Can you guess where I took my nap today? In the car on our way to Seattle! We drove all the way there to meet two of my parents friends who live in Washington DC and happened to visit the West Coast: Sarah and Sepehr. We had lunch with them at an Italian restaurant (Cafe Bengodi) in the Pioneer Square, then we walked around the city. We ended up at the docks along the Alaskan Way, where we saw many birds who expect you to feed but not touch them. My parents with their friends ate something called ice-cream, while I only had some milk. Anyway, I didn’t mind because guess what? I didn’t have to take my second nap of the day and I got to spend more time awake in the city and in the car! Now that’s what I call an Independence Day!
This trip to Seattle was catalyzed by the tickets we bought to see Edward Scissorhands at the 5th Ave Theatre. The desert accompanied us on US-82 – about half of the distance to Seattle. Driving through the eastern part of the Washington makes one wonder if the label “evergreen state” is some kind of a bad joke. The reason for that label becomes clear after the intersection with US-90, especially when reaching the Cascade Mountains. Despite (or maybe due to) the clouds hanging around the peaks, the scenery was breath-taking.
After a good lunch at Rock Bottom, we crossed the street for the show. The theater was nice – I took a couple of pictures before they told me that no photography was allowed. The show was ok: not as bad as Rent, but not as good as Chicago.
We spent the afternoon walking the trails of the Discovery Park. South Beach Trail guided us to (surprise!) South Beach and Discovery Park Lighthouse. A driveway goes to the lighthouse through the park, but only families living in the military housing seem to have access to it. Everyone else can walk though, so that’s what we did. At some point we continued on the Loop Trail until we got back where we started… and even more to the west because we wanted to see the sunset. Which was obstructed by the clouds hanging around at the horizon, thus disappointingly dull. On the bright side, we were rewarded with a nice view of the Seattle skyline on our way out of Magnolia.
Because the weather didn’t look friendly in the morning (cold and cloudy), we decided to visit an indoor attraction. Seattle Aquarium won our attention mainly because of a “buy one ticket get one free” coupon. The Coral Reef section had one of the nicest decor and lightning I’ve seen in any aquarium. We spent a lot of time looking at the otters playing and the seals getting their training. I tried really hard to get a good shot of the sharks, but they were too fast for my camera.
Driving from Richland to Seattle is a half-full glass of water. For (a little more than) half of the way you see the empty part (almost complete desert), but driving through the mountains makes up for the trouble. After we had a small lunch in a small coffee shop, we walked down the Harbor Steps and headed towards the Pioneer Square, where we spent a little time listening to a percussion band. Since we already planned a dinner in the Space Needle, we agreed to go up in the Smith Tower next time we visit Seattle. I didn’t notice at the time, but judging from the picture I took, the City Hall seems pretty small. The futuristic shape of the public library didn’t fit entirely into the angle of my camera.
When the time came to move the car, we found free parking somewhere close to the Space Needle (on Harrison at the intersection with Broad). Then we walked along 7th street towards the convention Center, recreating the way I used to commute from the hotel during the ASMS conference. In the Pike Place Market we saw the fish sellers throwing the fish around to the delight of the people gathered around to watch the show rather than buy the seafood. After walking through the market (we saw the Athenian Restaurant where they shot a scene for Sleepless in Seattle), we relaxed in the sun on a bench in Victor Steinbrueck Park. We walked up the Pine Street, where some upset preachers were yelling that everybody would soon burn in hell. In defiance, some young people showed up with hand-written posters in support for gay marriage. We ended up sitting on the stairs staring at the crowds of people… we don’t have the chance to see something like this very often.
Later we went up in the Space Needle to see the city lights. There was really only one exciting angle, looking towards the downtown. Then the elevator took us a little higher to the rotating restaurant, which shows the good viewing angle once every hour. While it may worth going up there for lunch, their dinner is incredibly overpriced (even though it includes the access to the observation deck).