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  Sunday, July 10, 2005


  Life in Seattle: food, driving and salsa

I'm always curious to learn about other cultures, esecially when it goes beyond staying for a few days as a tourist. Being in Seattle gives a nice opportunity's to dive into the local culture (and I have no idea how far it represents how things are in the US in general :). So, some observations...

Food

...I'm asking for a smallest cup of ice-cream. She looks understandingly and says that it's just 40 cents more to get a bigger one. I say I don't want a bigger one and I also don't want anything with it - no waffle, no sirop, no candies on the top. She looks dissapointed. I wonder what she thinks - that I'm trying to save 40 cents? that I'm on the diet? I feel so strange not wanting a bigger ice-cream with all stuff on it... And even this portion is too big for me...

...Microsoft lives to the expectation - sodas are free. Something unexpected is a free popcorn machine at our floor. Each time I go there it's a small struggle - sodas are not tempting, but popcorn smells nice. I know I wouldn't like it, but it smells nice...

It's not that different from what I would expect, but realising how much it's part of the culture is still a bit shocking (especially given similarities of "cultural pressure" in the story of living with bulimia by Lisa Tillmann-Healy in Composing ethnography).

Yesterday, however, I saw something different. A feast of fresh fruits and vegetables at University district farmers market: colors and tastes of what was on sale copled with and tasty cooking demo from Mandalay cafe...

Driving

Driving is pretty much different over here... It feels really easy and relaxing. Cars tend to keep lanes they are in, which gives a feeling that everyon is so polite in not jumping in front of your car. Speeds are lower. Grid-like structure of streets makes navigation much easier. And, on the top of it, I'm driving car with automatic gears that not only easier, but also eliminated that ever present stress of starting on a slope...

I guess this, together with non-pedestrian scales makes driving such big part of the culture. But another side is here as well - during rush hours I'm almost mesmerised by traffic conditions map changing colors from green to red and pressures to carpool and use of public transport...

Salsa

With a couple of other Microsoft people we went for a salsa at Century ballroom yesterday night. There are a couple of things I found interesting - the number of guys who dance very well, more guys than girls and really open culture for inviting strangers. I wonder what is behind it - fashion, demographics or something else...

Anyway, that's it for now - have to do some food work for blogger potluck

More on: life Microsoft Seattle 

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

 
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