Thursday, October 15, 2009

Seattle - Day 1: Kind Strangers + Pike Place Market + Tourist Traps

Five and a half years ago I decided I wanted to move to Seattle. I think I'd seen an article in a magazine. I'm sure I didn't read the article all the way through. But it all seemed ideal. Artsy, down-to-earth people in a mini-metropolis. What could be quainter and lovelier and more perfect.

We all know how that story ends. I gave up on that fleeting whim and pursued the next one instead when I moved to Los Angeles in 2005. But when something enters my head, it generally doesn't exit easily. And several weeks ago when Virgin America emailed with news of discounted fares to--where else but Seattle--I took it as a sign and booked a ticket.

With the excited recommendations of some friends, a few emailed lists of suggestions, and a handful of post-it notes scribbled with bars and restaurants and people to call on in Seattle, I readied myself for the trip to this city where I don't know anything or anyone or how to get from point a to point b. Cause that's how I roll.

Here's a glimpse at Day One...

ZapCassettes is the project of the super cool guy I met on the bus coming from the airport into Downtown. Cool guy Alex and his friend Sarah had just arrived from Atlanta, GA to go to the Scion Garage Fest in Portland. Alex not only gave me a cassette. But he also wrote down the names of lots of cool bands and artists for me to check out since I'm music ignorant (amongst them - Wanda Jackson, Ty Segall, Yussuf Jerusalem, and Gino Washington. And he also gave me a napkin from his pocket, full of written notes of more spots to check out in Seattle. Lesson learned here: we heart strangers on public transportation.

Ed, the lovely front desk dude at the Ace Hotel, hooked me up with one of the biggest 'Standard' rooms. You can take the girl out of LA. But apparently LA artists will follow the girl everywhere. Wheat-pasted on an entire wall of my room are Shepard Fairey's Andre the Giant images (also featured throughout the NYC Ace where I stayed last time I was back East).

Pike Place Market is a huge, incredible outdoor/indoor farmers market cum food court cum fish outlet.

I cannot identify the long sea creatures with the odd tentacles here. I fear that they may be octopus arms.

My lunch at Matt's in the Market. Roasted Peppers: toasted macrina bakery potato bread, piquillo peppers, sweet peppers, olive tapenade, chevre.

When in Rome...get a Starbuck's Pumpkin Latte. (I did spot the very first Starbuck's at the Market. But authenticity = a tourist trap = a long ass line. This latte came from one of the many other Starbucks that line every street in Seattle.)

At Pioneer Square, an imposing bust of Chief Seattle himself.

I took the Undergroud Tour in Pioneer Square, recommended to me by a lovely lady on my flight. Old Seattle is buried beneath new Seattle. The story involves a glue gun, a fire, and poor city planning. Our tour guide may have suffered an identity crisis between high-level nerd and aspiring stand-up comic. I dug her.

The Seattle Waterfront is beautiful. I believe I was overlooking the Puget Sound. Please don't ask me to verify this.

Seafood joints rule the roost by the Waterfront.

Dr. Martens became a national symbol of grunge here in Seattle. And the boots are still very much alive and kicking (no pun intended).

Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you feel like a nut taking a picture of yourself with your cell phone, while trying desperately to hide this act from passersby.

My day just ended with dinner at Black Bottle, a chic tapas and wine spot down the street from the Ace. While I don't recommend going alone, it was a nice (translation: they had a seat and they had wine) end to a great day in Seattle, Washington.

I'm off to bed and looking forward to what tomorrow in this new city brings...

For more pics of Seattle - Day 1, visit my Picasa album. Believe me--it will be better than your average vacation slide show. *

* This statement is not a guarantee, nor a promise. The album could, in fact, suck.


renravenous1 said...

I love your adventure so far! Can you promise to invite me to tag along the next time you feel inspired to travel to am unchartered place? I'll be your personal photographer so you won't have the weird feeling of trying to hide while taking a self portrait with your cell phone! Xoxo

Vivian said...

Moving to Seattle is also one of my dreams. I will have to have the courage like you to one day travel there, too!

Also, yes to Ty Segall. Soooo good.