© 2011 jemma

Sleepless in Seattle.

I’ll get this out of the way first. The above title is of course a rip off of the famous Tom Hanks movie. However it bode true for me in Seattle. On the first night there was a cops episode playing out in the street beside the hotel, and on the second night the people above us had loud 2am “encounters” and a post “encounter” debrief.

Anyway back to Seattle!

On Friday morning Jess and I caught the Quickshuttle down to Seattle. The coach left Vancouver from the middle of the city. Which is great…for people not living near Stanley Park. In other words we were up at 5:30am to catch a 7am bus. The bus itself was quick and efficient (4hrs). The pick-ups were quick (except the boarder crossing – but that went ok) and the I thought the driver was nice. Jess said he talked too much. I think Jess was just cross that he had to eat a egg and bacon breakfast sandwich from 7/11. His fault for not wanting cereal at 5:30am.

We arrived in Seattle at 11am on a cold but sunny morning. I think it was -2 or something. We checked into our hotel and crossed the road to visit the Seattle Space Needle and find a hearty American lunch. I had what I believe to be a Donor Kebab and Jess had a hot dog. Very healthy I know! As the guy at Customs said, “Welcome to the breadbasket of America!”

Now if everyone can remember that Simpsons episode where Bart and the boys take the car and drive where the World Expo was years before, that is pretty much what the Space needle, surrounding food court and carnival is like. The needle itself was made for the 1962 world expo in Seattle and there it has stayed. Don’t get me wrong, the view is as awesome as the elevator with windows (scary), but I think it’s much like the Opera House and needs a bit of a face lift.

When you are at the top of the needle, you can stay inside (warm) or go outside (cold and windy). Jess said we had to go outside because the view was better, so we braved the Arctic winds and wandered around the outside. The views were spectacular and you could see so far. It also gave you a great introduction to the city, and allowed us to find all the attractions we needed to go to for the city pass we bought. I felt the inside was better, as it was heated and I could feel my fingers. Next stop, Seattle Aquarium.

On the way to the Aquarium we stumbled upon the Olympic Sculpture Garden. It was quite nice to wander through sculptures large and small from all over the world. It was also funny because they were doing track work on the railway below and someone had tripped a wire and the boom gates and red lights had engaged, trapping the traffic for 20min. By walking through the garden we didn’t need to stop for the fake train and walked over the top of all the enraged people below. Serenity.

It was octopus appreciation week at the Aquarium and they had octopus displays everywhere. My favourites were the massive red octopus (see photos) and the blue ringed octopus in a jar (reminder of home). They have no shows, but the seals and the sea otters were very active and very cute. The sea otters were Jess’ favourite and he would like one as a pet (Christmas present?), but when I wanted to buy a sea otter plush toy I wasn’t allowed 🙁 (such a meanie!) They also had a diver in the big tank that was feeding the fish. She got a wolf eel to come out, and it is huge! I don’t want to meet one under the water that’s for sure!

Next stop on the tour was Pike Place Market. We didn’t really know what to expect, all we knew was it was famous and had been there for 100 years or so. I thought it would be like a Paddy’s type indoor market, but it has it’s own character. At the fish stall they do fish throwing and yelling (it smells!) and all Jess wanted was to eat the gigantic salmon there. He did buy some ready to eat king crab (Seattle is home to the Deadliest Catch boats). I bought a giant cinnamon doughnut for $1. It was yummy!! The markets also have this alley called gum ball alley or something. It started out as theatre patrons leaving their gum on the wall, but now it’s a tourist attraction. It smells and made me want to hurl, which Jess thought was funny. The gum art is quite funny though. Pike Place is also home to the first Starbucks. We lined up for 20min, and I got a salted caramel hot chocolate, and Jess got a Caramel Macchiato. Yum! The only difference between that Starbucks and the million others in Seattle is that the shop is still the old shop, has a different logo and sells different stuff. Massive tourist attraction.

That night Jess wanted pizza. We had no idea where a good pizza place was, so I suggested I go into one of the hotels near where we were walking to ask. Jess said that it was a good idea that I go because I have breasts. After acquiring the information from two lovely young gentlemen we made our way to Zeeks pizza. We ordered two SMALL pizzas and what we thought were bread sticks, which turned out to be a garlic pizza. The pizzas were large and delicious and I almost finished it!! Almost. I felt the beer was more important to finish and Jess was very happy with his first American pizza 🙂

Saturday was dedicated to Science. I deemed it real science and pretend science day, with the first stop being the Science fiction museum. I think I am the best girlfriend for finding this museum that was showing the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA exhibit. I wasn’t that bored either and I did learn a lot about the show, including what the show is actually about. Jess was VERY happy and I think liked explaining things to me. Mainly only about everything I was looking at. To me it seems like such a sad show where lots of bad stuff happens. I think the guys only watch it for the Cylon/Skinjob (whatever) Caprica Six in her red dress.

Attached to the SciFi Museum is the Experimental Music Project Museum/Music factory. You get to play all sorts of instruments and even some songs. My favourite was the drums because they are loud!! I think Jess was quite good at the keyboard activity where you had to follow what the computer was doing to play a song. I kept making mistakes and gave up. It was pretty cool. There was even a Jimmy Hendrix display.

Next was the actual science centre, where actual real science happens. It was pretty much your basic science centre, with a goofy guy doing the liquid nitrogen show, dinosaur animatronics and hands on activities. These were pretty cool, but my favourite things were the butterfly house and the bug show. I liked the butterfly house for 2 reasons. 1. It had really pretty butterflies, and 2. It was hot!!!!! Jess had never been in a butterfly house and was amazed that you couldn’t pat said butterflies when they flew near you, because they DIE! They had some really big blue ones that always flew near your head, tempting Jess.

That night we had Thai. Good to know Pad See Ew tastes the same wherever you are.

On our last day, we walked around the city and the waterfront checking out the sometimes funny and sometimes lame souvenir shops, the arcade and of course the burger place where we had lunch. At this particular burger place you got unlimited fancy soft drinks (lemonade and strawberry) and if you wanted them, unlimited steak fries!!! That’s right supersize your already large burger with onion rings on it with more fries! I must admit that the burger tasted good. And I did finish it…and the fries. We were walking a lot though!! Jess’ even had deep fries jalapenos on it!

To finish off our Seattle adventure, Jess and I took a harbour cruise. It went for an hour and took you all around the harbour. It was narrated, so we learnt a lot about the city, things to do, what to see (we were leaving that day) and fun facts. One fact is that although Frasier was set in Seattle, it was never filmed there, and Greys anatomy is set there (we saw the hospital). Great facts about shows I don’t watch. On the cruise we also saw a group of Californian Sea Lions on a buoy and in the water. They are big sea lions, and looked so cute altogether. Jess enjoyed the massive ships and boats that we passed. We were so tiny in comparison to some. We also learnt that Seattle is not in fact the rainiest city in America, but the cloudiest (handy for the Vampires in Forks).

After the cruise we walked back through the markets, bought some mini doughnuts (tasty) and headed back for our return coach trip, only to return to a snowy Vancouver. It’s cool seeing a city with snow in the main streets. It’s not cool however when buildings don’t clean the paths! No wonder we saw a skunk running to a less snowy location! Jess chased it. Enough said.

All in all a good break and our first American adventure. Back to reality of planning the next 10 months 🙂