Friday, September 01, 2006

Seattle Skyline 

We checked out of the Shamrock Suites and wobbled down to the harbour, rucksacks bastard heavy with teabags, our passports at the ready. We were leaving Canada and catching the next Victoria Clipper to the States.

I’ve begun to wonder if North Americans are genetically programmed to be so outgoing - perhaps it’s a throwback to pioneering days - because they seem to form friendships with enviable ease, and nowhere more so than on ferries.
You’ve hardly settled into your seat and adjusted your under garments for optimum comfort before the chatter of life stories being exchanged rises above the drone of the engines: the straits of the Pacific Northwest are rich feeding grounds for the shy and retiring English eavesdropper.

In between listening to the traveller’s tales of two wholesome teenagers and the elderly couple they’d been asked to keep an eye on, I took snaps of an eerily calm sea, guzzled free coffee, and became terrifically excited upon seeing the Seattle skyline swing into view. It was one of those Wow! moments I hope will stay with me for as long as I have a memory.

On the map it didn’t look too far to the hotel so we walked up from the harbour.
Naturally, we chose an unnecessarily wrong route, it was hot, and Seattle is hillier than we’d anticipated given the grid layout of its streets, so we were a little icky by the time we eventually checked into the Hotel Andra.
Then we were kept waiting forty five minutes longer than we should have been while they cleaned our room - I browsed the guest book and tried not to get cross - but the staff apologised graciously and frequently, giving us free drinks and, better still, a room upgrade for our inconvenience, so it worked out alright in the end. The view was very satisfying.

We showered and swanned about the room, looking in cupboards, playing with the gadgets and generally going “Oooh!” a lot.
Later we walked up to the Space Center, where preparations were in place for the weekend’s Bumbershoot Festival - think Glastonbury in the City, cleaner, less drug pushers - and I took a thousand or so pictures of the International Fountain and the Space Needle. It was retro-futuristic-tastic.

We ate at Racha on Mercer Street, wandered around some more - it was warm and the streets were buzzing - then drank margaritas in the hotel bar, looking out onto the corner of Fourth and Virginia until our heads went fuzzy.

Dinner Shot: Mmmm - I Heart Thai.

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