Sunday, November 6, 2011

Seattle Trip 2007 Day 4 Friday July 27

This is the 4th 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.

Might as well update the latest sleep situation.  For the first few hours (around 10 to 1:30) there was one couple that would leave their bunk light on for long periods at a time.  Near the end, there was a prolonged period of probably at least half an hour where they had the light on when they weren't in the room, and even eventually jarred the door open for the benefit of themselves and another problem to minimize keycard issues.  This of course let more light in.

Even so, I think I finally managed around four consecutive hours of sleep.  For this particular trip it's actually pretty good. There's the occasional loud noise outside of course (my previous hostel was more away from vehicles and street people) but it's generally been in-dorm stuff that has been affecting sleep.

I haven't mentioned the free breakfasts yet.  Mostly fruit, but also free brownies and make it yourself waffles.  I don't have the best coordination so I'm not going to attempt to make a waffle, especially not half asleep.  No breads or cereal.

A lot of the day was spent recreating a lot of what I cherished about my trip last year (in one case unintentionally).

Early in the morning I wandered around, visited the newsstand at Pike Place Market and there saw an oddity (didn't buy): a Russian issue of GQ with a cover of Quentin Tarantino holding a dove.

A lot of what I enjoyed last year was just walking around early morning taking photos and so I did this and had a lot of fun.  The Hillclimb at Pike turned out to be another overpass basically, and an unneeded one at that. There were trees by it so it does attract birds.

There were a couple of windy outdoor staircases at the back of the market so in one case in particular  I walked up to each level and took a photo to see how it changed each time.

Then I went to the Canadian Consulate.  I thought it was the 4th floor.  I didn't press the button on time and had to ride to the top or close to it with other passengers then back down.  It was actually the 6th.  I tried taking the stairs but I found I couldn't leave the stairs any higher than 3rd and so took another elevator up.

Finally making it to the consulate, I was told there'd be a $27 US charge come Monday, when the documents would be ready.  The documents might not actually be needed but I'm playing it safe.  I decided I'd better withdraw some more cash to be save (hot weather so been spending $1 here, $1 there on soft drinks). Since I had to do that anyway, I withdrew extra cash for places that wouldn't take my credit card now.  Accordingly I recovered the DVDs I wanted to buy at Easy Street Records yesterday night, still on a cart to be reshelved.

[UPDATE Feb 2/15: This branch of Easy Street Records is now closed.]

From there I visited Seattle Center again and saw the International Fountain had new benches (at least I don't recall them from last year, and while not a geyser, there was in fact water coming from it now, whereas it wasn't working before).  I made a note to revisit.

The 7-11 I visited on my first day in Seattle last year, in front of the Space Needle has temporarily been reworked as a Qwiki Mart to promote the Simpsons Movie, one of twelve 7-11s worldwide made to look like their fictional counterparts.

[NOW: Unfortunately though not unexpectedly, it was back to being a regular 7-11 the next year.]

Back at the first video store I visited this trip I got a couple more DVDs, most notably USA Network's submission in the hopes of getting nominated for Emmies in 2005.  Unfortunately their complete mini-series I already had (4100, later known as 4100 season 1) but it's fun to have real Emmy submission DVDs.

[NOW: I’m referring to Swerve.]

[UPDATE December 23, 2012: Swerve has since closed down.]

I explored some stores at Pike Place Market walked south a bit, and searched for the Elliott Bay Water Taxi, which I forgot to write the location of (I had a choice of saving $1 or getting the taxi sooner; I chose the latter).  The first place I checked proved to be the right dock.  The water taxi is basically a small ferry, like the Seabus in Vancouver but with an upper outdoor level and very few seats inside.

[NOW: The old water taxi was decommissioned and there’s now a new model water taxi in use at a different location, but I haven’t been on the new one yet.]

[UPDATE December 23, 2012]: The Elliott Bay Water Taxi is now called the King County Water Taxi.]

