My friend Jill used to live in Seattle. In fact, she was there for a long time– six years or so. It’s a shame we never visited her then, because last weekend, we finally checked the place out and now, I’d have to say, I’ve caught on. Seattle rocks. Green, clean, and casual, I fell for the city almost immediately. Everyone I met was so nice too. The airport info desk person was actually helpful and organized. The lady had this awesome clear-view flip file of all the city bus schedules and routes. I was so impressed (and I think I’m going to go out and buy one of those organizers for myself!). I once went to the info desk at SFO. The person basically told me to go find the monitors and THEN, she asked me for a donation to a women’s shelter. Bizarre. So yeah, the Seattle info booth was awesome. We caught a bus downtown for $1.25! And get this: when lining up for the bus, this guy totally let everyone get in front of him. You don’t see that in DC and definitely not in Shanghai!
John and I went up for only Saturday and Sunday. United had some last minute e-deals, so the airfare wasn’t too bad. We stayed at the Warwick Hotel downtown– very clean and convenient. We arrived at the hotel at 9 a.m., and the front desk checked us in SIX hours early. Unbelievable. Seattle is our kind of town… fresh produce and ingredients (Pike Place Market had incredible fresh flowers for cheap too!), great restaurants, public transportation (no metro unfortunately, but electric buses!), green spaces, plenty of window shopping. Yes, the weather is a factor. I went prepared, but the penetrating, damp chill was a bit discomforting. Still, when the sun’s out, the place is amazing.
On Sunday, the forecast called for rain and we lucked out with sunshine. John and I cabbed over to Ballard, ate at this yummy diner along Salmon Bay, checked out the Chittenden Locks, and walked miles and miles to Golden Gardens Park where there was a sandy beach even! Of course, we are out of shape and the walk took us forever but damn, with the sun, the water, and the cool crisp air, we really felt invigorated.
And looking at the regional map, there’s so much to see. Like Jill warned, a weekend is certainly not enough. In the future, we’ll probably rent a car and drive out to Mt. Rainer, Olympia National Park, maybe Mt. St. Helens.
I should say though, I did get a little weirded out our final night there. Walking around downtown after 8, I felt a bit uneasy with the homeless people out and about. John said he had noticed a lot of druggies– not homeless people, but people scrounging around looking for their next fix. Huh? I mean, I’m totally ignorant about that stuff– people who are drunk, high, whatever. I can never tell. I’ll have a conversation with someone at the bar, and afterwards John will comment on how smashed the person was… I’ll say, “Really? Oh, I just thought he was tired.” Yes, I’m THAT bad. So John says there’s a difference between the druggies and the homeless. Apparently, the homeless usually lug around all their stuff. The druggies, he claims, don’t carry around all this stuff. They are higher energy and nervous, and they’re searching for things. Just as he explained that, we walked by two guys who were exactly as he described. They were like looking at the sidewalk and around the garbage cans– not digging inside, just looking around the outside. Their body language reminded me of Gollum from Lord of the Rings. After that, I was really kind of freaked out. On our way back to the hotel, we passed two ladies, both probably my age. It was pretty chilly by then, and they were wearing next to nothing: mini, mini skirts, high heels, big hair. Maybe they are clubbers, I thought? I don’t know. John said they were hookers, and after seeing them scope him out, I guess he was right. I felt really bummed after that. Seeing the tougher side to any place is pretty depressing.