August 6, 2013
One thing I keep forgetting to write about is how relaxed everyone seems to be around here! Waiting for the ferry in long rows in a huge parking lot — no signs of impatience. Really heavy traffic on the highway — no reckless drivers bobbing in and out of lanes, no horns, no rudeness. It seems that people here have just accepted delay as a natural part of life and have adapted accordingly. Oh, and no one speeds! It seems that everyone drives at or below the posted speed limit, which is not very high in most places we’ve been around here. Another funny thing we noticed is that state highway signs do not, like every other state I’ve seen, have the shape of the state with the number of the highway in it. Instead of having the shape of Washington state, they have the shape of Washington, as in George! It’s his profile. So funny. What’s not funny is how confusing their roads and exits can be, and how they’re not overly zealous about labeling them. We’ve missed quite a few turns, even with our GPS! Now on to today’s events! We spent the day in downtown Seattle: first at Pike’s Place Market, where we had lunch, then we took an underground tour, and we finished at the Space Needle. So the market was crazy! We were there on a Tuesday morning, and it was packed! It was a little difficult to navigate with the umbrella stroller, but not too bad. I can’t imagine the place on a Saturday! Anyway, the place was pretty neat, and we got to munch on a few samples here and there. We saw the original Starbucks, but neglected to get a picture. The line was out the door — which I suspect is the norm — and we figured we’d come back later. We never did make it back! We ate lunch at a little Italian cafe and topped that off with a little rum raisin gelato, which was really yummy! After lunch we tried desperately to make the one o’clock underground tour of Seattle, but it was several blocks away. We walked up to the ticket counter — and a very rude teller — at about 1:07. Oh well. We really wanted to take the tour, so we went ahead and purchased tickets for the next one, which left at two. This caused two major complications. First, our parking expired at two. (Remember, our car was several blocks back, by the market.) Justin had to hustle back to get the car and find parking closer to our tour and pay more. Oh and it was uphill all the way back; he barely made it to the tour on time. The second complication caused by taking the later tour was that it began right at Bennett’s normal nap time. So of course, he was a bit of a pill! I missed some of the history because I was stepping aside to try and settle him. I’m still glad we did it, though; it was really interesting! We literally went down stairs and under buildings to see where original businesses and streets had been. There was so much discarded junk all around, like a red velvet lounge chair in what was a saloon, and the first electric elevator, and an old toilet with blue flowers painted on the porcelain. I learned that at one time, 86% of the city’s revenue came from taxes on the red light district. They called the girls “seamstresses.” Also, they (the city) had huge sewage issues, caused in large part by the changes in tides. Another city planning issue is that they used sawdust from logging as filler in the foundations of buildings. As we were walking along what had been ground-level rooms inside buildings, you could see the floors sagging because oft he sawdust. Because of the sawdust thing and the varying tide levels (22-foot variance), they decided they should raise the city. During that project, they would build the streets up on stilts, basically, and a person would have to climb a ladder up to it, cross the street, and then climb a ladder down. The guide said that Seattle became known for their “one-step program,” as several bar patrons would climb the ladder up, but then forget about the whole ladder business completely by the time they got to the other side. They’d take that one step off, and their death certificates would call it an involuntary suicide! Crazy. Well, after the tour, we decided B definitely needed a nap, so we hopped in the car. He fell asleep pretty quickly, so we just drove around a while. Once he woke up, we drove to the Space Needle. It was pretty cool. Seattle is beautiful because of Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and of course the mountains in the distance. The setup, as far as getting off the elevator and walking onto the observation deck, looks really different from Sleepless in Seattle! In all, it was an eventful day, and I had fun, but I liked yesterday’s activities better. I think the ferry is still the highlight of my trip so far! I’m sure hiking would have been my favorite because of the awesome experience of being in the mountains and having that vantage point to look at all the other mountains — gorgeous!!! — but I just had such an awful headache that it really put a damper on things. 😦 I am happy to report, however, that I’ve been headache-free all day today!