Tukwila Washington, Etc.

August 12, 2013 11:48 – 11:48

I’m in Tukwila, Washington… or Kent, depending on which sign I choose to believe. I choose Tukwila, because it sounds more exotic. This is my second of three mornings at the TownPlace by Marriott. When I saw the building’s profile—and three shirtless guys wandering down the sidewalk—I thought “Okay, maybe one night there, and then move on.” But, the place turned out to be much quieter and much more comfortable than I thought it would be. I’m still not sure what the difference is between Marriott’s Residence and TownPlace properties. Is one higher than the other on the extended stay ladder?

Yesterday, I drove to West Seattle for the 10:30 service at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church. My Garmin didn’t include it as a destination. So, after feeding my Garmin the address, I then asked to see “places of worship” near that address, and the Seattle International Church popped up at that address. So, I’m guessing that’s what used to be in that location. In any case, Rev. Peg Morgan was in the pulpit yesterday, with “Original Sin” as the topic. Actually, the Trayvon Martin murder was the actual topic, and I’m still not sure where original sin comes in. The punch line of the service—what can WE do—seemed to be a suggested boycott of Florida until the Stand Your Ground law is overturned.

There were several interesting aspects WUUC services that I really liked. The first was the fact that we formed an arch using hands and arms across the aisle for the children and teachers as we sang them out to RE. I like how this connects the congregation to the children and teachers in a special way. A second thing that I really liked was the postlude… rather than it being music that everyone tries to talk over and ignore, everyone who wanted to converged at the front of the chapel, gathering more or less around the piano, and sang a closing song. Yesterday, it was Standing on the Side of Love. A third thing I really liked is that the lyrics to all songs were legibly projected onto a screen. Hymnals are available for those who want them for the melody or whatever else. But, not having 150 heads buried in the books contributes to a sense of community, I believe.

I also like their pews better than the individual chairs that MVUC uses. With pews, there is no inflexible distance between people, and you can spread out as needed to accommodate different individuals’ sizes and personal space preferences. This can also be useful during cold and flu season.

After the service, I headed back to the apartment to change into shorts for my afternoon activities. I could’ve worn shorts to the service, but decided on splitting the difference between casual and casualty. Once changed, I set out for Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, near Olympia. En route, I stopped at Wendy’s for a spicy chicken Caesar salad. Having recently seen some video that has forever turned me off of Subway, I think I’ve found my new go-to place for a quick and relatively healthy lunch… at least when I’m not in Zaxby’s territory.

After Wendy’s, I followed Diana’s directions to Nisqually NWR. Arriving in a residential neighborhood, “WTF???” was my reaction. A quick call to Nisqually confirmed that Diana Garmin’s location for the NWR was wrong. So, I plugged in the correct address, and 15 minutes later found me at the refuge. And, a wonderful refuge it is… with a long meandering boardwalk that has a pleasant blend of sun and shade. With temps in the low 70s and low humidity, that blend works. At Huntley Meadows in mid-August, having a 100% shaded alternative is good.

I didn’t see a lot of wildlife in Nisqually, although signs there indicate the presence of many animals… including river otters (which we have in Huntley Meadows) and long-tailed weasels.

I didn’t see either of those—and my squeaking noises didn’t entice any weasels out of hiding. But, I did see a the standard camouflaged frogs, ducks, and even an aggressive squirrel.

After leaving the park, I set a course back to the apartment, with a Safeway as a stop-over. The last coffee I bought, an allegedly medium roast drip-grind “Safeway Select” coffee, turned out to be dark roast perk grind. So, I decided to buy a known quantity—the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. It’s much better.

After arriving back at the apartment, I decided I was hungry for Chinese food, and did some research. The research led me to a place called Szechuan First, and suggested that their hot & sour soup, fried dumplings, and Mongolian beef were dishes at which they excelled. I guess I’ve been spoiled by House of Dynasty. The hot & sour soup was pretty bad… too much black pepper, among other things. And, they didn’t provide any crispy wontons to add some crunch to it. The fried dumplings were pretty good, although their gioza sauce needs work… too oniony and not quite piquant enough. The Mongolian beef was actually pretty good, although not as Mongolian as other Mongolian beef I’ve had.

After dinner, I decided to go out for a walk to top off my daily preferred 8-mile minimum. It turns out that there’s a Costco that’s walking distance from here, so I walked to it, and discovered a nice set of urban trails in the process. Costco was closed, of course, as I expected. But, the purpose wasn’t to shop (I was on foot, and Costco doesn’t carry items in pedestrian-friendly sizes)—it was to walk.

Today, I’m meeting a friend for lunch at Duke’s Chowder House. After that, I’m not sure. I’ll try to find a winery, explore a little of the Olympic Peninsula, revisit Pike Place market, or possibly find another place for a long hike. If I can overcome my morning inertia, I might even take a turn around the block locally before heading off to Alki Beach for lunch.

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