Seattle Trip - 2006/09/18-2006/09/23


A couple of months ago by good friend Kimberly invited me to go on a week long vacation for her birthday. After a little bit of back and forth we decided on Seattle, Washington. Now that I'm back from the trip I can share all the funny stories and lovely pictures. So here they are.


Day 1

Kimberly arrived at my place Sunday evening. We did a double check of all our stuff and ate some pizza over an episode of the Simpsons. We went to bed and woke up to the cheery morning sounds of an alarm. We loaded up my car and drove to the airport. With they annoying -no liquids- security check still going on at the airport we had a dull wait in security as we ditched outer vestments, shoes, and anything else that could be used as a weapon. Luckily we avoided the sphincter police.

We flew on Delta Airlines from Detroit. Annoyingly enough, we had a layover in Atlanta, Georgia. Yes, Atlanta; because that's right along the way, right? I brought my music player as well as a Y adapter so both Kimberly and I could listen to music on the flight. The first song we played: Rilo Kiley's "Plane Crash in C", after that we listened to "Ironic" and "Waves and Wires", two more songs that lovingly depict crashing planes. In your face Fate!. Anyway, while on our flight from Atlanta to Seattle we were seated across from someone who had a very striking resemblance to Patrick Dempsey of Grey's Anatomy fame. All through the trip we wondered if it was really him, but by the end of the trip we were sure he wasn't because of his height (about 4 inches taller than he should be) and the fact that Grey's is filmed mostly in LA not Seattle so why would he be there? Plus, he was reading Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina", which seems awfully heavy for an actor. ;-)

Once we arrived in Seattle we took a cab to our first hotel. Note for people visiting Seattle: Do not take a cab from the airport. Get on bus 194 which will take you downtown, it's -much- cheaper. Anyway, our first night was spent at the Sixth Avenue Inn which did not impress me. It was the quality of a Super 8 with the price of a Hilton, however it did have one major benefit and that was that it's located downtown.

After checking in, we did a little exploring in the city. Something really quite strange about the city of Seattle is it's severe lack of a nightlife. The entire city basically shuts down at around 5:00 PM this time of year. Yes, you read that correctly, almost every store in the entire downtown area closes at 5:00 PM. This includes stores, restaurants, and street vendors. There are only a few places that stay open even to 9:00 PM and they are mostly drinking establishments. If you're under 21, you're basically screwed.

Thanks to the time change Kimberly was able to celebrate her birthday three hours longer than normal. Personally, I think there should be a law to stop this, it isn't fair to the rest of us 24-hour birthday people. Anyway after about an hour of searching we found an over-priced restaurant that was still open to get dinner. Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel to prepare for day two.

One quick picture before we head off to the airport.

Looking down on the dirty streets of Atlanta.

Mountains, with snow on them and everything. I'll have to visit the Rockies someday.

More mountains!


 

This is the lovely view from our room at the Sixth Avenue Inn. The place is actually quite nice with plenty of interesting little toys.

Kimberly riding the hog. At the Pike's Place market.

Piggy parts. Yum yum.

 


 

Day 2

After waking up and checking out we had the pleasure of trying to figure out the Seattle bus system. While I'll certainly give kudos to the amount of public transportation available, the affordability, and the frequency of bus pick-ups, I still have to say that the bus system in Seattle is very confusing to any outside visitor. It took us a great deal of time to figure out how the busses work, when to get on, which side of the street to get on, and what the little transfer ticket was for. Most of what we learned from the buses came from asking and observing other riders, the information the city provides is pretty much useless. The maps that are available are only partially accurate because the busses change their routes during the course of the day, the free ride section is small and vague, and most of the stops are not even shown on the city maps. By the end of the trip we had most of it figured out, but that was five days time, and we had to use the bus every day we were there.

Bus horrors aside, on day 2 we arrived at the 11th Avenue Inn, which is a bed and breakfast up in the Capitol Hill area. I would certainly recommend this place to anyone who can afford it. The rooms are very pretty and full of character, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable of the area, and their breakfasts are delicious and creative. After checking into our room we decided to enjoy the good weather while it lasted and visit the Woodland Park Zoo.

The Woodland Park Zoo was a lot of fun. Although it has nothing on the grandness of the Detroit Zoo, it did have a large assortment of animals and plenty of space for them. Visiting a zoo in September isn't that great because most of the cool stuff with the shows and the informative speeches happen in the summer, but we were fortunate enough to encounter a helpful worker who gave us a lot of information about the animals we were looking at, as well as what it takes to secure a job at the zoo.

Gazelles and zebras.

Hippos.

Hippos are huge animals, but sadly they are vegetarian, which means...

That large carnivores will always beat them up. Grr!


 

This duck has a weird growth on its nose.

Egyptian water fowl.

The two previous birds are the only ones supposed to be in this habitat, but a lot of mallards ended up taking up residence. Here we see a feeding frenzy!

Lagomorph!


 

An African monkey, I forget which species.

Wild dog. The ancestor of all our poodles and mastiffs.

I have no idea what this flower is, but Kimberly liked it.

This huge slug was on the walking path. It was about three inches long.


