Saturday, January 02, 2010

Seattle Part Deux, Day 1

So I find myself back in Seattle again, 10 1/2 years later. This time at least, I've decided that I can afford to take the bus now and then instead of walking all over bum-f***, and eat more than a loaf of sourdough and plain water (life as a sad and poor backpacking undergrad...unfortunately, not much has changed since then. Still staying in a hostel. So much for going back to school! Wails....). Happily though, I found a bakery in Pike's Place that sells day-old bread for $1, and the produce looks affordable, and tasty.

I still like to walk though. I like to see the slow passage of the city as it passes under my feet, and hear the sounds of the hubbub as they pass. Took in some modern art at the Olympic Sculpture Park in the morning, and plunged into the heady mix that is Pike's Place Market. Even got to see some fish slinging. Took the streetcar (it's free) to the International District to check out the Japanese grocery/department store, which is very much like a Daimaru, down to the adjoining Kinokuniya. Tried out a dimsum recommendation from Urbanspoon, and surprisingly, it wasn't too bad! The servings were generous though, and couldn't make it through more than 3 plates (the xiu mai were the size of lemons). Wish I had a eating buddy.

Wandered through Pioneer Square, which is pretty, and ducked into the Klondike museum for some warmth and a bit of gold prospecting history. Given the trials and travails the prospectors went through for that shiny yellow metal, I wonder again what the allure of this inedible, artificially valued substance is. The tiny waterfall garden is worth a visit if in the neighbourhood, and should be great for a quiet read in summer. May try to go for the underground tour later this week, depending on schedule.

The feet were starting to ache a little, so took a little detour to the public library, which really reminds me of the Singapore National Lib, except more avant garde in design. I really enjoyed the spiral section which wound through the middle of the building, completely lined with books. Stayed longer than planned when I came across the graphic novel section. Even had a nice reading corner by the glass walls of the 8th floor overlooking downtown. Superb.

It gets dark at 5pm around here. And light at 8am. Winters are kinda depressing. But, the Christmas lights were still out downtown, which gave it a rather festive air. Walked through the shopping district (I found out today Nordstrom was a Klondike prospector and started the store with the $13000 he earned), and mosied lazily back to the hostel.

No late-night clubbing for me, I'm afraid. Have been notified that I teach next Monday (I return Sunday pm), and I start with plants! Plus I haven't taught this lab yet as I was away last year when it was scheduled. Will be reviewing notes tonight, and maybe designing the lesson powerpoint :(. But, at least I'm warm and will have a hot shower tonight. Simple pleasures.