Sunday, January 20, 2008

on the road (volume 9)

Well. I must say these past several days have been quite incredible. Regretfully, my camera battery was dead for the majority of the time, so I only have a few pictures. Fortunately, however, I took pictures with my phone, but until I can get them uploaded to here, you will have to use your imagination. I'll have to post an addendum to this entry at a later date.

Let us begin by leaving somewhere South of Portland on Thursday morning to head north to Seattle. We awoke to gray skies and cold rain, precisely what I'd expected for the area. The cold felt surprisingly good after having been out of it for so long. We partook of the continental breakfast, filled up Thel's belly, and headed out. We found ourselves viewing Portland's skyscape very shortly thereafter, and I was glad that I had decided not to stop there at all that day. I took in the feel and the scenery from the highway. The architecture was really cool, but it looked cold and gray overall.

Anyway, I would be spending days there later on, so there was no need to think too much about that. The rest of the drive was pretty much city-less, and the landscape was flat, green, and beautiful. A three and a half hours later, we start seeing the exits for Seattle. We had no idea where we were going, as we were planning on staying with Court's friend that he was visiting there. His plane was landing just as we arrived, so we drove around the city waiting for his friend to pick him up from the airport and give us directions. We drove around most of downtown, and got a general sense of direction. I wanted to explore while we waited but every parking spot was minimum $6 for half an hour. It was hardly worth it since I had no map and didn't know what to see anyway. We ended up sitting in the parking lot of a 7 Eleven with a great view of the Space Needle until we could get directions.

After a lovely reunion with Court, and finally meeting his friend, we set out to find some food. His friend hasn't lived in Seattle for very long, so she wasn't too keen on directions, either. We were going somewhere 10 minutes away, and it turned into a half hour tour of the other neighborhoods of Seattle, which was wicked cool. We found a place to park, and decided to eat at this Indian restaurant advertising authentic cuisine. They weren't kidding. The servers couldn't even speak English. Or their own language, apparently, because they got our orders so wrong. We had to repeat things 5 or 6 times, and no questions could really be answered. It was so funny. Finally, after waiting for what seemed like forever, they bring the food, or everyone's order but my own. I ask about it, and he seems so confused. He doesn't understand what I'm saying, so I ask for a menu making a book-like sign with my hands, and finally point. He gets it and apologizes profusely. Apparently he mistook me saying "malai kofta" as me ordering "garlic naan." Even if you mispronounce that horribly, it sounds nothing like garlic naan. But, alas, we were laughing so hard by the end of the night, it was well worth the wait.

Bellies full, we hit the streets. There are tons of cool shops and places to explore, and we find ourselves in a wonderful bookstore full of wood shelves and half a dozen lofts. We spent the better part of the evening perusing through the volumes. It was certainly delicious.

At this point, we are all pretty tired, so we head home, and have a rather lovely evening together. The next day, the three of us are on our own because Court's friend has to work. We start by trying to figure out the bus timetables so we can get around. We decide to go to the Market and to Chinatown. We think we've got it, and we walk down the street a while to a bus stop, and hop on the 17. We're on for a while, and the driver finally says, "my route is over, where are you guys trying to get off?" We tell him and quickly learn that we've hopped the wrong bus. The driver, luckily, is nice enough to drive us to our destination anyway. We snag some maps and hit the market.

I wish I had pictures, but you can google it if you want. The Pike Place Market is wicked cool. It's pretty much a sensory overload, a maze of shops, in fact. There are vendors pushing their wares for floor after floor. There are bookstores, food shops, fruit stands, jewelry stores, crafts of all kinds, international treasures, record shops, toy stores, and I could go on and on. My favorite shop was this Egyptian store that sold a ton of wicked cool bellydance attire.

After the market we (successfully) hopped a bus to Chinatown, which was rather unimpressive. We walked around, and left shortly thereafter. We found a coffee shop (which, in Seattle, is just about the easiest thing to do) and sat down to enjoy ourselves. We were all pretty tired because this place requires a ton of walking. We wanted to get some food, but the places are "mediocre and overpriced," according to a Seattle guidebook. So true. We finally got a bus home and ordered Chinese food. It was absolutely delicious.

The next day was Garrett's birthday, so we pretty much wanted to do whatever he wanted. We planned to head to the top of the Space Needle for sunset. We left in the late afternoon, thinking we knew the right bus route and the right stop. We wound up having to walk for what seemed like forever, and crossing underneath the highway to get to it. It was certainly worth it.

It was dark by the time we reached the top, but we spent a couple hours absorbing the city lights.

Next it was off to one of the more popular restaurants in Queene Anne (a cool and very posh little neighborhood) called the Five Spot. Every 6 weeks or so they redo the theme entirely. This time around it's New Orleans style. I had honey fried chicken and endless sweet tea. Mmmm... a taste of home. This meal was delicious, and I highly recommend the Five Spot to anyone heading to Seattle.

We headed home with every intention of going out dancing for Garrett's birthday. We got home, researched some clubs, finally found one we felt would be worth trying, and realized it was 12:30 a.m. The club was open till 6, so no problem there, but the bus route ended at 12:50. We headed out the door only to realize we'd just missed the bus. At this point, we call up the transit system and they give us the address of another place to catch the other route. We go back inside to google where the stop is in relation to where we are staying, and head out. Suddenly we are heading toward a really shady dark abandonded underpass. I got a horrible feeling about it, and so did Garrett, so we went a different way. We walked forever, and had to use the GPS on Court's phone to figure out where to go. By the time we found the stop, another hour and a half had passed (we have no idea how) and we had missed that bus as well. We tried to call a cab, but one number didn't answer the phone, and the other number we had was some guy whom we woke from a deep sleep, apparently. This was getting frustrating, and we were dead tired because almost the entire walk had been up this really steep hill. We finally decided to just go home. We couldn't figure out what bus to take at 3 a.m. to get us to the club in time to get $10 worth of dancing in by 6 a.m. Oh well, we would have been too tired to dance anyway.

The next morning (this morning, actually) we awoke with a hunger, and successfully bused ourselves to IHOP (by this point we are proud of the fact that we can work the public transport system). We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Market and walking along the waterfront. It was very beautiful. I have more pics on my phone, and like I said, those will be coming soon. Anyway, I totally dig Seattle and the whole scene around here, though I could do without the wind and the cold. We'll be heading to Portland tomorrow or the next day, so I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Court said...

It's sad that I was so tired I forgot about trying to call the cab. It's also sad that I'm not in Seattle any more. Le sigh...