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10/02/2010: Day 9: Saturday in Seattle
A slow start in the morning: We slept in and then I wrote up text for the day before. After some coffee we undecided to take another Seattle day, rather than moving on. So around noon we accepted a ride into town from our host. I wanted to look more closely at the Gehry building. I could see plenty without actually buying entrance into the museums. Everything in Seattle costs about $15. Except parking; that's $12/hr or worse.
Before embarking on our second day of Seattle, we consulted with our hosts. Tallulah (above) and Marmite (below).
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The monorail actually passes through the Science Fiction Museum, as stated yesterday.
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Space Needle looks a bit crowded between the monorail tracks and EMP
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In the free areas of the museum, we see undulating jellyfish hovering over the performance space where a rap/tap group was performing.
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On reflection, this is a confusing shot of the gift shop on the music side. If you want to play Where's Waldo for my image, I'm in black.
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The mens room in this Gehry is garish. But my focus is on the Dyson Airblade™ (http://www.dysonairblade.com/homepage.asp) hand dryer
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Last shot of the monorail, I swear. It's just entering the purple tunnel.
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For a while, we just walked around the fountains, rides, and museums nibbling caramel corn and a latte. Then we decided to go for the Underground Tour that explains the steep streets and architectural evolution of Seattle. THe tour starts at Pioneer Square, the opposite end of downtown. We walked over to the north end of the free bus zone, and rode to the other. Then it was just a few blocks to the square.
On Saturday afternoon, the tour was packed. Tours in Seattle are apparently all humor based. The passing Duck Tours, for inescapable example, seemed particularly rowdy. The underground tour was laden with entendre and colorful euphemisms for frontier town goings-on during the advent of modern plumbing. Our young guide had the patter down pat, but did not reveal any more nuanced or deeper understanding. But when addressing such a large group with other groups close ahead and behind, only so much information could be conveyed. But I found it interesting. It helps that I can read a lot from the archeo-architectural context, such as what materials were used how, and which engineering choices were made in which era. I freely admit that I couldn't have read nearly as much between the lines without the guide feeding the right lines to start with.
The Underground Tour started as a small scale idea in a pub, and is still run from that pub.
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Before the Underground Tour proper begins, there is a lesson in Seattle history and a review of safety protocols.
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Down under the sidewalks, the guides elaborate on the city's history. From tidal mud-flat, through the "waffle" stage, to the present.
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Under one of the sidewalk skylights, the giude delivers more well rehearsed patter. But our guide didn't have enough historical and technical depth for the kinds of questions that I'd like to have had answered.
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This is what the skylights look like from above. A bit dirty, but they've been there for about a century.
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Back before the tunnels were roofed over with the modern sidewalks, there were public facilities down on the original level. Seattle was becoming a modern city, and bought into Thomas Crappers appliances.
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After a bout of plague, they paved the tunnel floors. But now it is cheaper to build a walkway than to try to fix the settling surface.
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The L.C. Smith building, once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi. See the railing around the bottom of the roof? That's the observation deck that we were too late to go up to. Next time.
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A lot of junk was removed from the tunnels, but as an archaeologically inclined chap, I like seeing the detritus of earlier generations. The copper lining in this riveted steel bathtub survived the age of scavengers.
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A few sections of the original wood water lines are kept for discussion.
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Note the prisms in this decommissioned skylight. They helped spread the light around down below. As people grew taller, they also became a scalp hazard at the lower end of town.
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And emblem of Victorian pride, an original Crapper on display at the gift shop. The steam punk in me wants it for my half-bath.
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As one exits the gift shop, we review the names and nick-names this city has held.
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One point of interest to me came when the guide had to fill time to leave a gap between groups before we actually descended below the streets. She pointed up to a white tower behind us and told us about the Smith Tower. As in Smith-Corona typewriters. It was the tallest building this side of the country for quite a while. My personal interest is that I actually own an L. C. Smith typewriter from a decade before the building was built. It has a qwerty layout, but predates both the shift key and a visible typing platen. They merged with Corona a few decades later. But we didn't have time to go up to its external observation platform between the end of the tour and its closing for the day.

After the tour, I decided to wander downhill to the waterfront. We dined at Ivan's Fish Bar, sitting facing the sun and seagulls right over the dazzling water. We then moseyed along the waterfront as the sun retreated behind the hazy horizon. And then went underground to catch the bus back in the dark. There was a choice of dances for the evening, and chose to go to bed early.
We look around Pioneer Square as we emerge from the Underground Tour.
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The ivy is turning for the autumn
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Sitting with a view of the sound and salmon chowder in a sourdough bowl.
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On the next table, "Mine! Mine! Mine!"
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Can you take too many pictures of sailboats and gulls?
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Boats and gulls. This is the port fire station.
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Boat and gull
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Boat and gulls
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Did anyone think this was a problem? The same can be said of pigeons and rats.
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So Karen takes a tern at feeding the gullible. Yes, there is a boat in the shot.
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I like lateral light
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Note Karen's Underground Tour wristband
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This is where we ate
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Actually, this is where we ate
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To keep the lamp globes transparent, they have to discourage perching.
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Almost as good as the one at the St. Louis Zoo, but not a patch on the one in Missoula.
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Well weathered wood would grab my gaze. The lateral light brings out the grain.
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I think this must be a mandatory tourist pose: Whale Rider.
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So we climbed the many steps back up to Pike, and on up the streets toward the bus tunnel.
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Simply Seattle
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A last look back at the Public Market.
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A glance at the colorful streets of downtown, with a Duck and a Starbucks
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Notice the tracks set into the street. Trains and buses share this platform down under the city.
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A last glance at the bendy bus
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Next: Day 10: Seattle to Vancouver, WA on a Rainier Day

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