Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pacific Northwest Trip 2008 Day 6 Saturday July 26, 2008


This is the sixth of a series of posts recalling my third 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.

Lots of snoring last night, especially as I was leaving.  Because of stupid meds slept in until 7, which I didn't want to because it takes time from watching the setup of stuff for the parade.

[NOW: No longer on those meds]

When I got up there was only one computer in use.  It's the fastest and it's being used by someone who leaves to do various tasks before returning.  Sigh.

Well, time for a quick breakfast, then lots of photos of the parade set up.  As per last night, if you want to see what I'm doing this eve, check the media for parade reports.
[NOW: The above was written in the morning; the rest I wrote in the evening.]
Last night someone kept knocking on the door loudly instead of using their keycard or asking the front desk for help

Visited Borders and bought seasons 1 and 3 of the Showtime series Bliss.  Since it's an anthology series, it doesn't matter in the short term if I don't have season 2.  The plastic case one of the sets was in proved hard to open at the cashier.  I hoped they wouldn't manage as the case would have made a nice souvenir but they finally got it open.  Walked to Seattle Center and took pics of the early parade set up.  Then I bought more DVDs at Easy St.  Having time to kill before a few places in the vicinity opened, I visited the Kerry Park, which has some nice, and free, views of Seattle Center, downtown, and West Seattle.  It was up a hill, so I much preferred the return trip.  I bought a DVD at Underdawg Records (sic) before returning to Seattle Center, by which point it was a bit cloudy the rest of the day.

[NOW: Borders and Underdawg are now defunct.] 

There I used another CityPass at one of the places I was least interested in called Pacific Science Center, mainly intended to educate kids on science.  The pass included a free IMAX show, but I didn't enjoy my last IMAX experience so passed on the movie, figuring there's enough to do in Seattle without feeling obligated to go to something you're not really interested in.  I did consider going up the Space needle but then and every time later on, the line-up was too much of a time investment. 

My final CityPass ticket was a choice between a Science Fiction Museum/Experience Music Project (EMP) combo or something else I'll go into tomorrow.  Since the hostel offered a reduced fare on the combo anyway, I decided not to use my final ticket today.  Using the hostel deal, I visited the SciFi Museum for the second time and the EMP for the first.  No photos allowed in either.  The former had expanded a bit and while my time there was short it was quite fun.  I'm not a big music buff, but I heartily recommend the EMP, in the same complex to anyone who is.  While I opted out, you can make your own music there.

I walked back downtown and took more parade set-up pics, ignored a couple of the many Greenpeace "in your face" folks I've been encountering on the trip. and accepted a free Jones promo drink.  Making my way a bit south I visited the train station to get a sense of the location and because I needed to use the facilities badly.  Heading to the International District I ate at the food court at the large grocery store Uwajimaya.  Checked out a few video stores in the area (all Chinese, Korean etc) and visited the new Wing Luke Museum.

 [NOW: Jones has since stopped giving out free drinks during Seafair]

The new Wing Luke is a huge disappointment over the original.  Which a lot more spacious, it costs more and has a lot fewer things to see.  I complained that they eliminated the profound Camp Harmony exhibit (internment camp feature, very sobering) and they said they eliminated a lot of the old stuff to give it a brand new feel.  which is all good and well except they needed to replace them with more stuff.  The old museum was smaller but made great use of the space.  The new one is a huge complex full of empty space.  So I don't recommend to veteran visitors because your favourite parts are probably now gone, and there's not enough for newbies to get their $8 worth.  It is however a great place to meditate unimpeded by unnecessary distractions, such as museum exhibits.  I think they place to add a bit more but not a whole lot.

I took a quick peak at a few free art museums such as Foster/White.  Very small, but being free, I'm less critical of them.  I walked to Safeco, partly by accident, and found it a great place to get shots of downtown.  A game at Pike Place Market  didn't work right but only cost me 25c.

I returned to Seattle Center and got a third set of parade set-up pics, stopping along the way for some fairly frozen sandwiches at a grocery store, at least avoided any later large restaurant line up.  I've learned from past parades.  One woman at the International Fountain, uh, didn't say no to crack, and I don't mean drugs.  At least she was cute. A chopper kept flying overhead (I was in error before: using 20x zoom it was clear that it was KIRO that was really covering the parade). 

I returned downtown, taking my final set of set-up pics and lucked into a spot on the crosswalk not far from my hostel.  By this point the roads were cut off for the parade so people sat in the road.  It also meant that en route I could ignore red lights in full view of police officers because no car would be going the other way anyway.

My spot was pretty nice except it seemed to be a magnet for people wanted to cut to the other side, requiring numerous shifting.  The parade itself was no deterrent for this phenomenon.  Before the parade proper there was a race.  One runner wore briefs with his race number attached and footwear and nothing else.  I took no pics of him.  Despite being fully dressed one woman has smiley faces in the rough location of her nipples.  On a tamer note someone was dressed as Wonder Woman.

The parade itself was fun despite the above cutting through problem and often having to shoot through other people, including parade officials.  Three Canada cities were in the parade: New Westminster, Calgary, and Vernon.  In case the signs weren't visible I named them in videos I took. Some nice giant balloons such as a Huskies helmet, the Sikhs did a nice display as usual (no irony; I actually look forward to their annual displays), some nice music, pirates firing cannons, and clowns (sadly no JP Patches & Boris this year).  At the end of the parade I took pics of the people clearing out en masse.  Some people oddly thought I was taking pics specifically of them which I thought was a bit self-focussed; also got a lot of litter photos (with the parade over this was very obvious).  I missed them until the end because I was on the wrong block, but again there were Christian protestors who hadn't gotten the memo about there being a New Testament.  If they had gotten the memo, surely they would have treated the parade as a time to love instead of hate.  Lots of police monitoring the crowd dispersal and the dismantling of temporary seating areas.  Got some pics of equine cops during this.

As it got darker the pics became of lesser quality but they never dipped below film levels after it got dark.  In some ways the set-up is at least as fascinating as the parade itself, but the full experience is worthwhile because Seattle truly goes all out.

It took some time to find a computer free to type this report, and once I did, another user had converted to Chinese characters without the courtesy to convert back, and even the hostel staff didn't know the solution

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