 

Some Indian and African elephants.

This is why the zoo is no place for children.

A tapir.

Orangutans chillin'.


 

Holy emus Batman!

A wallaby

The biggest and sexiest cat of them all, the tiger!

An Asian bear.


 

Penguins. I wish I could say that the white stuff was snow, but it was poo.

Considering the jump.

I give that dive a 9.8.

Enter the reptile house.


 

Lizards abound.

Some lovely snakes.

A rattler.

He wants to come out and play.


 

Pet me, pet me!

This turtle looks like a peanut, and that's funny.

Touch him, I dare you.

I'm just a harmless log, try and stand on me.


 

Creepy looking green snake.

The head of a very aggressive viper.

The back side of an opossum.

One of many hanging bats.


 

It's a shaguar baby! Yeah!

Piranhas are hardcore.

I completely forget what it is.

Imagine how far you could swing him by his tail.


 

A gorilla mooning me. These guys were loud.

A mountain goat eating tin cans or something.

A big blue crane.

The most deadly animal at the zoo.


 

 

As we were leaving this peacock walked right out of the bushes and scared us.

It wasn't even in a cage, it was just walking around looking cool.

 


 

Day 3

We started Wednesday with a trip to Pike's Place Market, which is a huge outdoor/indoor market in downtown Seattle along the shore line. Kimberly bought spice. A lot of spice. After spice buying, we went to the Seattle Aquarium, which was very interesting. They had a large variety of curious life forms from under the sea. After the aquarium we had lunch at a Chinese restaurant and then visited the Pacific Science Center which had plenty of strange exhibits showing off the wonders of technology and science. I also saw my first IMAX film there, but wasn't that impressed. Later in the day, after most of the city had closed we went to the Seattle Public Library which, oddly enough, stays open later than most commercial stores.

I think it was during this day that we saw this guy go crazy on the bus. The bus he was on had broken down so everyone on his bus came onto our bus, but then our bus stopped for awhile. The guy tried to get off, but the driver (who was now outside fixing the bus) had the doors shut. A woman giggled as he tried to get off--not at the man, but at the situation--and then the guy lost his temper and started insulting her. Oh, I forgot to mention that he was flaming gay, so his insults were pathetic to an almost cute level. "Oh you think that's funny bitch? Why don't you look in the mirror!" It was like watching a toddler try to beat up a professional boxer, you just can't help but laugh. Anyway, another guy (also gay) stood up for the woman saying that everyone was late so there is no need to be a jerk, but that just set the poof off even more. There was this cute exchange of sissy talk from the angry queer (who used the term bitch more than any male should be allowed), and a lot of actual clever wit from the other guy. The crybaby fairy even said a great comment, "it's a good thing AIDS doesn't kill anymore, or you'd be dead!" AIDS doesn't kill anymore? I must have missed that memo. Nothing's better than watching a homo try to insult another homo by calling him a homo. By the time the driver got back everyone on the bus demanded that he be kicked off or even arrested, so the flamer spit at the other guy and ran off. And that reminds me, Seattle has a really large gay population. I'm sure it's not that much more than any other city, it's just that in Seattle they're much more out than in Michigan. That is one thing I liked about Seattle, because the city was so diverse there was a lot less intolerance.

This eel thing just didn't want to stand still long enough to get an focused picture.

Run Steve run!

Fishies and stuff.

Big fish.


 

Nice camouflage.

Dalmatian?

Some sea otters wrestling.

Seal of approval.


 

Do orange fish taste like oranges?

A little shark.

Starfish just taking it easy.

I've been partially decapitated.


 

There was this little girl that kept saying "sea anem-o-nen-o-me".

Even better camouflage.

A worker told me that an otter once escaped and landed in this salmon tank and went to town on them.

Red-beaked bird.


 

They would actually let you touch these creatures. Urchins feel really strange.

A jellyfish tube.

A huge puffer fish.

Some colorful salt-water fish.


 

Would I eat a box of toxin? If it meant never having to see Comic Sans ever again, then yes.

Pinecone fish.

A seahorse with its tail wrapped around some seaweed.

More birdies.


 

A porcupine fish.

My yummy Chinese pork.

Ah the randomness of fate.

This place bakes dogs!


 

Let's just put the Pepsi sticker over the Coke sticker. Nobody will notice.

Dinosaurs fear me.

A t-rex. These are some on the oldest animatronic dinosaurs.

Triceratops. My favorite.


 

Big snake!

Pouty child!

I'm so sophisticated.

The lattice work inside the library, looking out from the 10th floor.


 

Seattle's library is huge!

This was a graphical computer program that listed out every book that was being checked in and out.

The ground floor of the library.

Why can't Michigan signs be this creative?


 

Day 4

Thursday was our day to eat out at a fancy restaurant, but we had plenty of time in the morning and afternoon to do several other things. First, we visited the Science Fiction Museum which had a copyright policy preventing anyone from using cameras, so I have nothing to show for it. The place was pretty cool, they had a large variety of props and information from many different sci-fi medias. Much of their stuff were originals from the Death Star model from Star Wars IV to the Donatello costume from TMNT. They also had plenty of other movie props like Captain Kirk's chair, laser guns, masks, costumes, etc. They had a nice computer with full biographies on all the people inducted into the Sci-Fi Hall of Fame like Isaac Asimov and Phillip K. Dick, and Ray Bradbury. Basically, if you're a geek you'll be pleased.

