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Last day in Seattle

Posted on 2005/07/17 01:50:15 (July 2005).

[Tuesday 12th July]
My return flight wasn't until the afternoon - around 3:30, so I was determined to make use of my time in the morning and actually see something of Seattle other than just the airport, the hotel, and the office buildings where I'd been for my interviews. The hotel staff were very helpful in organising this for me - they arranged for me to drop my bags off at another hotel in their chain near the centre of Seattle, and even gave me some advice on where was good to visit. So I took a taxi from my hotel, via the other one of the same name, to the Space Needle. The taxi driver - an Indian guy named Kuljit (or was it Kurjit?) seemed to have a good knowledge of England, so we had a great chat on the way there about Indian food and how vital a part of British culture it had become. Superbly he even recommended a restaurant to me in Southall - the Rita Curry House. I made a mental note that I must go there one day - I absolutely love the idea that I'd had a recommendation for a restaurant, just down the road from where I used to live, given to me by a guy on the other side of the world! I was distinctly looking forward to having a chat with the owner, and saying hi from Kuljit.
Anyway, I digress. So I arrived at the Space Needle, and correspondingly took a few pictures of it. As always with these things it wasn't quite as big as I'd imagined - having only really seen it before in silhouette form in the opening titles to Frasier! Still, not to detract from it though - it was impressive nonetheless. From there, I picked up the monorail to head into the centre of Seattle, full of glee at the obvious Simpsons reference (assuming you've seen the episode with the monorail in). The monorail drops you off on the top floor of a shopping centre - called Westlake I think. From there I took a wander down towards the waterfront, and took a stroll around the famous Pike Place market, which was very good. I continued my general wander around, and ended up at a Post Office, where I spent rather longer than I had hoped, and almost witnessed a good old fashion American shooting (there was a guy losing his temper because they'd sent his "check" to the wrong address or something).
By this time it was gone midday, and being the cautious individual I am, I wanted to leave plenty of time to get to the airport. So I got back on the monorail, got off at the Space Needle again, and from there got another taxi to take me to the airport, by way of the hotel where I'd left my bags. Again, the taxi driver seemed to have some connection with England - his brother was teaching at a college in London apparently. I began to wonder if this might have just been a standard routine to curry favour with passengers. Perhaps next time I should say I come from somewhere obscure like Lichtenstein, to see what response that gets.
My return flight to the UK was not too bad really. I had a short connecting flight to Vancouver first, again on a tiny little plane with propellors and everything. From there it was another 9-and-a-bit hour flight to London, made much more bearable by having someone interesting to talk to. The woman sitting next to me was Canadian, and going to England to visit her daughter who was doing a PhD at Oxford, and she herself also had a PhD. So we had a wide ranging chat about academia, politics, Canada, the universe and everything. I am always extremely grateful to these poor souls who get lumbered with sitting next to me on planes, and are then subject to several hours of conversation from which they can't easily escape. I generally don't explain to them how much I hate flying, but perhaps I should, so they can appreciate what a tremendous benefit it is to have someone to talk to, to help take my mind off the whole thing, and help the time pass more quickly.

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