From there (West Seattle) I walked to Alki Beach (last year and an acquaintance and I got out nearby and did a similar walk).  I realized I had been really close last year to the 3' Statue of Liberty there and never noticed it.  Will have to check my old photos and see if it's in one or two.  It's been removed to be housed in a museum due to vandalism and a new one's being made.  I learned about this the night before leaving Victoria.

There was a really good burger place across the street from the beach.  The beach was, if anything too comfortable.  Not fully recovered in terms of sleep, had I stayed I most likely would have fallen asleep and burned myself.  So I don't entirely regret changing my mind about relaxing there.

[NOW: The burger place is Pepperdock Burgers. I usually go there when I visit Alki Beach on my Seattle trips now.]

I walked along some more, saw the lighthouse, and then tried crossing a park to the West Seattle branch of Easy Street Records.  This proved to be harder than expected.  The park went steeply upwards, the path was very windy and once I chose a more obvious path instead of a slightly more obscured but still visible path.  The clear path started back down before finally ending (in spirit if not in fact) in thorns.  I backtracked and found the clear path.  Now determined to conquer this park I ran an obstacle course, ducked at least once, and finally the park gave in and let me out the other side.  Though last year's paths were clearer it did remind me of last year trying to decipher the routes at Discovery Park.

[NOW: I now almost always take the bus at least part ways there now, though I have figured out a better route if I do decide to walk.]

Finally making it to the other Easy Street, found it noisy and not so good a selection, though I found one set.  Walking a different route, I got a Slurpee-like strawberry kiwi drink (tasted like real fruit, but probably not just those two) then revisited the path a bit before heading back to the water taxi.  On my way back, there were two guys on roller skates and one of the guys very obviously checked me out.  Alas due to my more heterosexual hormones t'was not to be.

The dock was very rocky when waiting to board the taxi but finally I found myself back downtown.  I visited out the International District (read: Chinatown), then Elliott Bay Book Company, and then back to hostel to drop off some stuff.

[NOW: Again the Elliott Bay Book Company has since moved.]

Wasn't hungry yet so walked to the International Fountain, which was now working in full again.  So I just say and relaxed there for maybe 45minutes, maybe longer.

Now last year one of the things I loved was the Tower Records near Seattle Center, which closed after my visit.  Oh sure it was a franchise and marginally more expensive than most places, but it was unpretentious in decor, and like much of Seattle had a decent alternative selection of movies. Last year it was open until around midnight and there were always people.  And months had passed since the closure. Could it have been reopened outside the Tower Records franchise? Well... yes!  Oh sure, the books and magazines were gone from the merger with Tower Books.  Also gone was that one DVD section that was... placed well away from the rest.  And most of the store had things in different places.  But the selection (beyond that one type of DVD), prices, and décor were the same.  In all important respects, the place I had enjoyed hanging out in lat year was back.  I wish I had found out about it before day 4, but it's not too late to revisit like I did last year.  All is now right with the universe, except for getting the old hostel back.

[NOW: The store in question is called Silver Platters. Though I don’t buy them, there are x-rated movies to be found there if one is so inclined. There are other Silver Platters in the Greater Seattle area, but this is the one that most resembles Tower Records.]

I did do one sneaky thing.  Jones is apparently trying to penetrate the US market and was giving away free soft drinks.  The cashier handed me one, so I put it in my bag so the Jones people would offer me another one.  It worked.

[NOW: I was mistaken about Jones being Canadian. They’re actually Seattle area based – Lynnwood I think - and used to give out free samples during Seafair. They no longer do this.]

Ate at McDonald's (unlike here they give you a cut and you pour your own drinks; you can even mix if you want) then returned home for a real long e-mail.  Whew!

[NOW: Victoria McDonald’s have started going the self-serve drink route as well. ]

Hopefully I'll eventually be able to send this.  As I type this Internet went down again and since this is very long have to wait for it to come back up before turning in.  Okay, I think it's working now.

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