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Day out in Seattle

Posted on 2005/11/06 07:26:25 (November 2005).

[Saturday 5th November]
Spent the day doing touristy things in Seattle to pass the time with one of my colleagues. It seems slightly ironic that the colleague from my team in Japan that I talk with the most, and get on with the best, is also the person who speaks the least English. I guess it may partly because there is something more relaxing about being on an even footing - he speaks about as much English as I do Japanese. I always feel sort of guilty or something when a Japanese person speaks with me entirely in English.

Anywho, the two of us went and did a similar set of things to what I did when I was here back in July. The monorail, the Space Needle, the Westlake Center, Pike Place Market, the Waterfront and so on. The weather was pretty crap though - it was cold, wet and windy all day without reprieve. Although to begin with I was convinced I wasn't going to let it dampen my spirits (ho ho!), it did begin to grind a bit towards the end of the day, especially when it got dark.

We started off our day out with a bus ride from nearby our hotel, into the centre of Seattle. Superbly we didn't have to pay for it - our company ID cards, which seem to have a hundred and one uses, also give us free bus travel in the local area.

Upon arriving in the centre we got straight on the monorail and headed for the Space Needle.

We went up to the observation deck in the Space Needle which, at $13, was a little overpriced in my opinion. As the weather was so bad the views were hardly inspiring... but it was an experience I suppose - I would have felt the day to be incomplete somehow if we hadn't gone in. I also felt somehow compelled whilst up there to get a coffee from the Starbuck's at the top - I hardly ever drink Starbuck's when anywhere else in the world, but "When in Rome...".

I wasn't sure how much more "Seattley" you could get - at least in terms of the superficial touristy side of Seattle - we were at the top of the Space Needle, drinking Starbuck's coffee, and outside it was absolutely pissing it down. If only one of us had been an insomniac (or a psychiatrist) it would have been perfect.

After this we got the monorail back into the centre, and grabbed a bite of lunch at the Westlake Center, there is a sort of food court place there, and the food was better than I expected... and cheap! Very cheap indeed.

Next we wandered down to Pike Place Market and had a look around there. By this point I had pretty much exhausted all the places I knew in Seattle (basically everywhere I had been on my previous trip) and was at a bit of a loss for what to do.

We wanted to get a second umbrella, and in the quest to find one I inadvertantly steered us into an Irish pub - I think the pretense was that we could ask in there where we might be able to find a shop which sold them. Actually this very dubious gambit paid off - not only did we enjoy a couple of very decent pints of Guinness and a nice sit down - we were also given an umbrella for free by one of the bar staff. I felt thoroughly vindicated!

I had a vague idea it might be nice to go on a boat somewhere, so after an extended period of wandering around trying to find where boats go from, we found one of the ferry terminals, but then decided against it. It was at least an idea stored up for next time I need to kill time in Seattle (probably at some point in the next couple of weeks).

A bit more aimless wandering ensued and we were getting a bit tired, so eventually we headed in a round about way back to Pike Place, and went to the bar / brewery place there for a drink and an early dinner. I had seen this place before on my previous visit, and was very glad we went - both the beer and food were very nice.

We got a bus back around 7:30, and after a quick visit to the supermarket near our hotel, I retired to my room for the evening. Despite the awful weather it had actually been a very nice day out.

Comment 1

Excellent, Jonh! Do you mind if I compare you to a mobile web-cam? Splendid!I particlarly liked the two pictures of the Guinness!! A man after my own heart... :) (Have I ever mentioned how _much_ i like Guinness?!! :) !!)

Posted by Nigel at 2005/11/06 10:38:38.

Comment 2

I am a Guiness OTAKU (die hard fan in japanese) as well!! I only drink that now, though in Italy you get the crappa guiness productions....

Posted by Lox at 2005/11/06 11:15:44.

Comment 3

Nigel is correct John .....

You really should consider an alternative career as a travel writer .. fascinating stuff .... as long, of course, as you can get your employer to pay for it all.....

You have the precious ability to 'look 'at home' now anywhere in the world .... well at least after the first few days ....

However I am little worried about your 2 Japanese colleagues who look at best totally bemused and at worst frightened witless ... take care of them ...

Love and blessings.....

Posted by Rev Nick at 2005/11/06 11:59:19.

Comment 4

Nice pics. The pink beverage your ordered in the Westlake Center looks highly suspicious to me... What does it taste like ?

Posted by Sheri a.k.a. 'ze mean frog' at 2005/11/06 15:26:16.

Comment 5

Cool the 'sampler'...!

Posted by Sheri... again at 2005/11/06 15:29:14.

Comment 6

Haven't you bought yourself a winter coat yet? (Typical mother comment). They are half the price in the States.

from Mum at present in the sunny Dordogne, not needing a coat at all...... but with a stinking cold - also typical of your mother when she goes on her hols.

Posted by Mum at 2005/11/06 16:02:22.

Comment 7

You like right at home, John. Especially when surrounded by pints :)

Hope your trip is going well...

Posted by Catherine at 2005/11/06 16:04:39.

Comment 8

Thank you to all of you for your feedback! In response:

1) Nigel - Yes Guinness really is unbeatable isn't it? The fact that Guinness can be bought almost anywhere in the world has to be something of a stab in the eye to those who would complain about globalisation!

2) Lox - I recall having Guinness in Italy that wasn't that bad at all... Clearly it is at its best in Ireland, but it is such a great beer that even after losing some of its quality through travel, it is still great.

3) Dad - yes I suppose after a year of constantly moving about I have somehow learnt how to take that feeling of home with me... and as for my Japanese colleagues I think the photo in question is misrepresentative - perhaps they weren't entirely sure what to make of me at first, but now they seem to be very friendly indeed.

4) Sheri - it was Tropicana's Pink Lemonade, a bit like a Snapple I think. Hard to describe what it tasted like exactly - I guess it is supposed to be lemonade with a hint of grapefruit...?

5) Sheri - yes the sampler was a very good idea indeed! Also it seemed to be quite good value - just $6 - so $1 per glass of beer.

6) Mum - I brought a winter(ish) coat with me to the US. I threw out my big long coat earlier this year (it was in a horrible state), but will wait to see how bad the Japanese winter is before replacing it. I think I can probably manage with the coat I have at present...

7) Catherine - yes beer does have that wonderful effect of making you feel relaxed no matter where you are in the world. Seattle in particular seems to be quite a good beer city - a "local" told me that people here where really into their microbrews, and I have been to several places already that brewed beer on the premises...

Posted by John at 2005/11/07 05:40:52.

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