My trip to Seattle.

Blogging about my Seattle trip could have been a lot easier if I took my computer and wrote a post every day about what I did. Even if I interjected thoughts on what happened and made it more of a mixture of my older and newer styles of blogging, it would still bore me. Besides, when I took a vacation it wasn’t just from work. It was from everything, this blog included. Also, I’m reducing the week to one post. This is not going to be a travelogue, nor is it going to be a day-by-day list of the things I did. Rather, I’m going to simply present some highlights and impressions from my experience. Not only would it interest me more I caught a cold last week which I’m still recovering from. I want to get this done and get some rest early today.

One of the most distinct differences that I could tell from cities I’ve been to on the east coast is the layout of the city. I’m used to Boston and the stress of trying to find my way around. It’s an old city and laid out on old paths and roads. That’s fine if you’re into justifying the cluster-fuck with historical reasons, but I prefer to get around quickly and easily. Everything in Seattle is laid out in a grid pattern, which made this possible. It’s also a lot smaller than I imagined. Apparently I didn’t see the whole thing but enough for the week. My friend Mike (who put me up for the week) told me I saw the best parts, which is good enough for me.

I took the bus system a lot, which operates quite well. I ended up making some mistakes, increasing my walking time more than I wanted to with the pain in my foot. This also proved to get pricey, as I ended up putting sixty dollars on my Orca card and using nearly all of it. The card is a pretty useful tool, allowing one to pay bus fare quickly via an electronic scanner when entering the bus. It’s also used on trains as well as the ferry system. If only we had a public transit system where I live I think I would get rid of the car and take the bus more often. I needn’t go into the benefits here, it’s been written to death by others. But I get angry when I drive. The bus is a lot less stressful.

By the way, while I’m on the subject of my foot, I think I may have solved the problem while I was out there. Mike reiterated a previous suspicion of mine that I really just suffered from a bad pair of shoes with poor arch support. I stopped at a Payless in downtown Seattle and picked up a new pair for ten bucks along with some insoles. As I walked around town for the rest of the week my foot hurt a lot less. Of course it’s not going to stop hurting right away as it heals but if I’m correct I’m quite pleased that I don’t have this problem anymore. I’m also quite annoyed with myself that this was such a simple and cheap fix that I’ve been avoiding.

People in Seattle (at least the parts I’ve been to) were often quite friendly and laid-back. I don’t want to generalize and chalk this up as another difference with the east coast, but I am tempted. It was still a city, so in certain busy parts people weren’t warm and open with each other but they were a lot more civil than I’m used to. One thing that I found quite amusing was the different attitudes toward jaywalking. I think I’ve mentioned this on this blog before. I’ve heard that people were more uptight about jaywalking on the west coast. It turns out to be true. Even the punks and goths were waiting for the lights to change even when there was no traffic. I guess it’s a heavy fine. I didn’t care, I still crossed whenever I had the chance.

Considering Kurt Cobain was from Seattle, and the grunge rock movement was largely responsible for the sloppy way that people dress to this day, fashion there was quite “preppy.” Over here it’s rare to see a shirt or blouse tucked in, whereas there it’s quite common. Blouses buttoned to the top were en vogue as well, hearkening back to the pre-grunge days of the early nineties. Bangs were also popular amongst women. I heard there’s a large amount of people with Nordic backgrounds. I remember when staying in Oslo a few years ago bangs were also in at the time. Is there something about Nordic features that lend themselves to a particular hairstyle? There were of course also the various subcultures and their ways of dress, as to be expected (i.e. punks, goths, LGBT). Otherwise there wasn’t a whole lot of difference to here.

I didn’t get to all of the tourist attractions nor did I want to all in one trip. I didn’t go out for every meal but often, as well as checking out a lot of bars throughout the city. I did go to the Space Needle, taking pictures of some of the views:

Next to the Space Needle is the EMP Museum, which we toured my first day there. I didn’t realize until after we went in that the batteries in my camera were dead, but I did get to borrow Mike’s phone and take a picture of the guitar Jimi Hendirx played at Woodstock:

The museum also at the time had a science fiction exhibit, which included Captain Kirk’s chair from “Star Trek” surrounded by Tribble props from the show (picture by Mike).

 

There was also a rather weak horror film exhibit next to a somewhat more interesting fantasy exhibit. The latter did have one item that interested me (picture by Mike):
 
 
Yes, that’s a costume that David Bowie wore in “Labyrinth.”
 
As far as other tourist attractions are concerned, I did cruise the market a few times as well as some sight-seeing while cruising some parks. I’m not going to take the time to list them all here, but take my word that there’s quite a bit to see.
 
I suppose any trip of Seattle wouldn’t be complete without coffee. I didn’t have to try hard to avoid any of the million Starbucks throughout the city. For the most part the coffee I had was stronger and more flavorful than here, but I barely scratched the surface throughout the week. The best that I went to was the Grand Central Bakery location in Pioneer Square. Honorable mention should go to Caffe Vita. It’s Capitol Hill location was closer to where I was staying and the coffee was comparable but Grand Central Bakery had a better atmosphere. Caffe Vita was a bit like Breaking New Grounds in Portsmouth in that one could smell their coffee roasting from far away.
 
Overall the trip was fun, even though I came down with a cold by the end of it. It wasn’t as bad as some that I had, but the fact that I became sick during this vacation made me miserable nonetheless. Still, I tried going out and having fun. I left out a lot of information here which I may or may not go into in the future if relevant to the topic at hand. I get the feeling that I’ll be going back to Seattle again for future vacations. With its laid-back atmosphere and the fact that I got a lot of the tourist stuff out of the way, I can imagine that in the future it will be the relaxing getaway that I need. I don’t want to move there, but I can see the pull.
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