(NOTE: realize have been remiss in failing to identify “pages” which contain add’l photos of certain locations. These “posts” generally cover only part of pictures taken. A bit more about a place might come from checking out more photos)
MON: In a giant leap of faith, or a horrible business decision, Trung offers me a mini-(well, micro-) course in hotel management and heads off to Port Townsend/WA, and changes me from relaxed, laid-back, chilled-out hosteler to stressed-out, anxiety-prone hotelier, in a single gesture. Manage (with great aid from patient “clients”) to get credit card payments posted, guests into the right rooms, and field phone inquiries without my anticipated heart attack.
TUES: By the time Trung returns, guests have NOT revolted, police have NOT jailed me for fraud, building remains standing, and, if her bankers are perplexed by my financial efforts in her behalf, our recent “anti-banker” attitude has intimidated their retaliation.
WED: Independence Day begins on a high note, with an early morning hug courtesy of Tracie-from-Seattle. (Sidebar: T-F-S is directly responsible for a major decision to tour Washington’s North Cascades. We met at Seaside hostel a few years back, and are mutually surprised to find each other visiting this time. Her description then, of WA-20 as a T/Blues candidate, gestated over time and is now a central part of my itinerary).
Later, as old Army habits die hard, find my body stiffening to attention, and my eyes following our flag, during Seaside’s modest 4th-of-July parade. As their VFW float passed, a grey-haired, buzz-cut man in an insignia-ed blue jumpsuit, slips over, inquires if I’d “served”. At my reply, “US Army”, he offers a “Thank you for your service” which brings proud tears to my eyes (and, my heart lurches for all those no-longer-young men, who, serving in a REAL war [i. e., Vietnam], needed those compliments and were denied them).
Later, with another frequent guest, Aussi John Sandler, we track down Ruth Sherwood, who once offered such delight as hostel manager. With her gorgeous grandson firmly attached to grandma’s shoulder, we reminisce in Seaside’s Historical Museum at which today’s pre-fireworks celebration is held.
Head downtown and am treated to an inspiring “practice” by a drum-and-bugle corps: that they can play and do “close-order drill” simultaneously, draws me to their concert an hour later. (For a fuller look, check out Seaside “page”)
Fireworks are fireworks, so, as darkness falls, youngsters stare goggle-eyed as explosions color Seaside’s beach. Inevitable “ooohs” and “aaahs” accompany multi-hued star-bursts. Post-event, as people wander along the Promenade, huge beach fires, small rockets, and sparklers challenge increasing darkness.
THU > MON: settle into a routine of playing “hostel host” each afternoon as Trung rests or does her chores. Still manage to find a few “odd jobs” (fix a shower; straighten a toolshed) to get my “practical man” license renewed (it was a basement-cleaning effort on my first visit which Trung appreciated enough to invite me back).