This is the 3rd of a series of posts recalling my second annual trip to Seattle. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of five years later or to add further clarification; I use “NOW” to denote such cases.
I slept a bit better than the night before but it was very humid at night despite the loud air conditioner. Hope Youth Hostel International reopens soon as my sleep situation isn't helping. Not long after I got outside my camera quit entirely. I went to City Wide Concierge to get a daypass, about getting to Bellevue without using express transit (different company, not covered by pass) and about getting a new film camera since I had too many rolls of film to go digital just yet. That and I felt too tired to learn new tech. They directed me to Rite Aid (no film cameras there except one-use types) and they directed me somewhere else without telling me it wasn't open yet. Another drug store insisted that nowhere that could help me was open yet, annoying since I was losing time).
[NOW: This was my first attempt during a Seattle trip at an excursion outside of the city proper, though Bellevue is still considered part of the Greater Seattle area. At the time there was a $5 day pass for weekdays and a cheaper one on weekends. The weekday deal ended first and the weekend deal is also gone. Nowadays, the express service, Sound Transit and the regular service, Metro Transit are close enough in price that I don’t worry about paying a little extra for the express bus. The Rite Aid described above has since closed down but there are other branches]
[UPDATE December 23, 2012: City Wide Concierge is located in Washington State Convention Center.]
At some point during the morning, I was remembering the aches of the bed during the night and was thinking of buying some Advil. Well not long afterwards someone downtown (an Advil rep) was giving out free (and, yes, unopened) samples of Advil. Haven't used it yet but I have it handy if I need to.
I found another drug store and explained the situation. He sold me a camera and explained that I don't need to open it because they'll replace the film free each time I return great. This is great if you want to go running to the drug store every time you finish taking 27 photos. He said there was a way to get film in anyway.
[NOW: The drug store above is a Walgreen’s].
As I found out on the bus to Bellevue (actually first of two busses): nope. I couldn't get the cheap contraption to work. The weather matched my mood. Pretty grey the first part of the day, and cold.
[NOW: I switched busses in a transit exchange in Kirkland.]
[UPDATE December 23, 2012: this transit exchange is Kirkland Transit Center. I haven’t been there since that day.]
Finally made it to Bellevue and it had the most unwelcoming appearance of any big city. Lots of tall buildings with no character. Lots of buildings being constructed too, as if half the city was being assembled only now, and not too prettily. I took an instant dislike to Bellevue.
[NOW: I now like Bellevue a little better, though the downtown area isn’t a favourite place to visit beyond the park described below.]
At Bellevue Square (a worker near the square actually didn't know where the city's major shopping area was) I did spend $60 on a film camera. Not as good a zoom as my old camera, but I can live with it for now. And it uses regular batteries so if it's a battery guzzler like the camera that died, it won't cost me $12 a battery. The storekeeper offered to take my old camera off my hands. I had in all seriousness planned a ceremonial smashing of the camera (even as early as last year I lost good pics because camera was a battery guzzler) but gave him the camera anyway in case they can dispose of it in such a way that some of the parts can be reused. I referred to the camera as a disposable camera when I did.
There was an okay park across from the mall. I knew of another park a ways off with a zoo, but yesterday gave me my fill of zoo, it was overcast, and I was already looking for stuff to shave off this part of the trip. I did get a nice leather-bound book on Marvel Comics at and published by Barnes & Noble for $15.
[NOW: The park in question is called Downtown Park. The other zoo was probably Cougar Mountain Zoological Park, which would have been way too out of the way for the headspace I was in that day.]
The Doll Museum didn't allow photography inside. Another excuse to shave off something else. I tried to run an intercept course to catch the next buss out of town, but that failed spectacularly (overpass over street I wanted to get to, which had no stops there anyway because it proved to be a freeway).
[NOW: The full name for the Doll Museum is the Rosalie Whyel Doll Museum.]
Finally two and a half hours after I first decided I wanted quickly out of that dreadful city, I took a bus back to the previous exchange. Instead of going downtown, I took an express bus to the University District; not part of daypass, but I just wanted to move to something more positive.
At the exchange I did finally explode when I tried to open a soft drink bottle and it too basically exploded. I apologized to people nearby and felt a little better.
[NOW: In other words the carbon pressure came out when I opened the can.]
For a time my express trick worked. The University District was indeed the highlight of the day. The district is beside the actual university and has lots of shops, including many used book stores, DVD/music stores, restaurants, etc.
Most travel guides rave about Bulldog News and I honesty don't see what the big deal is. A nice magazine collection, sure, but a number of Greater Vancouver shops have a similar selection, maybe even one Victoria place.
I did buy some movies (not at a really loud place which no name on the outside) and books. Most movies I bought from Scarecrow Video, which has an amazing collection of weird films as well as Hollywood fare. They even have their own movie book, which I bought. I even found a DVD I asked another store, Borders to hold for me yesterday because the coupon was only good today. Even with the coupon, Scarecrow Video was cheaper (I made a point of passing Borders en route to the hostel much later so they could restock it).
[NOW: The place I couldn’t find a sign for was Al’s Music Video Games; there’s definitely a sign now. As noted previous, Borders is now closed.]
One comic shop, The Dreaming only sorts by title in the A's. The rest is randomly by first letter. Didn't waste time searching long. The other comic shop seemed (pleasantly) amused by how loaded down I was by the time I reached there (Zanadu, University branch; no database thankfully this branch but didn't find anything). There’s also a pleasant book store devoted mainly to movie books.
[NOW: The latter store is Cinema Books. I can’t recall what there back issue area at the Dreaming is like now]
Then, feeling in better spirits, thought weighed down (including more Troma films) I went to Broadway. Broadway is basically the gay district (tellingly the church says "All are welcome here", plus numerous pride flags). And I got more movies, including, yes, Troma films.
[NOW: The day district aspect has since been downplayed but it’s still not a great place for homophobes. I think I bought the movies at Everyday Music, which changes location every so often.]
Sadly this is also where the third act of the day began and things went south again. As mentioned I've been feeling a bit sleep deprived. One store asked for photo ID with my signed VISA card. Later, before I left, I discovered I hadn't in my tired state put the BCID right where I grabbed it from. It's now lost.
[NOW: The store above is the now defunct Gruv. BCID=British Columbia Identification]
The good news is that the Canadian Consulate is right downtown. I have a credit card and a birth certificate, so I'm hoping that I can quickly obtain temporary ID tomorrow for the trip back across the border.
Feeling a bit down, I ate the free dinner of today (tacos; okay) then used my daypass to revisit Easy Street Records. I found a few DVDs (not Troma this time) and was feeling a bit better. Until the clerk decided to be a hard case about seeing photo ID to make my purchase. I had to leave empty handed.
[UPDATE Feb 2/15: This branch of Easy Street Records is now closed.]
[UPDATE Feb 2/15: This branch of Easy Street Records is now closed.]
Well that's my day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Not sure if I really want to be stuck here the full time. Unless trip improves, I'm worried about going from this disaster to work the next day, more tired physically and mentally than when I started.
[NOW: As we’ll see, I did eventually straighten out this mess, though the BCID never turned up.]