What a Difference in a Week

Sitting here watching the Washington thermometer drop closer and closer to 40 degrees I’m struck by what a difference one can be experiencing in one week. I suppose with today’s ability to travel the fact is that you can experience what I’m talking about in the same day but last week was vacation and so my mind’s reflecting back a bit.


Last Thursday Aimee and I along with three of my brothers and their spouses were nearing the end of a week’s stay on Maui. Today I was trudging off to work in the rain and couldn’t get either one of my sisters or one of the brothers who was on vacation with me to take my phone call when I wanted to grouse about having to walk in the rain. <chuckle>


Last Thursday the day started with loads of family hanging out on a condo lanai with temperatures in the low 80’s. The day progressed to a morning spent at the beach, an afternoon where I went parasailing for the first time and the evening spent at what’s probably Maui’s best luau.


Today it was a walk to the bus in the rain, another typical day at the office and what felt like the first really cold day of fall. Washington isn’t nearly as cold as Wisconsin can be according to the thermometer but at times there’s a dampness to the air that chills you to the bone almost instantly even when the temperature’s not all that low. Hawaii’s sounding pretty good about now.


I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit Hawaii twice in the last four years. Aimee and I along with one brother and his spouse went back in 2004 and enjoyed Hawaii so much that we put together a larger group this time around.


Perhaps it is the fact that most of my life has been spent in climates that have four distinct seasons but both times I’ve been to Hawaii I’ve absolutely loved the weather on the islands. There’s something that triggers instant relaxation. Perhaps it is the gentle ocean breezes, the constant sun, the carefree nature of swimming and floating in the ocean and the general spirit of just go with the flow that permeates life in Hawaii.


This time around I tried parasailing. If you’ve never experienced this, it is something to try. You start by sitting on the deck of a boat, seated in a harness that holds you to a parachute. As the boat accelerates you are lifted into the air and then have what’s pretty close to what it must feel like to float in the air. I had suspected the feeling would be like a bumpy carnival ride but it was nothing like that at all.


The ride I took went to an elevation of 800 feet but there was really little sensation of climbing or coming back to earth. In fact in general most of what you felt was just a gentle floating around. Even being held by a harness that was just some straps around your lower body was not at all uncomfortable.


Landing when parasailing felt a lot like getting off of a chair lift on the ski slope. Someone counted down 3-2-1 and you simply stood up and you were back on the boat.


I think the most interesting thing for me about parasailing was the ability to hear sound from all around. I’ve been up in a hot air balloon once and the audio sensation was somewhat similar but for the fact that this time I was floating over the Pacific ocean so there wasn’t as much to hear. Still I always find it interesting to hear the sounds of the world below me as I am above the different things you can hear.


I’m by no means an expert but as I say I’ve now been to Hawaii twice and have some idea of what’s worth doing and such on a visit. Hopefully I’ll get inspired to write a bit more about my experiences. It is almost November here and Washington winters can be quite dreary so I’ll probably need a few more Hawaiian recollection sessions over the next few weeks.

Praise for PDX Transit

Seattle’s in yet another endless discussion around what the area’s transit future will be. As the fall election gets closer, there’s another transit package being offered to voters to try and resolve the area’s persistent transit congestion.


Then there’s Portland. As this column illustrates, Seattle has a long way to go before it catches up to what Portland’s already doing with respect to public transit.


I’ve mentioned Portland’s MAX light rail system a few times here but I’m once again reminded how different the attitudes are around transit between Portland and Seattle. Seattle is such a car culture and in the almost seven years I’ve lived here I’ve not seen much change in that regard.


I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for my job, I’d not live in Seattle because of the lack of progress on resolving the transit problems here.