Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More Charlotte Follow-Up

1. Jay Walking. By now, everyone knows that we do not jay walk in Seattle. When the crossing light has the red hand, we stay put even if no cars are in sight. Not so in Charlotte. I did a lot of walking around "uptown" during the noon hour when many workers were on lunch break. I would be standing at a street corner waiting properly for the red hand to change to the little man, and I'd realize everyone else crossed. I cannot get used to that. I feel like I am flagrantly breaking a very important law---which I would be in downtown Seattle. I can verify that even anti-war protesters in Seattle do not jay walk without a permit!

2. Smoking. North Carolina is or was tobacco land so it is no surprise that smoking regulations are not as strict as Seattle's. Actually, smoking is banned in the state of Washington. You cannot smoke in bars and no smoking is allowed within two miles of entry doors to businesses. Naturally, our hotels and restaurants are all smoke free. The gambling casinos on tribal land do allow smoking, I guess, since the state has no jurisdiction over them. Frankly, I have never been to one so I am not sure what their smoking rules are.

In Charlotte, restaurants still have smoking and non-smoking sections. After living in a smoke free world, you realize that the smoke still permeates everything even in the non-smoking areas. One thing that bugged us was that smoking was allowed in all of the outdoor seating. We liked to be outside because the weather was nice but all of the diners could smoke. In my view, at the very least, outdoor areas should have been divided into smoking and non-smoking, too.

The small motel where we stayed near the Charlotte airport after our flight problem, placed us in a non-smoking room. But since they allowed smoking in other rooms, the entire place reeked.

3. Seafood. Seafood on the other side of the country is different than ours. We do not have lobster and we do not have blue crab. However, we have Dungeness and Alaskan king crab. Our several varieties of salmon and fresh halibut are the best. In one particular Charlotte restaurant, our server was orginally from New Orleans. He left after Katrina and went to Seattle for a while before settling back in the South in Charlotte. When he realized we were from Seattle, he told us not to order their fish because in no way could it compare to the salmon and halibut in Seattle.

I will concede on one issue. Crab cakes made with blue crab are scrumptious and we had some wonderful blue crab cakes in Charlotte. Crab cakes with Dungeness just do not measure up. Dungeness should be eaten pure and fresh right out of the shell.

Unfortunately, our daughter is allergic to crab, shrimp and lobster so we cannot eat crab when she is at home. Even smelling it causes her to have an asthmatic response. We discovered the problem at Christmas time when she was about 8 or 9. Our family tradition was to eat crab on Christmas eve. When the children were little, they did not like it much but started eating more of it as they grew older. Kaley ate a tiny bit that night. She had some of the juice on her hands and she touched her eye. Her eye swelled up to the point of being totally shut and she felt tingling in her throat. We immediately gave her anti-histamines but her eye turned black and blue and remained swollen for several days. It was just terrible. Eventually, we took her to an allergy specialist and tests confirmed what we knew. She now carries an epi-pen.

Anyway, since she has returned to college, we had crab last night. The grocery store where we usually buy them did not have any pre-cooked so I bought them live out of the tank and cooked them myself. Yes, I murdered two living creatures. One of them even clicked at me before I sunk him in the boiling pot of water.

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Before--Alive on their backs!

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After--Dead on their stomachs!