Weekend in Seattle

Okay, okay, this entry is terribly late. What can I say? I’ve been really busy. Anyway, since I was going to Seattle for the SLA conference in June, Steve and I decided to make it a long weekend before the conference to visit our friends A & V. It had been about a year since we saw them last, so it was great to have a little time for a visit.

We started off the trip with a leisurely visit to the local zoo. Our first animal encounter may not have been quite what V was expecting, but I was enthusiastic.


Surprisingly, I was the only one who seemed to want to get my hand covered with alpaca slobber. At first, the two alpacas were over on the far side of the enclosure. I got some food out of the machine and was ready to walk over to them, but they hauled a$$ over to me as soon as they heard me put the quarters into the vending machine.


Although not into the alpacas, Steve was able to commune with an emu a couple of enclosures over.


The zoo has a pretty impressive population of macaws. They were really pretty and this one knew how to wave good-bye to us.


Of course, at a place called Cougar Mountain, one would expect to see some kitties. First, there were two beautiful tigers. The zoo had specifically requested these two boys for their coloration. They are currently in a kind of toddler enclosure (they’re only a year or so old). Their permanent enclosure is going to be a couple of acres and the zoo is scrambling to finish it so it will be ready once these guys outgrow their current apartment.



The cougars were next to the tigers, but, while the tigers are young kids, the cougars are senior citizens. They are still beautiful, but you can tell the aches and pains of old age are starting to take a toll.



The next day we headed downtown. First, we decided to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island. Mind you, we didn’t really go to the island. We just took the ferry over and back which a lot of tourists do. It doesn’t cost much and it’s a great way to see Seattle and Puget Sound. It was a gorgeous day to get out on the water.



After our ferry ride, we stopped in a few shops and walked through the Public Market. We had already gone there on our last visit, so we didn’t spend too much time. We were kind of just killing time waiting to go on the ghost tour we had booked the night before. The ghost tour was a little bit of a disappointment as it was more of a “people who have died here” kind of tour. But it was still interesting, and the group is putting together another tour of the Public Market area that will focus more on the local history and scandals. That could be neat for our next visit.

The cost of the ghost tour included admission to an improv theatre group that was in the middle of a marathon. They’d been going at it for 24 hours or so when we went in and I think they were starting to get tired. It was, ummm, interesting. There were a few funny moments, but one half hour session was enough for 3 out of 4 of us. Besides, it had been a long day out on the water and in the sun, so we headed back to A & V’s place to watch a movie.

On the way across Lake Washington, we actually caught sight of one Washington icon that Steve and I were convinced was nothing more than a tall tale used to lure tourists to the area. For years now, A & V have been saying “Oh, if only Rainier was out today” “We wish you could see Rainier” “Rainier’s so beautiful”. But we’d never seen it. It was still playing hard to get, but finally Mt. Rainier decided to give us a glimpse as if just to prove its existence.


On Sunday, after a long weekend of eating way too much food, and drinking way too much drink (including some fabulous rum drinks at Bahama Breeze), Steve flew home and I headed off to the SLA conference. It is always wonderful to see A & V, and Seattle is a great city. Which brings me to one last point I want to make. Seattle folks are whiners.

I loved the time I spent in Seattle. The downtown area was walkable, even with the hills, and there were lots of cool shops and places to eat. I’m sure there are places in the city where this would not be the case, but unlike in San Francisco, I never once passed a doorway and inhaled the scent of urine.

Also unlike in San Francisco, the city never had that low tide smell. Whenever I’m in San Francisco, at certain times of day, it smells like low tide. And, as you walk past sewer manhole covers, you’ll often be treated to a burst of warm, stinky air. Despite the fact that Seattle is every bit as much a port city as San Francisco is, it never smelled that way.

Finally, the weather. Everyone complains about the overcast days. Granted, I was there in June and it is less overcast in the summer than in the winter. But here’s the thing. Whenever I was talking to a local and I mentioned that we’d had good luck with the weather the last few days (overcast in the morning, but burning off to be sunny in the afternoon), I got an unenthusiastic semi-agreement. Like they were agreeing just to be polite, but they actually thought the weather sucked.

I worked in my firm’s Seattle office on my last day there. As I was walking in the halls outside the office, some random young woman, looked at me and laughed. “Only in Seattle,” she said, “would anyone be wearing a turtleneck in June.” This, btw, was one of my nice fine-knit Ann Taylor turtlenecks, not some bulky fleece-lined number. I refrained from responding that this is what I would commonly wear to our San Francisco office in June. Frankly, I was a bit taken aback by her comment.

So, you’ve got a city that has a funky downtown, weather similar to that in San Francisco, and that does not appear to smell like urine, rotting fish, and sewage at various intervals. What’s the problem, exactly?