Published: April 12th 2006March 16th 2006
Coffee Stars Reunion
Meeting up with Sundari and her man in Seattle meant non stop laughs for the night
Growing up in Vancouver, Seattle becomes an easy place to visit and as a result, wasn't a place that I felt a great need to explore further. But then, it's always friends that make a place and I had a couple of people to hook up with.
I left my hostel rather early in the morning as I had been told that catching the setup of Pike Place Market was interesting to watch. I was thankful it wasn't as early as the fish market in Tokyo, (starting there at 5am!!) although I think my 8am arrival was out of the ordinary. All I saw were sleepy eyed people with coffees in hand waiting for the boss to arrive. I snapped a couple of photos, didn't catch a couple of fish as they so routinely throw out to passing tourists, and made my way to the Space Needle to meet my San Franciscan friend, Michaela.
The skies were a bit gloomy, but as in Vancouver, I was appreciative of the lack of rain. We shot up to the top of the Space Needle with a very talkative tourguide informing us we were acending at 10 miles per hour.
Pike Place Market
One of the biggest attractions in Seattle, the infamous Pike Place Market
My mind escaped for a moment imagining a flame beneath the needle and bolting further above ground, but I was brought back to my senses when the doors opened and I wasn't stepping foot into the home of the Jetsons. Michaela and I did a few circles and identified a few local landmarks before settling down with a coffee and catching up on day to day gossip. It's amazing how females can find a friend to natter with and then realize that day to day life really can be a soap opera. Well, Michaela's life is far more of a soap opera than mine! I just have the travelling tales!! Anyways, after the chin wag we crossed town to check a few more things off of our tourist maps. the Space Needle was an interesting view, but hardly worth the $15 ticket price.
I've popped into a few libraries to seek free internet during my travels, but the pull to see Seattle's book storage was more for curiosity sake. From the outside, the building looks extremely modern (it was completed in May 2004) and on the inside it has further shattered all dusty shelved stereotypes. I walked through
Early Seattle Life
As everything in Seattle seems to be sculpted by Starbucks and Microsoft, there were a few early examples to see
devil red corridors and felt a great need to plug in the ipod and begin pole dancing. Michaela continued leading the tour to the quirky corners as we saw floating heads behind a screen directing us to the science fiction areas at the bottom of the neon yellow esculators. I suppose the aged librarians finally decided to drop the glasses from the end of their noses to attract younger readers. This library certainly doesn't educate exclusively through books, as I'm sure there are budding architects, alien followers and even pole dancers that drop in for inspiration. And free internet.
We continued walking along Seattle's streets, and stopped into 'The Underground Tour' near Pioneer Square. We followed a crowd of tourists down some creaky stairs and listened to a few too many bad jokes detailing Seattle's history. Before the caffeine flowed freely through the bloodstream of its' citizens, there were some sewage issues that were dealt with by raising the street level. As a result, there are passageways from building to building that were soon inhabited by Seattle's finest ladies, in the 'sewing industry'. Store fronts and discarded signage now lay abandoned (until paying tourists came along) in the
Michaela at the library
Yes, it really is the library!
deserted basements whilst high heels scurry along the sidewalks above. It was a different kind of tour for the Pacific NorthWest, but also familiar to anybody that has worked in any retail unit in London.
The moment finally came for me to catch up with another friend, Sundari. Our last meeting had surely been a drunken night within London's Soho district, where our hours of working in the coffee shops had forced us to join the English in consuming multiple pints. We chose a meeting place known far too well by us both, (Starbucks) and quickly fell back into the gossip from our past. Lucky for us, there was an Irish pub just a few doors away.
"Do you remember where we were when the queen mother died?"
"Yeah, a pub in Wales! What about that Christmas party where we flashed the passing taxis?"
It was endless natter and laughter that led to a great need for food, and the Thai restaurant down the road was a perfect place to squash the pangs of hunger. Her yummy looking other half was also able to join us, and shake his head with disbelief at the life
Me at the library
Walking through the corridors felt more like entering a club than a library! Please disregard the dorky expression, I must have been caught in the middle of singing disco tunes
in London. It felt like the night could have gone on forever, but early work schedules for some and early departure plans for me brought us back to reality. It felt strange making such a responsible decision, but I guess we all grow up at a certain stage. Although, I did catch up with Michaela again for just a couple more pints before bedtime!
The morning alarm came rather abrubtly. I had slept poorly as there was a complete quacko singing girl guide songs between the occasional snore in the bunk opposite me. No more hostels for awhile, as I'm heading home. Which home? Vancouver home! I surprised even myself as I skipped up the stairs onto a train with excitement. Images of fresh smelling folded laundry, home cooking, and a large bed to myself kept dashing into my mind. Although the trip is hardly over, I've got some interesting months behind me that will be a joy to relive with family and friends.
So goodbye to Seattle and the entire United States. I'll be entering the other side again after crossing Canada, but now it's all about CANADA!
Books and hostels say to get there early to watch the setup. I discovered that you can still get there too early...there was nobody around!
There are more photos below