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10/01/2010: Day 8: Friday in Seattle
Friday morning, short on sleep after the late night dancing, we caught a bus to downtown.
We were warned about pricey parking in downtown Seattle, so we walked a couple of blocks from our hosts' home to catch an express bus into the city.
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The bus bent in the middle. I'd only seen this before all over Europe.
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Much to my surprise, our suburban bus ride ended underneath the city. The bus and rail lines share a tunnel under 3rd Avenue. (Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel Map (http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/tunnel/tunnel-map.html))Two things to note in this picture: A big public clock, that's right twice a day. Can you guess which sign we're following?
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We kept a tourist map handy, as we waited for our next ride. Did you guess?
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Aboard our next link. My face gets that odd look when I'm using my visual cortex remotely; trying to see what the camera would see. Have you guessed the vehicle?
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Monorail. I get that Simpsons song in my head when I think the word Monorail (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEZjzsnPhnw).
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Double self portrait off the window glass and the purple titanium wall inside of the Gehry structure through which the monorail glides.
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There's that purple wall just beyond the station
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We took the monorail through Gehry's absurd and impressive Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, looked up at the Space Needle, and then down at it and the rest of town from the much more affordable Columbia Center observation gallery.
Required shot up at Seattle landmark with elevator rising
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What if a landmark won't Budge?
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That curved wall is on the Columbia Tower, standing two (steep uphill) blocks away.
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Although the Space Needle has the reputation of lofty height in the Seattle area, you can see we are looking down at it from the much cheaper 73rd floor of the Columbia Tower.
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I sit in the lowest of three levels of food court in the (under the?) Columbia Tower, with a bowl of salmon chowder. That shiny wall is a decorative waterfall hiding a massive support beam.
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We lunched in the 3 story food court below because I was actually feeling weak from hunger. After food and a latte, we walked back downhill toward the market.
How many walruses does it take to eat a parking violator?
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Parking, only $6? Oh, per half hour!See the steep streets?
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There was a walrus at the St. Louis Zoo when I was a child. His name was Sigfried. Everyone ignored the "Danger" signs and petted him on the nose. These fellas have more impressive tusks, though.
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Electric buses can't easily pass each other, so they tend to bunch up downtown.
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Probably a gas hog, too.
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Public art can be anywhere, including manhole covers. This town is full of it.
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Pike Public Market. Big fish market. Levels and branches and outliers and so many people. [/Frink] My crowd-phobia kicked in, and I had to take a couple of breathers outside. Karen could always "Marco" me by cell. Yes, I did take a snapshot of the first Starbuck's. But the line to get in stretched down the block.
Yes, we had to see the Pike Place Public Market
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Inside Pike's Market, the necessary rooms exude a sense of frivolity and education, somehow convolved.
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Tossed fish, anyone?
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This is the seminal Starbucks; the first of a dynasty. An a capella group entertains the line of caffeine seekers that stretches down the block.
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The market is several blocks long, and several stories deep.
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The crowds actually gave me a minor panic attack, and I had to go outside for a while. But I returned to see more of the architecture and signage.
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If you walk around downtown, you will hear the mighty ducks. The raucous tour patter seems quite amusing.
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I was worn out, so we headed back to the underground bus station, and rode back to our hosts. Unfortunately, we didn't realize that the return route was different than the way in. We ended up riding the bus to the far end of the line, and then back to our stop. So a 40 minute ride took over an hour. But we were alone with the driver for much of the last half hour, and he was a charming and gregarious fellow.
Back into the tunnel under the city to catch a bus back to the burbs. The background blur is a train entering the tunnel.
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Some might note the cello, and recall the Pachelbel Rant (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM&feature=related). I related more to the tired puppy.
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Back at our hosts, I took a 20 minute nap, and then we went to a Thai restaurant back downtown. Had we known that dinner would be downtown, we could have saved ourselves about 2 hours on vehicles and either rested up in a coffee shop or seen more sights.
Well, wisdom is what you learn the hard way.
After a nice meal enhanced by the spicy Thai Iced Coffee, we went to the English Country Dance in the elegantly appointed Swedish Cultural Center.
There was a nice view from the veranda around the upstairs bar in the Swedish Center. Pity I didn't have a tripod with me. But you can make out the Space Needle.
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These coastal North Westerners have quite a dance region!
Next: Day 9: Saturday in Seattle

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