July 26

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Settling in Seattle

It’s been a month since my first blog and I have had several adventures already.  Firstly, my visa application with the US Embassy took an age to come through, but with the support of GSK assigned attorneys and PATH, my Seattle NGO, we navigated the process and got the all important stamp in the end.  Secondly, taking my bike with me to Seattle, and consequently having more luggage than I could carry, get on a trolley, or fit in the zigzag queuing system at the airports was, in hindsight,  never going to be an easy ride. Note to self: think twice before doing that again. In the end it worked out, but only with the help of sympathetic passengers on the UK side and luggage handling staff on the US side – who carried my bike between satellite buildings because it wouldn’t fit on the conveyor -and a porter to get it to the taxi.  Fitting it in a taxi was fun as well.  And after all that I have only just put the bike back together again as it has taken me a while to work up the courage to brave the traffic – on the wrong side of enormous roads.

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Seattle is a liberal, multicultural, busy city. It is built on several hills which give fantastic views of the lakes and waterways that surround it.  I have spent much of my time so far walking around, which has been a great way to get my bearings, but to get further afield – to the beach for example where I went this weekend – the public transport  is a must.

 

PATH office

The PATH office, where I have been working for the last two weeks, is in central Seattle. My job is to help with the development of the PATH Flash Heat Pasteurization process called FoneAstra.  These are exciting times for PATH as their launch deadline is rapidly approaching and I am hoping that I can help make it a big success. The team has been very welcoming and invited me to a meet-and-greet at a local bar, where the beer and company were excellent.

For my leisure time I have made the most of the Lake Union, which I am lucky to have so close to my lodgings.

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I have taken advantage of a free public sailing session on a restored wooden sailing dingy, and also four sessions with the Seattle Flying Dragons who organise dragon boating. I enjoyed it so much I have now become a member.

Seattle Flying Dragons

Perhaps I will be able to persuade my colleagues in the UK to take to the water with me in a dragon boat on our local River Lea when I get back? I am not sure the murky, cold water will have the same appeal though.