Way way way back in the dark ages of the internet when I built my first webpage (1995), I was struggling for content. There were not a lot of web pages, personal or otherwise and I had no model so I just went with what my current passions were. I had been to New Zealand in 1994 and again in 1995 so I put the New Zealand flag on my page and a link to the New Zealand national anthem (because linking to music was cool) and wrote about how much I loved the country and why.
Meanwhile over in Dunedin, New Zealand there was this dorky banking geek to spent his discretionary time scouring the internet for anything he could find. He was an Alta Vista (the first web search engine) ninja and soon he found my web page. And sent me an email and we started swapping emails right and left. He was (and, actually still is) younger and single and an only child. He'd been to Australia a that time, I think once. Otherwise, hardly off the South Island of New Zealand.
After a couple of years of emails he came to visit. We had a great time going here and there doing stuff. He was bundle of never ending questions about how we do this and why we do that and do we do the other thing. It was great fun. We continued to swap lots of emails until he tried internet dating and nearly off the bat met this really fun girl named Julie. They got married and he brought her over to see the U.S. and meet me.
That was three visits ago. Julie is great fun. Actually they both are. Excellent company. Interesting conversationalists. Up for anything and they have a good time doing whatever is happening. They are model visitors.
They generally come about every three years. They usually go to several different cities - they have favorites and/or discover new and always work Seattle into the mix. This time they started off in Vancouver, and then went to Montreal and then Toronto and Chicago. They will go on to Salt Lake City Saturday and then San Francisco and then home in a couple of weeks. (5 week trip total.)
Today I met them at their hotel and we walked down to Pike Place Market where we crawled around and had a great breakfast and then walked over to the new part and then it was tourist time and we got out of there. Julie wanted some unfettered shopping time on her own. So Scott and I walked down to my house where we spent a lovely afternoon chatting and playing on computers and chatting and doing nothing with our feet up. Julie showed up about 4 after a wonderful shopping afternoon.
We then all went down to Occidental park just down the street where they lay out hand made goods for sale on the first Thursdays of every month.
Then on to dinner. I had written out a nice note for the people at Cheesecake Factory explaining that it was Julie's 60th birthday and could they please bring a birthday surprise for her. I had told Scott I was doing this.
We got to Cheesecake Factory and this guy stuck his head out and said "We have a water problem so we're closed. Sorry." Fuck. Then I remember a nice restaurant up the street that I had not been to in a looooong time but it used to be quite nice. We went there (Palomino's) and asked for a table for 3 for dinner. As the hostess was showing us our table, she and I were ahead of Julie and Scott and she asked me quietly if we were there for a special occasion. I said Actually we were that Julie was here from New Zealand and celebrating her 60th birthday. She said she'd take care of it.
We each had a different drink and a different dinner and they each were amazingly tasty and nice and really all together spectacular. And then, without a word, the waitress brings a giant creme brule with fresh fruit and an elegant, tall lit candle and three spoons. It was a huge fucking hit. Both Julie and Scott were surprised and delighted. It was just perfect. And a major memory for all of us. Thank you, Palomino.
Now I'm home watching the Mariners lose again. Tomorrow is more shopping. This time north to Alderwood Mall for one last local economic boost before they head on to discover what the Land of Mormon's is all about.