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Arrived in Tacoma

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Kam drove me from home to the airport; the flight was uneventful; I picked up my rental car and drove to the hotel; the hotel, as advertised, has free wireless. Cool beans.

I was struck, earlier, by a sort of impressed feeling at the fact that I could decide, three days ago, to come to Tacoma this weekend, and with a minimum of effort on my part (and not all that much expense), here I am a thousand miles from my starting point, after a total travel time (door to door) of less than five hours. And I even have Internet access here. It all seems kind of techno-utopian, on a small scale.

A couple detail notes:

I usually rent cars from National, a habit I got into many years ago during a visit to Boston when they offered me a free upgrade and I didn't know that was standard practice at rental agencies. This time, the National people told me that an economy car would cost $70/day, which was just ridiculous. (It's possible, in retrospect, that I misheard and the guy said $17/day; I had him repeat it a couple of times, but I didn't actually say "Is that seven zero, or one seven?")

So I went with Dollar, which said it would be $30 for the weekend. Turns out it was a little more than that: I changed to staying through Monday, so it's $45 for three days, and there's a whopping 30% extra in taxes. But still, a reasonable car rental price. Only it turns out the car I got was a Hyundai. I had no opinion about that one way or t'other until I started driving it; it feels tiny, in a way that my Geo Metro never did to me. In particular, the Hyundai's front left corner feels very very close to the driver's seat. It's also very loud on the freeway. I guess that's what happens when you rent the cheapest available car. But once I got used to it, it was fine.

I've only been at Quality Inn here in Fife (just northeast of Tacoma) for a few minutes, but I already like it. Friendly people at the front desk, the aforementioned wireless Internet access, a microwave and a fridge in my room, and a big bathroom--at first glance, I was sure it was at least the size of both my upstairs bathrooms at home (which are fairly small) put together. On further inspection, I don't think it's quite that big. But still remarkably big for a hotel bathroom.

Anyway, it's by no means a luxury hotel--the towels are fairly cheap, the walls and curtains are thin, and the prices are motel prices. But so far I approve.

Tomorrow morning, I'll call my cousin, and call around for shipping boxes, and find out what my shipping options are, and then go sort books.

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We've got snow out here on the Olympic Peninsula... just enough to make driving a little scary. Hope the weather is better for you inland. :)


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