I have always heard good things about Seattle, so I decided to make a trip out there since I knew some people there and had never been before. I’m glad I did. Seattle’s natural beauty rivals that of Hawaii and with a daily high of about 54 F, the weather could not have been better.
I flew into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport early in the morning after a short connection in San Francisco. I think I have mastered the art of sleeping on an airplane because I was completely refreshed when I arrived in Seattle. After I picked up the rental car, I immediately started driving around exploring the area. I spent a good few hours driving around aimlessly. I wouldn’t say that I was lost because I wasn’t on my way to any place in particular, nor was I in any kind of hurry, but I had no clue where in the city I was or where I was going. I was just driving around looking for pictures to take.
Driving around Seattle is actually quite complicated. Because of the area’s topography, streets don’t simply go north and south or east and west. Some streets go diagonally and some curve around to change direction. It is easy for someone who is unfamiliar with the area to become disoriented. On more than one occasion, I found myself going in a completely different direction than I thought I was going.
What I noticed while driving around was how beautiful the area is. I ended up driving by Gas Works Park. It looked like a nice place so I decided to pull in and walk around. It was quiet and peaceful because it was still early and not a lot of people. There is a clear, unobstructed view of downtown Seattle from the edge of the park. I think there was a couple taking a romantic walk in the park as I was catching the panorama of downtown.
After Gas Works Park, I tried finding my way back to the freeway when I drove by Lake Washington Rowing Club. The area looked nice so I decided to pull in there as well and walk around. The location looked like something out of a book. The overcast skies gave the place a lot of character and the beautiful fall colors made for an almost serene picture. It’s nice to know that places like this actually exist.
Closer to lunch time, I pulled into a Starbucks to check my e-mail and stuff. On a side note, the parking meter could not “recognize” my Bank of Hawaii debit card. Luckily, a very nice lady took it upon herself to pay for 2 hours of parking on my behalf. I never learned who she was, but if you’re ever reading this…..thanks again.
While at Starbucks, I managed to get in contact with Jeff, an old friend I knew from Dallas about 12 years ago who is now living in Seattle. Turns out he actually wasn’t far from the location I was at so I went to go pick him up. He spent the rest of the day acting as my tour guide. After I picked him up, he took me to Kerry Park where I got a phenomenal panoramic view of Seattle. The overcast clouds gave the scene a much more dramatic feel than had it been clear and sunny. I absolutely loved it.
Sensing the artistic side of me, Jeff then directed me to West Point Light, an old lighthouse at Discovery Park. He was right. That structure was too cool and almost had a haunted vibe to it. I can almost picture it being the setting of an old classic horror film.
After Discovery Park, Jeff went with me to check in to my hotel. It was a quaint location in a cool neighborhood. Funny thing is that it was literally a block away from the Starbucks I was at earlier and I didn’t even know it. We ate dinner at a pizza joint right next door to the hotel. It was good. Good vibes and good food.
After dinner, we went back to Kerry Park one more time because I wanted to get a night shot of downtown Seattle. Unfortunately, my picture doesn’t do the view justice because the view is absolutely fantastic in person.
I spent most of the day on my own because everyone I knew in Seattle was working. It’s okay though. I still enjoyed my time alone. I spent the day driving around to different parts of the city and then parking and getting out to walk around. Seattle is interesting because the vibe is completely different than nearby Vancouver. Seattle actually reminds me a lot of Toronto…..both in spirit as well as appearance. The main difference is Seattle is more hilly compared to Toronto, which is relatively flat.
For dinner, I met up with Leonard, the brother of my friend Cisco in Hawaii. Cisco told his brother that I would be in Seattle for the weekend and to contact me. Though unexpected, I was happy to meet up with him. We went to dinner down at one of the piers. The food was ok. Not bad but nothing spectacular. Leonard looks a lot like his brother. I can definitely see the family resemblance.
I was actually busy for most of the day but I met Jeff and some of his coworkers in West Seattle for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant. The restaurant actually served cream puffs for desert before dinner. Different, but I can dig it. The pho I ordered was great. Thumbs up on the food.
After two nights in a hotel, Jeff offered me to stay at his place to cut down on travel expenses. He actually has a pretty nice apartment. No joke. He lives in apartment 420.
While everyone was at work again, I made my way to the Space Needle. It’s your typical observation deck: pricey ticket up, fantastic view, and a high-end revolving restaurant to dine in. I actually didn’t dine at the restaurant. I stuck to the café on the observation level. Though not officially a Starbucks, the café sold Starbucks products.
After the Space Needle, I drove through downtown and walked around some nearby neighborhoods while taking pictures. It is near the city center that Seattle and Toronto really resemble each other. The area of Pike St and Broadway looks quite similar to the Church and Wellesley area of Toronto. I guess I could say that Seattle had a familiar, homely feeling to it.
At night, I met Jeff after he got off work and we went to a local bar with a ping pong table. I hadn’t played in a long time but I was down for a game of ping pong. I was rusty but didn’t do too badly. I had fun playing but I couldn’t say out late. My flight back to Hawaii left the following morning at 5am and needed to wake up early.
The airport at 4am was totally empty. No lines. I had a great time in Seattle and seeing and hanging out with Jeff again. I’m glad I went and I would do it again. Until next time.