Monday, 30 July 2012

Life is Like a Bowl of Mount Rainier Cherries

About 10 years ago I went to Seattle, Washington to a conference on lung disease and respiratory care. It was a great experience. I saw Mount Rainier from my hotel window and I was a 20 minute walk to the convention centre in down town Seattle so I was able to check out the sights each morning.

I checked out the original Starbucks coffee house near Pike Place Market. A very enthusiastic young woman was handing out double shots on the street corner, which are small but deadly cans filled with a double espresso. You down it like a tequila shot and then you run around buzzed for the next couple of hours, also like after a tequila shot. This girl was yes, enthusiastic, but not very observant because she handed me two more in separate locations on the street as she wandered around with her knapsack full of cans, as if it was the first time she saw me. I never drank them, I figured she was running on concentrated caffeine herself and her demeanour was a tad scary. She literally vibrated.

Pike Place Market is the site of the famous fish toss. You order a salmon, it flies through the air over your head to the guy who wraps it in brown paper. Yelling, screaming and general good-natured ribbing ensues and then you pay for this entertainment along with your fish. Everything at the market was trés expensive. I bought nothing.

I also went up the Seattle Space Needle for a dinner hosted by one of the research groups. It was nice but there was no entertainment, no fish flying through the air. Just scientific talk and lots of wine. I just wanted the wine so I left early.

There are two particularly memorable things about Seattle. One, I took a water shuttle to Victoria, B.C. to visit family for a couple of days and very much enjoyed being taxied by water. It was a beautiful day both coming and going and I took pictures with a very poor quality digital camera, whose photos did not do the scenery justice. Still, it was a relaxing and enjoyable trip.

The second thing I will remember about Seattle are the Mount Rainier cherries. I'll refrain from a reference to the cherry on top of a great trip or that any negative aspect may have amounted to sending me down into the pits. Instead let's focus on these tasty little, pale yellow/red beauties. These are not your ordinary cherries. They are sweet like a delicious apple, the pit falls out of them like a freestone peach and they are addictive like a handful of popcorn. You can't eat just one. Trust me on this.

If I can warn you though, don't eat more than say, a dozen or so. Beyond that you'll bloat up like an apple-eating horse in the hot sun, like a road kill raccoon in the desert, like a....well, you get my drift. Everything in moderation.

You can buy Mount Rainier cherries in the grocery stores in Ontario. They are expensive but believe me they are worth it. After you eat the first 12, cut the rest up and put them in a fruit salad or top off a green salad. But if you end up in pain later on with a tummy swollen beyond belief, don't say I didn't warn you.

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