This past weekend (June 23/ 24) I went on my first solo trip. I had never travelled alone and it was a great experience. I learned a lot about myself and what it's like to be on my own, as well as had a great time in Seattle. Every morning I got up and found a local coffee shop and looked at what was going on about town. Mostly I stumbled upon things or had them suggested to me. I found I bought a lot of gifts because I thought about my friends (which also means I thought a lot about blog peeps. AWWWWW... )Friday had quick HH w/Turkey, Flight-transit into downtown Seattle. I took the Central Link light rail service which has this interesting habit of announcing at each stop how to get off, for example "Sodo Station: doors open to my right." This gentle female voice is informing me how to depart from inside of her. It's distressing. I also made friend #2 while buying tickets; she was going to meet her friend at a wine competition and I inadvertently sent her to the wrong convention center. Whoops! (Friend #1 is explained below.) Hiked to hotel, checked in, wandered out for food, wandered back in, ate 2 sliders at hotel bar. Enjoyed personal king bed.
Saturday Morning- bah! is it only 6:30! Ah well, take time getting ready, enjoy TV IN THE BATHROOM MIRROR(!) go to gym downstairs. TVs on all the machines, watched The Prince & Me on mute instead of Sandusky news. Didn't miss the dialogue.
Got ready and wandered out to pike place market just as it was opening up.
Good farmers market but quite busy. I did stumble upon the Rock n Roll Marathon. Apparently, they shut down the Alaskan Way Viaduct (Highway 99) along the waterfront. I was near the end so there were lots of people lined up on the streets watching and with sporadic cheering. One would yell "Whooo! Jamie!" then some people would clap, then silence then a couple other people would clap. Because it was the Rock n Roll Marathon there was a grunge band playing near the end. To me, It was very Seattle to play grunge to runners.
Wandered more into Belltown. Found the Punk Rock Flea Market. Cool stuff, very alternative funky. Felt like I got the feel of the neighborhood. Picked up presents and 2 books for $5! Score!.
Back to hotel, with stop at Fran's chocolate shop to buy some port & chocolate pairing (first salesman couldn't tell me what the port was like because he was only 20. He then found me someone who was alive in 1991). Went back to room & relaxed.
Earlier in my wanderings I saw that the Seattle International Film Festival was showing movies around town and one of them was about a romance in passing in a foreign country staring a former crush of mine so THAT was going to happen. It was showing across town, so what did I do? I took the Monorail!
Had to go! It was awesome! They had early tapes and smashed guitars, huge unseen photos and interactive listening stations playing music from around Washington so you could understand what the local scene was like at the time. Also showing was a sci-fi exhibit and everything was arranged by question (i.e. what if we met aliens or what if we had superpowers?)
via i.imgur.com. not shown: Squeeeeee!
So I had something else I wanted to see. On Friday, I had quick drink w/turkey so it made sense to have another at the bar at Oakland airport. I was standing next to a guy in a storm trooper shirt and he says he's with the girls with sparkly helmets (Friend #1). They're going to a competition in Seattle Saturday night at the Key Arena.
That's right-Roller Derby! There were three regions represented the Bay Area Derbygirls (BAD), the Emerald city Rollergirls from Eugene, Oregon, and the Rat City Rollergirls at home in Seattle. They have great names like Snot Rocket and Iron Megan. A team get points by having a lead skater lap the group, so you've got fast and nimble (like a receiver) and blockers that slow the group so they can be passed. It's fun to watch, and pretty campy too! (also, BAD won!)
The last thing I did Saturday was go see another movie, Pixar's Brave. Good for Disney but not Pixar good. I was sad I couldn't share my popcorn with anyone. Had beer + book, back to hotel, enjoyed personal king bed.
Sunday-pack up, coffee, sadly no music performances within my timeframe. I packed my day bag and headed out to the historic Seattle center (Pioneer Square) for what is apparently what tourists do besides Pike Place & Starbucks coffee: the Underground Tour.
Seattle was founded essentially as a logging town built at soggy sea level. The tide can come in 12ft and up all your flat pipping (reverse flushing if you were foolish enough to do so at high tide). The first time they built, they created infill using sawdust--on the shore--at sea level. This was dumb and then the whole thing burned down. Then the city decided to build UP on raised engineered ground which had a slope for proper plumbing. But the businesses didn't wait, they built their shops at street level (sea level). The city countered by raising the streets to the second story & eventually covering between road & the shops enclosing the sidewalks (creating the first indoor shopping walkway, very popular in Seattle).
This created 30 blocks of underground sidewalks & buildings. Many sins proliferated including gambling, booze & prostitution. Then they got the plague from the rats. Then WW2 broke out and the vulnerable underground was guarded by the military. Then they left and the antiquers and homeless cleaned it all out. Then it sat for 30 years before someone decided to make a tour out of it. Then eventually I went on that tour.
After all that mingling with cruise shippers I thought what I really needed was quiet-- it was time for the library. Look at cheap tourist map, ah it's on 4th. I'll just walk up 4th till I see it. Well, there was something else there too.
Seattle Furries -s/he was kind enough to pose for me.
I'd stumbled onto the staging ground for Seattle's Pride Parade! The staging ground was perfect because I could see a bunch of groups all at once. (It was also summer for this 20 minutes, which was a nice touch from G-d, Allah, FSM). Basically any combination of personal description + gay/queer/lesbian/trans/kink was represented. There were Geek Queers! Goth Queers! Frat Guy Gays & Gay Dads with Minivans! There were Latino/as for equal marriage rights in and lesbian organic farmers raising organic kids. And the obligatory 'no clothes here!'
The library had 10 levels of books, a living room, a separate (enclosed) children’s room and a lot of study / mingling space. I read for a while. What I actually needed was a nap but since I'd given my hotel room back I had to settle for the salon and some chocolate cake.
Recovered my stuff from the hotel, took transit back to SeaTAC airport, had quesadilla and beer. [final shot] - AIRPORT!
As I mentioned earlier, I did think of you guys. Fiatlux really could have helped rouse the crowd watching the marathon. (can I get a 'Go Runners on 3'? Go Runners on 3!') Scootie hooked me up with the amaze balls hotel and suggested Fran's hot chocolate (hot chocolate + spa bath=my greatest idea). Bearstage suggested the library where I surprisingly got some 'piece' & quiet. I was reminded of Turkey when I saw the Sazarak bar and thought of all the whisky education I've gotten. And when the bartender asked if I wanted a shot of Jameson with my beer, I laughed, said 'Really no', and cursed CalBandGreat under my breath.