the remainder of the day, though we had a really good day. And once again, there was a night of bizarre dreaming. But this time it's even too bizarre to talk about here in this blog! If you can believe that! Not sure why the weird dreams this weekend at Walla Walla... but probably has something to do with sleeping on an air mattress in a new place. Messes with my equilibrium. Or maybe it was the wine...

Today ends the Walla Walla getaway, and it's back to Seattle through 4.75 hours of solo speeding. I'm not a big fan of it, and I don't know if I feel better about the long drive to get back home, or the long drive that takes me away. There's a very different emotional element to the trips that take you toward versus away from home. One direction is anxiety, excitement, anticipation, apprehension, curiosity. The other direction (for me) is usually fatigue, reflection, and maybe a bit of a let-down. I don't know why, but the end of a trip always leaves me feeling a bit empty. Because it always implies going back to something. Work, a house that isn't completely organized, the same situations or worries that we decided to put on hold when we departed. A lot of times, of course, we are going back to something good - something that we miss. So there's an extra few emotions that I forgot... anticipation, excitement, relief, on the way home too. There's just something about the traveling that feels very reflective for me. And I tend to get even further lost in the depths of my own thoughts than usual. We'll see what today's drive brings.

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