Seattle was the next stop, which was kinda weird because I'd spent so much virtual time there in Streetview on Google Earth. I knew the city, or the parts of it in the book at least, very well, in a two dimensional sort of way. It was passing strange to finally be there in 3D and put the whole thing together like a big diorama thingy.
The hills suprised me. On screen, you don't get a sense of how the downtown area falls away dramatically to Puget Sound, or how the vibe of the city changes from one avenue to the next. I was staying down on 1st at a Kimpton Hotel (this Bristol maybe?) Like all Kimpton hotels it had a theme, in this case, literature, which meant my room, which was huge and plush and very beautiful, was also decked out with masses of books. Actual books, not just the empty covers and spines you get in some places. There was also a fireplace and a separate lounge and I could have quite happily lived there.
It was a few blocks down from the market district, which I really loved. So too would Mr Flinthart I expect, given the number of freaks and weirdos and top shelf buskers there. Did my gig at the uni bookstore who were very welcoming, and had a curry afterwards with Dave and his family - one of Craig's mates who works for Google.
The following day I did some signings and had a look around for research purposes, before flying out, or rather attempting to fly out for LA and home. Having done the whole tour without a hitch it was inevitable I'd come a cropper right at the end.
First they thought I was on the wrong flight, one I could possibly catch, then I turned up on one part of the booking system but not the right one. Finally after forty minutes of thinking I might be staying a little longer in Seattle I made it onto my actual flight, which was then delayed because there was no captain to fly it.
We left about an hour or so late and got into LA with less than an hour before my Qantas leg for home left. Unfortunately the airport was shutting down and there was zero indication of how to make that connection. No signs. No staff to pester. Nothing. I wandered around an emptying terminal until a cleaner suggested I leave. Outside a security guard pointed me at another terminal, which did have some Qantas flights, so I joined the back of a long, slow moving security queue. About halfway up I thought, this is taking so long I can't possibly catch this flight. Finally through I went looking for my gate, but entirely without luck. Having run through most of the terminal, which was being rebuilt, I at last found a Qantas staffer who told me I was in completely the wrong building. I'd have to go back out onto the street, and do the security shuffle all over again in the next terminal.
I almost gave up, but really didn't fancy spending the next few days at LAX while I tried to find a new connection home so I sprinted through the night and hit the next long snaking security line where I got my first break when nobody questioned my bogus entitlement to barge right up the front of the speedy, elite line and toss my bags into the x-ray machine like a Spartan javelin champion.
Made the flight, sweating like a pig. Felt real sorry for the poor Canadians next to me.
Anyway, I'm home now, jetlagged, but pushing on thru until bedtime.