Mike’s Travel Blog: Practice Edition

In two months, I’ll be leaving Seattle to go backpacking through South America. While I travel, I’ll be keeping a blog so friends at home can follow along with my wanderings. I’ve never kept a blog before, so I decided I’d need a bit of practice for the many demands of keeping a travel blog: pretending to have self-indulgent epiphanies that I discover by leaving my comfort zone, making broad generalizations about entire cultures based on very limited exposure to them, and of course, making pretentious observations about the human condition while desperately trying to sound profound.

As practice, I decided to accept an invitation to Redmond, Washington to meet a young man by the name of Albert. I would then blog about the experience, being sure to include all the forced realizations and condescending observations I hope to include in my real blog posts. Let’s begin.

I met Albert (or “Al” as he is known by the locals) at an eatery called Coho, named for a type of fish that has historically been important in the region.

Al and Mike outside Coho

The waiter must have been able to tell that I was from Seattle, as he immediately addressed me in English. I was impressed by how flawlessly he spoke the language with barely a hint of his native accent. I ordered a dish that Albert told me was popular with the locals. Its name literally translates to “Chicken meat that has been grilled and placed between bread chunks.”

Redmond style food

The meal was delicious. As we ate, Albert and I discussed his life in Redmond. Our lives are so different, yet somehow… the same. At one point he even made a passing reference to the TV show, Seinfeld. I guess it’s made its way out here, too. Ha! Al described to me a traditional game that is popular among men in his town known as (not sure of exact spelling, just typing out phonetically) Starkraff Tu. From what I could deduce, the game holds great cultural importance and can even determine a man’s priority in choice of a bride.

Albert eats food

As he spoke, I couldn’t help but marvel at Albert. Here was a person denied all of the privileges and opportunities I take for granted in Seattle, and yet somehow, he finds happiness. I had to wonder whether these “privileges” I had in Seattle were privileges at all. Maybe little Albert was onto something with his simple, quaint Redmond lifestyle. And maybe that’s I was meant to discover on this journey all along.

I didn’t have time to convert my cash to the local currency beforehand, so I paid for the meal by credit card. When I got the receipt, I was amused to see that the waiter had used a “Seattle-style” receipt that included a space for gratuity. As seasoned travelers know, in other parts of the world, tips are not customarily given to restaurant waiters. I realized this waiter was attempting to take advantage of the cultural divide between us, but I couldn’t blame him. If the roles were reversed and a wealthy, extremely handsome traveler came into my restaurant, I can’t definitively say that I’d be able to resist the temptation to try to prey on his ignorance. I paid the bill and bid Albert a farewell, grateful to him for immersing me in his town’s humble, yet vibrant culture.

Coho receipt

Stay tuned for Mike’s Travel Blog: Real Edition. Note that I’ll be writing the blog entirely in Spanish to capture the authenticity of the experience, so if you don’t already know how to read Spanish, please spend the next two months preparing so that you don’t fall behind.

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4 Responses to Mike’s Travel Blog: Practice Edition

  1. jovanna jovanna says:
    wow, i never thought a travel blog could ever be this interesting. If this is just practice, i can only begin to imagine how amazing a real pretentious blog will be! Please be sure to include an entry about the “native” cultures, which are really…my ancestors, it would mean a lot. Is your next practice blog going to be about Lynwood? I hear it’s a lot like Redmond, with more guns and drugs.
  2. Mike W. Mike W. says:
    This is just a practice comment, wherein I will attempt to applaud the author of the blog post for his intelligent observations, with which I agree wholeheartedly. Had he written anything contrary to my established and superior opinion set, I would have expressed my deference in more terse and crude manner. That not being the case, I’ll end my post by encouraging the author this doppleganger “Mike” to continue his blogging efforts, and I will be an active reader, looking forward to his future travelling wisdom and anecdotes.
  3. I’m glad you could connect with that poor Asian child.
  4. JD JD says:
    See, that just goes to show you what the unscrupulous natives will try to pull on unsuspecting tourists. That sandwich is clearly not just “grilled chicken” but is in fact “flattened pig meat” and frozen meat wafer, a clever substitute often plied on the unsuspecting. You gotta watch out for this type of scam ’cause they can see you coming a mile away. Redmond is famous for a seemingly casual vibe but is, in fact, a hotbed of explotative merchants. You did get all your shots, didn’t you?

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