Live and Thrive Wherever You Are

Seattle Sights Part I

Honestly, the only reason I wanted to see Seattle was because V could not stop talking about it. There was even a time when he considered relocating us to the Pacific Northwest. When I read up about Seattle, I noticed that people kept mentioning the weather. How dreary it was. How the sun only shines in summer. How people suffer from seasonal depression. Consequently, I said no to any potential moves.

However, I did want to sample the food. Aside from the weather, the food seemed to be the next most talked about aspect about the city. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, seeing how I got disappointed with Vancouver. When I finally arrived in Seattle, the one week I spent showed me that Seattle wasn’t all that dismal and perhaps the locals wanted to keep the place to themselves.

Off to Seattle we fly and landed in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The first time I learned about Sea-Tac was on the pages of one of Nora Robert’s novels. When it comes to research, Roberts knows how to educate her readers. I learned about jades, pearls, amber, not to mention Wicca from reading most of her earlier paperback novels.

I digress. I landed at their famed airport, “the largest airport in the Pacific Northwest region of the North America and eight-busiest airport in the United States” according to wikipedia. The airport reminded me a bit of Zurich. It was very efficient. V and I got on one of their shuttles to get to the baggage area. It hadn’t even taken 10 minutes from the plane to the carousel and the carousel had already been emptied, with unclaimed luggage on the floor. Of course, after being suitably impressed, fate laughed at us. Our luggage was missing.

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V: What is with this Samsonite bag? I think it’s cursed. 

Me: (immediately cornered a staff who directed us to the Customer Service table) If this is going to be a repeat of the TAP Portugal fiasco, you’re dealing with it.

Thankfully, Alaska Air was much better at dealing with luggage issues. The staff helped us fill the form, personally walked to the carousel and to the back of the rooms to double check, told us we’d be getting a $50-voucher in the mail and they’d reimburse any emergency supplies we needed to buy, and  repeatedly assured us we’d get our luggage back. Just as we were walking away, she saw our blue suitcase…included in the oversize batch. Hmm…as it was a standard medium-sized suitcase and not even heavy…V still got the $50-voucher in his mailbox a few days later.

Our decision to loiter at the airport for a bit of lunch got thwarted when a friendly airport staff informed us that most of the restaurants and cafes were inside – after security. With that, we headed to the Parking Lot.

Transport to downtown Seattle

To get to Seattle, we had to cross the connecting bridge to the Parking Lot and down to the 3rd level where there were taxis in abundance as well as ride sharing vehicles like Uber and Lyft.

We could’ve opted for an Uber or a Lyft but we decided on a taxi. After passing the crowd waiting at the app-sharing ride station, we patted ourselves on the back for our decision. From Sea-Tac to our airport, the taxi ride cost us about $52+ including tip.

Now, on to the sights.

Museum of Flight

For those who are into air and space travel, the Museum of Flight would be a good place to visit. We decided to take a bus to try Seattle’s famed public transport. We didn’t have an Orca card which wasn’t a problem since the buses took cash for payment. As it wasn’t peak hour, the fare was $2.50, exact fare required. Going back was peak hour so we had to pay $3.25.

We only had an hour to go around so we blazed through the two buildings. It was worth it, especially going inside the Concorde, Air Force One, and the Boeing Dreamliner. We got a sense of past and the future. The Smithsonian in Washington DC had more planes in their hanger but they didn’t allow entrance into the Concorde, which disappointed V no end. This trip more than made up for it.

While waiting for the bus back, we bumped into a group of Aussie travelers. Speaking with them and listening to the familiar accent had me remembering Melbourne though they were from Canberra.

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Chihuly Garden and Glass

One of the highlights of the trip was the visit to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibition at the Seattle Center. Ever since I’ve seen Murano glass in Italy, I’ve wanted to see different kinds of glass art wherever they were available in the world.

Seattle boasts of a number of studio glass art (versus factory glass) although whenever glass blowing and Seattle is mentioned, the name Dale Chihuly is foremost in people’s mind. Had we had more time, I would have had signed up for one of the classes offered in glass blowing.

Glassblowing is a glassforming technique that involves inflating molten glass into a bubble (or parison), with the aid of a blowpipe (or blow tube). A person who blows glass is called a glassblower, glassmith, or gaffer. A lampworker manipulates glass with the use of a torch on a smaller scale, such as in producing precision laboratory glassware out of borosilicate glass. – wikipedia

As it were, V and I visited Chihuly’s exhibition on Tuesday. Tip: Buy tickets outside the venue and be the first in. This afforded us unobstructed views to the wonderful glass sculptures. The vibrant colors were so tempting to touch. The delicate swirls showcased the mastery of the craft. I fell in love with the glass works, I visited a second time.

We took advantage of the free photo op inside inside the galleries. There were machines at Glasshouse entrance where the photos could be retrieved and emailed. There was a glitch on one as I didn’t get the second photo. No matter, I managed to take multiple shots.

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Japanese Botanical Garden

A  30 – minute bus ride away from downtown Seattle is a peaceful enclave, the Seattle Japanese Garden. It’s located in the southern end of the Washington Park Arboretum, about a 10-minute walk from the Number 11 bus stop.

Japanese and Chinese Botanical gardens share similar tranquil vibes. There’s always a lake abundant with koi, a tiny bridge, shady trees, pastel-colored flowers, a waterfall, and a meandering path. Everything is designed for tranquility, perfect for those looking for meditation or just a respite from the business of life. The Seattle Japanese Garden was no exception. It wasn’t huge, 3.5 acre only, and could probably get crowded during the peak season but it was still a perfect place to recharge.

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To be continued…

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