The flight from Emerald City to brennabat's hometown on Thursday was delayed by a couple of hours, but otherwise uneventful. Brenna met me at the airport, and we took a taxi to the car rental place (I was traumatized by calling an airport rental car company for rates once, and have never tried another. I really ought to, one of these days.) We talked and went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner and went home to talk some more. I fell asleep at 9PM or so, as I was not yet adapted to my new time zone.
We both woke up around 5AM. I reckoned that we needed to leave at 10AM to catch our target ferry, but we might as well leave sooner and make a nice leisurely of trip of it. We loitered about getting ready. At 9AM, I abruptly realized I'd miscalculated on the time needed. "We need to leave ... Now." We were in the car five minutes later. That left us about 4 hours and 40 minutes to make what was, according to MapQuest, a 4 hour and 20 minute drive. No time to stop for lunch on the way.
The first half of the trip, in terms of miles, was on an interstate, and went quickly. The next half was on a winding rural highway up the coast, and took nearly twice as long. The coastal highway route was gorgeous. I wish someone else could've driven me down it. :) I'm looking forward to a more leisurely return trip, so that I can enjoy the views more.
The ferry ride was also a lot of fun for me. I buzzed about on the ferry, taking pictures of Brenna and the scenery. Unfortunately, Brenna wasn't feeling well for the trip. We'd made a pit stop on the road and bought some junkfood, which hadn't agreed with her. She was a little under the weather for the rest of the day, but had mostly recovered by the time we reached short.
We did, indeed, need our birth certificates at customs as well as photo ID. I'd made sure (double- and triple-checking this at multiple points) that we'd both brought ours. Even so, customs held us on the far side for half an hour, well after everyone else had been processed and let go. Based on the questions they asked, I think it's because I was from halfway across the country, Brenna from the coast, we were visiting a local, and we'd all met on the Internet. Because, you know, only terrorists meet on the Internet. If this had been our first visit to strangess, there's a chance they may've sent us back, I'm told. Fah.
I rather dread customs on re-entering the US. The delay on the last trip at US customs had been some three hours last time, simply from the length of the line -- and that was before 9/11. Ah well, we'll see.
One more adventure awaited us: Strangess had given us directions from the ferry terminal we'd used last time.
We took a completely different ferry this time, and came in to downtown Victoria, rather than Sidney, as she'd expected. Given the hassle at customs, I wasn't about to let on to them that we didn't know where we were going. As we pulled out of the lot, Brenna asked, "So where are we going?"
"To find a pay phone, because I don't know where we are. But, hey, this looks kind of familiar, doesn't it?" I said, driving along the bay.
"It does. Oh! I remember that hotel!"
"And that's the wax museum! We have been here before. Don't we turn left at this light?"
"Yes. And the next turn is a right."
Brenna and I had visited Strangess once before, nearly three years ago, for two days. We'd been to a Japanese restaurant, the wax museum, and a local mall. That was just about the total of our experience with the city. I was highly amused and delighted that we managed to navigate our way, almost unaided, back to Strangess's house. (We did get lost briefly, and when we got back to the right general area, I stopped at the next service station for directions. But at that point, we were only four blocks away, and would've gotten to the right spot if we'd only kept going the way we'd intended to).
Strangess was as happy to see us as we were to see her. I've finally met Kirzen, who is a deceptively large man, a wonderful fellow, and an excellent cook. We went out for groceries soon after arriving, and he prepared a scrumptious meal of spaghetti with meat sauce, Caesar salad, and garlic toast for us, plus one of their housemates, Mike, and two other friends, Emily and Zack.
After dinner, we played many many rounds of the Great Dalmuti, and finally went to bed ... um ... sometime rather late.