Happy New Year!

Hello Poppets!

(Mrs. Doubtfire happened to be on TV the other day.)

I hope you had a sublime time ringing in 2009 – Neil and I certainly did.

We headed down to Seattle via the Quick Shuttle, mostly to see the Presidents of the United States of America on New Year’s Eve, and stayed at Hotel Max.

(Note: I have no incentive to write about Quick Shuttle, or the Hotel Max, other than the fact that I was looking for some info about Seattle, and the google-fu didn’t produce much of what I was looking for – hopefully this post may help someone else out with that.)

We’d never taken the bus down to Seattle before, but it’s a super good deal from Vancouver if you’re the patient sort. The driving bit isn’t so bad, especially with the (slow, but adequate) free WiFi on the bus. But the border crossing is fairly terrible.

Super-interrogations for all – it took us 90 minutes to clear the bus into the USA. Thankfully heading home was better.

So now I”m thinking the bus must be the people/goods smuggling transport mode of choice for people attempting to flee into our out of a country. I’d love to see some customs stats on that. But the bus was incredibly affordable ($98 CAD round-trip for the both of us) considering we’d have ended up renting a car and paying for gas & parking. If you’re staying downtown in Seattle you can definitely walk everywhere, so consider it.

Anyhow, we made it to our destination pretty easily, all things considered, and checked into the charming Hotel Max.

I was ever so slightly worried about staying at that particular hotel. They’ve priced themselves at about 40%-60% of what the other major chains I’d stay at are charging in that neighbourhood (Sheraton, Westin, Marriott, W, Coast), and I’d read a few negative reviews about the size of the rooms and bathrooms.

I needn’t have worried.

Yes, the rooms are teensy, but only comparatively. Compared to those other properties I’d stay at in Seattle? Yes. Tiny. Compared to the W in Times Square? Same size. Well, the bathroom was smaller. But I’ve seen bathrooms just as small in London and Korea (there is about 1 square foot available to stand in, between the small sink, toilet, and shower stall – no tub here).

My few complaints have everything to do with the fact that it’s an old building. The walls and windows are thin. It gets noisy. Also, the window-mounted heating/cooling unit is loud. But the rest of the hotel is so charming and well-appointed that it didn’t really matter. Also, I was on a leisure trip, which made some small inconveniences a bit easier to take.

And for all that, Presidents of the United States of America put on one of the most fun live shows I’ve seen in a very long time.

It was a great way to usher in 2009, and if that sets the tone for the rest of the year, it’s going to be a very good one indeed.

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