After the Sci-Fi Museum we found an arcade and played some DDR. That's right, DDR, wanna fight about it? I hadn't played in a few months and I'm totally off my game. Anyway, after getting all sweaty and gross we made our way back to our room to get cleaned up and ready for dinner. We got all dressed up (looked freaking hot!) and dined at Il Terrazzo Carmine which was a fancy place in the less popular side of downtown. The dinner total was just under $140.

Speaking of eating, neither of us ate prawns but let me tell you, -every- eating establishment had prawns. Every single one. Who eats prawns anyway; crazy people, that's who. Prawns are on the menu like Starbuck is on the street. And with Seattle being the world headquarters of Starbucks, you could find comfort in the fact that you were always within spitting distance of a Starbucks. And with that many Starbucks you just know that the amount of trendy people in Seattle was through the roof. Most of the people were hipsters which was a bit annoying, but I do have to give them props for being able to dress fashionable even in the cold rain. I'm not that cool. Since both Kimberly and I are people watchers, we had plenty of material for conversation the entire trip.

One more from Day 3. Sunset on me in the library.

This is the bedroom section of our room at the 11th Avenue Inn.

A little wider.

Same game, different state.


 

Kimberly in her dress.

Stud in a suit.

Super smile!

I'm ready for the board meeting.


 

Uh, yeah.

Pouty pigtail girl.

Okay, one serious one before we go to dinner.

 


 

Day 5

After checking out of our Bed and Breakfast, we took a bus to a hotel near the airport. The place was horrible. They over-charged me on the price and the room was dirty and gross. For revenge, I've gone to every online hotel ranking site and gave them the worst possible score. Crappy hotel aside, Kimberly and I had a wonderful last day in Seattle.

With the weather expecting to be the best on Friday (which it was) we waited until then to visit the Space Needle and do a ferry tour of the bay. They were both fantastic. The Space Needle was certainly a ways up there, but not as tall as I was hoping for. The massive buildings of Seattle have long since over shadowed it.

On the ferry ride we got to see all of the industry that Seattle does, and it was very interesting. The tour guide was this flaming Latino guy who said "definitely" every other word. By the end of the ride I wanted to severely maim him.

The Space Needle from a few days ago.

The Space Needle on Friday.

Downtown Seattle from the Space Needle.

Lake Union.


 

Residential area.

Queen Anne district.

Looking out on Puget Sound.

The Seattle Center and all its kooky architecture.


 

A helicopter landing at the TV studio.

Banditos.

Just another day at the top of the world.

Seattle. Not bad.


 

Watching the watchers.

A big cruise ship.

More Seattle.

Mount Rainier in the distance. You can also see Qwest Field and Safeco Field.


 

Looking down on the world. I'm used to it.

Kimberly in front of the EMP.

Waiting for the bus.

Still waiting.


 

Getting bored with waiting.

Shoving off from the ferry ride.

This building had cool architecture.

Seattle from the docks.


 

A genu-wine Seattle ferry. Both ends are the front.

Several piers.

A building fully over water.

A couple factories.


 

More of Seattle's "shoreline".

Some pretty commercial buildings.

"It's In the P-I" globe. Seattle's Newspaper.

A massive grain silo.


 

A sea of masts. It costs an awful lot to park a boat here.

Seattle from the other side of Puget Sound.

The residential area of Bainbridge Island, I think.

A sea lion chillin' on a buoy.


 

The industry in front of the two stadiums.

Mount Rainier behind all that sea industry.

Some huge dry docks.

A big crane. Big big big.


 

The boxes on the back of that tanker are trailers from semi trucks.

Since I'm in a white trash hotel, I may as well look the part.

Shoes aren't the only thing this guy polishes.

This is the kind of stuff I have to come home to.


 

Day 6

Day six was spent driving to and from airports, in airports, and in airplanes from 9:00 AM until 11:00 PM. It was a very long and dull day and I don't really remember much about it, because there isn't much to remember. Although, there was a cute incident where this overweight woman in her 40s was running, horribly out of breath, in the airport. As she wheezed and coughed, she made it to her destination just in time... the smoking room. Beautiful. Also, what's the deal with the airlines now calling turbulence "rough air". Do they have such little faith in our intelligence as to think we can't comprehend the word anymore?


So here's my prologue on the trip. I had a lot of fun, Seattle is a very nice city which could be made nicer if they stayed open later. I ate more than my share of Italian gelato (but not as much as some). The people of Seattle--even though they're ultra-hip--are actually very nice. Any time we, as stupid tourists, had a question someone was happy to give us information and help us out. Even after we had a lot of the bus routes figured out there is an awful lot of walking involved, so if you plan on going make sure you get in shape first. It's a lot more hilly than what I'm used to here in Michigan.

Seattle is indeed a beautiful and exciting city, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Life