We arrive very early at the airport. I check my bag in push in queueing. Have to take advantage of my silver KLM status.
“Aren’t your sons with you?”
“They’re going through the other side.”
“They could have come through here, too. You can go through the priority security with them.”
After checking in, I call the kids over. “Crawl under the barrier” I say.
“Because you can use the fast queue, too.”
The security area is closed off. It’s a 15-minute strike. Andrew has been doing them. Some passengers behind us are getting annoyed. While Andrew chats with the security people. G4S is doing one lane and a colleague of Andrew’s comes over to chat with him.
As is traditional, I get a bottle of Laphroaig in the duty free. I’d feel alone without a bottle of it in my hotel room.
We’re leaving via pier D. Which means we can drop by the Irish pub. It’s worrying sometimes how well I know airside at Schiphol.
“What do you fancy, lads?”
“A pint of cider.” Andrew says.
“I’ll have one, too.” Alexei agrees.
I go for the traditional half of Stout and double Jamesons.
This will be the last booze for Lexie for a while. He manages three pints of cider before it’s time to head to our gate.
All the Delta flights are showing as gate D1. Not because that’s where the flight will depart. But because that’s where they do the extra security check. They give Alexei a red folder for his boarding card. He’s been “randomly chosen” for an extra security check at the gate itself.
“I don’t believe in random selection. There’s some reason they’ve singled out Lexie.” I remark, cynically.
At the gate, they request the red-carded passengers come forward. Alexei trundles up and they take him away behind the counter where they start looking through his bags.
“I hope they aren’t going to check his bottom, Andrew.”
Luckily they don’t. That’s an extra hassle I could do without. Andrew notices that most of those called up for an extra check have Russian passports. Since working at the airport he’s become very skilled at spotting passports. “I wonder if Alexei was flagged because he has a Russian first name?”
We board on time. Well, early, really, as I have pushing in boarding. We settle into our seats and await take off.
“How old are you, sir.” The stewardess enquires when Andrew asks for a beer. “21.” She doesn’t ask for ID, mind.
I watch Kingsmen, then a shitty US comedy that’s so bad I give up after 20 minutes. Then The Wrong Mans, three episodes of Rick & Morty and a few of The Detour.
The 10-hour flight is soon over. Though I need to get up and walk around a few times when my arse starts hurting.
Immigration isn’t bad at all. We’re through in 15 to 20 minutes. Then it’s a long trek across the airport to baggage reclaim. Where luckily we don’t have to wait long for my bag.
Jim Jamison of Foggy Noggin is picking us up. That’s where I’ll be talking tomorrow. Luckily, he turns up after a few minutes.
The traffic is bad. Really bad. It takes ages to get to Bothell, where we're staying, which is on the other side of town to the airport.
“That’s weird.” I remark. “Why do they have a Lenin statue here?”
“Probably because it was cheap.” Andrew quips.
Jim drops us at our hotel, where we dump out bags and freshen up a bit. I let Lexie have some whisky before we leave, to see him through the evening. Then we rush back to the lobby, where Jim is waiting.
“What sort of food would you like to eat?” he asks.
“American stuff. “ Andrew replies decisively.
“OK. I know where we can go.”
Which is Stack 571, a burger place where Jim’s wife has already grabbed a table. “They always have one of my beers on tap.” Jim says. It only seems polite to order a Foggy Noggin ESB.
The kids have never tried poutine so we have a portion as a starter. Along with calamari rings. You can never go wrong with those. And we don’t. They’re dead good. Burgers all around for mains. Which are also pretty good.
Though the kids don’t manage to finish everything and get a doggie bag.
Next up is McMenamins’s, a huge complex in an old school. Jim’s wife used to work there as a teacher. Which must make it slightly weird boozing in there.
There are several bars and even a swimming pool. We start at the Whiskey Shack, where me and Jim have a rye. Andrew can’t get a drink because passports are the only foreign ID they will accept. I hope he’ll learn from this experience. We go to another bar for a sit down. Jim orders our beers at the bar so there’s no need for Andrew to show id.
I’m not really up for staying out too late. Though I don’t want to go to bed too early, either. It’s a difficult balancing act.
On the way back to the hotel we drop by a supermarket to get some beer. Mostly for Lexie, who’s had a dry evening. Andrew is quite keen on trying mass-market stuff. Like Past Blue Ribbon.
We hang for a while in the kids’ room, drinking whisky and beer while watching TV. They heat up their leftover dinner in the microwave when they get peckish. It’s all crazily exciting.
We crash at around midnight. Sleep stumbles in and slumps snoring on the bed.
Stack 571 Burger and Whiskey Bar
9924 NE 185th St #101,
Bothell, WA 98011
McMenamin’s Anderson School
Anderson School Building,
18607 Bothell Way NE,
Bothell, WA 98011.
Tel: +1 425-398-0122
News, nuggets and longreads 21 September 2019: Catalonia, cask, cans - Here’s a week’s worth of reading about beer and pubs, from Catalan hops to cask ale. For Birraire, Joan Villar-i-Martí has written at length about Jordi ...
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