Mayhem at the library……that’s an exaggeration but it was very busy yesterday (Sunday) at the Seattle Public Library in Ballard, and no doubt elsewhere in Seattle. Because of budget cuts, the libraries are closing for a week. This is the second year that this has happened and worse is forecast for 2011. The major saving is in salaries paid, which really means salaries not paid to the staff. At least they keep their jobs and have a week off, but I would suspect that the no-pay aspect is not so welcome. Anyhow, we rushed down to the library yesterday for a last minute return and collection and the library was very busy with other patrons doing likewise.
We arrived in Seattle in good order on Saturday evening. Our trans-Atlantic, trans-continental trip was fine. A 7 hour flight from Dublin to Chicago, a brief pause to catch our breath and pass through the all-important hurdle of immigration. We were almost through immigration when a number of other people arrived, Caucasian American with babies who appeared to be African – they took priority so we had to sit for a little while as the man processed their forms. It didn’t take long but we wondered why we were being by-passed when we had arrived first. I later found out that these people had all come on the same Lufthansa flight from Ethiopia and the babies had been in an orphanage in Awassa in southern part of that country. Orphans get priority over senior citizens. We didn’t really mind – we were just puzzled. There was much happiness as each family received the final stamps on the babies’ documentation. Particularly for the family whose baby had been quite sick on the flight. We were equally happy when Ian received the final stamp on his passport. Welcome to America. This process made me think of other families in the past arriving at Ellis Island in New York after being at sea for many weeks. What a change.