How is it I’ve made it 40-something years on this earth and never experienced all the amazing things Seattle has to offer? It boggles the mind. Before my flight home today, I woke up early to do a little Seattle Immersion Therapy. (Read that: pack as many things as humanly possible in to a teeny three-hour window.)
Initial musings: There is a coffee shop or a café approximately every ten feet in Seattle. Few people shake hands in this city … they simply don’t have an extra one to spare. One hand holds a cup of Joe; the other holds a smart phone. Forget fist bumping – it’s more like coffee cup clinking. And anything that compliments coffee is also in abundant supply – donut and pastry shops are liberally scattered to help you carbo-load while maintaining your highly caffeinated state of euphoria. You’ll also find the first Starbucks store in Seattle. (It’s actually not the original-original … but tourists don’t need to know any better.)
I never saw the sun while I was there. Not even once. Not a hint. Not a glimmer. Not so much as one iota of Vitamin D reigned down upon me. I’m sure the sun exists – just not this time of the year. It also appeared as if it might rain at any second for the past 24 hours – par for the course for this coastal city. I kept my umbrella handy at all times … which only reinforced that I was, indeed, Joe Tourist. Locals tend to wear hoodies. Makes sense.
Didn’t see any of the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy”. Was hopeful. Alas, no. Come to think of it … I didn’t see anyone famous while I was in town. Macklemore is from Seattle … where the hell was he?
The Space Needle is an impressive calling card. And while I didn’t visit the top (as it was insanely cloudy), I did see it up close and personal. My Uber driver groaned when I mentioned the Space Needle was on my itinerary. “You. Are. Such. A. Tourist!” he lamented. “I suppose you’re also going to visit the Hard Rock Café!” (Yep – that was on my to-do list as well.)
Besides Hawaii, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a contingency of homeless people. They are everywhere … panhandling, sleeping in tents or congregating in dense tourist areas. It’s also a bit difficult to tell who’s homeless and who’s a hipster – as it’s a fine, but indiscernible line. When I mentioned this to my cab driver he told me he plays a game called “Bum or Bohemian”. Politically incorrect for sure … but also somewhat accurate.
My head felt naked during my visit. Hats, stocking caps and fedoras are worn by a broad contingency of the population. The rest just have their hoodies pulled up.
Seattle is “famous” for lots of things. If I saw the word famous, I stopped and ordered accordingly. “World Famous Mac & Cheese” read a sign at Beecher’s “famous” cheese shoppe. It was pretty damn good – decadent, delicious and piping hot. Ditto … famous pastries, famous crab cakes, famous coffee. I was only there for less than 24 hours … but easily put on ten pounds. I, meanwhile, am famous for overeating.
I swear … Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) has more random, made-up airlines than any other airport I’ve visited. Condor Air?? Hainan Airlines?? Nippon Airways?? Apparently, I need to get out more. Or visit Asia.
My friend (and tour guide) Troy lives in Seattle, but doesn’t own a car. How is this possible I wondered? Well, rented smart cars – like coffee shops – can be found virtually everywhere in the city. You merely scan a magic card over the windshield and voila’ – you’re the proud renter of a giant Tic-Tac on wheels. They are perfect from getting from Point A to Point B at only fifty cents a mile. Even better? You can park them anywhere … literally any street, road or avenue. We rented three different Tic-Tac’s, er, vehicles during our misguided adventure tour.
Given that most people take a couple days to see Seattle in all of its glory and splendor, I was pretty impressed I tackled it in a mere three hours. Think of the damage I could have done if I had six?! I’ll be back … uh, when it’s summer-rific.