Seattle Day 02

The window faces south, and we get full morning light, which is acceptable, and definitely more desirable than afternoon light, which gets hot and blinding. Today, we walk to Seattle Center, created for the World’s Fair in 1962, and the Space Needle. If there is time, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (SFM) will be visited. Scott wants to visit the Experience Music Project (EMP), a kind of rock-and-roll museum, but I don’t need to see that.

Instead of a fast food chain breakfast, we head towards the park, planning to stop for breakfast if we see a decent place. Pubs and pizza places are passed by, as they don’t give a breakfast-vibe. The Needle is well in view, and in Fisher Plaza, we find Café Darclée: the art of crepes and coffee. I recall the crepe I had in Moorea was disappointing, and if anyone outside of France can do it right, it should be French Polynesia. We give it a go, since they also have paninis (also had in Tahiti, to much more acclaim). I select the La Premiére, a breakfast crepe with scrambled eggs, chicken, mushrooms, onion, and mozzarella cheese. A friendly, dark-haired woman with a French accent helps us, then leaves as a younger girl takes her shift, it is nearing the lunch hour after all.

Leaving the café, the Space Needle is bang across the street. I take the customary pictures and save a GPS waypoint so I can tell how far I am from the Space Needle in the future. I also added to my “Touching Famous Landmarks” photo collection. The gift shop is well stocked, I buy a golf ball and stamp for my postcard, which I filled out while waiting for breakfast. I also tried to get another of those souvenir pennies that are stamped with a picture, but it got stuck in the machine and rolled through again, so the image is cut off and the penny is elongated more than a once-run pressing. They have a “Smashed Penny Refund Form”, but I keep the penny as it looks weird and unique. If the Space Needle was built for the World’s Fair, it seems pretty useless besides filling out the cityscape: a gift shop, an observation deck, and a restaurant, and probably not a very good one either. That’s it.

Over to the EMP gift shop and separate SFM gift shop. I ask how long it takes to get through each one if you take your time, we are told about one hour for the SFM and two hours for the EMP. I get the single SFM admission and Scott gets the combined and discounted SFM and EMP admission (you don’t need to visit both in the same day). I take nearly two hours in the SFM, Scott was probably ready to leave a lot earlier, then he heads over to the EMP and we agree to meet outside in 70 minutes, as he says he doesn’t need to read everything in there. I walk around the rest of the park, stopping in front of the Pacific Science Center (it sounds like an Exploratorium-like place), but don’t have time to make it today. If I had more time this trip, I would have bought one of those multi-attraction passes that gets you in to five pre-selected attractions, four of which I would have liked to see.

After the Seattle Center, we head back to town to the post office to mail my postcard, intending to have lunch along the way (it’s 4pm by now). We end up at the Grecian Corner, right next door to Café Darclée. Both these places probably service the office complexes nearby. I have the Pork Souvlaki Pita (sauteed pork, tomato, green onions, tzatziki sauce in warm pita) with side salad (instead of seasoned fries) and watch the local news on a nice looking flat-screen, probably plasma. I rarely watch the news at home, only when traveling, if at all, I don’t know why.

We reach the post office minutes before closing, but I only needed to drop off the postcard anyway. I don’t recall seeing any curbside mailboxes anywhere. Now we have a chance to see a movie, as no one is hungry enough for dinner. At the AMC theater, it is 10 minutes before Crank, so I want to go back to the hotel to drop off my camera, as I don’t think they would let me in with it, and I won’t lie about it if they ask. Back in Cairns, Australia, I didn’t get to a movie because of the camera bag, and I’m not going to leave it with theater employees to pick up afterwards. I had anticipated this, so we immediately leave to go to the hotel and make it back with two minutes left. The movie is your typical late summer action film, but it drags in the later section. I don’t think I would recommend it as a whole.

Next to the theater is GameWorks, a chain franchise of video games, where you buy a refillable card with game credits ($1 = 10 points) to play games, so you don’t have to deal with coins/tokens. But with most of the newer games costing 15-20 points, that’s more expensive than other places you might find arcade games. Even Ms. Pac-Man costs 3 points, which equals 33 cents. Tomorrow is $10 for unlimited play all day, so I expect it to be packed, making it harder for me to want to go and play games, even though nothing like it exists near me at home.

When traveling, eating becomes a low priority. I prefer sightseeing and information absorption, and view dining as a functional exercise, “eat to live” rather than making eating part of the traveling experience. So I let Scott pick the place tonight. We end up walking a dozen or so blocks looking for a restaurant that looks affordable. For fun, we head into the Fairmont Hotel to look at the fancy insides and expensive restaurants. As expected, the prices were high and the maitre d’ didn’t look like he would let me in. Outside, three women ask me to take take their picture using their camera, explaining to me how to use it. I took two pictures before they tried to re-explain things, as I told them the flash was off and they told me it wasn’t. I had to take two more before they were satisfied that I did it right.

Eventually, we find the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery. We ask to see a menu and the food sounds good, there is a 3-course combo for $17.99 that is a nice deal, but nothing much in the selections excite me. We are told we should sit in the bar area to watch the various televisions, all tuned to sports channels. I debate between the Chicken Fajitas and the New England Crab Cakes, which are about 40% more expensive, meaning I probably will omit the handcrafted root beer in the interest of frugality. The fajitas sound like something I can get at Applebee’s, so I go for the crab cakes, as Seattle is supposed to be an excellent seafood town. It comes with a mixed green salad and Parmesan herb fries. The salad had too much dressing, but the fries were good, although the sprinkled Parmesan cheese was on the salty side. I also found out why I probably shouldn’t order crab cakes anymore, it’s not the high price, it’s that I don’t enjoy them whenever I have them. I don’t know if it is the texture or the mixture of filler ingredients that masks the crab flavor in an attempt to make them look bigger, I just don’t see the big deal. I guess I am of the simpler palate crew, satisfied with the simple sandwich or burrito.

Back in the room as I type this blog entry, I save it all to notepad, then have to carry my computer down to the paltry business center to jack in to the data port, the only free way to use my own computer so that I can quickly edit and upload any pictures. I’m averaging 70 pictures a day. For now, I’ll mostly have text blogs, then when I get back home and have more time, I’ll edit the old posts to include links to pictures. I’ll post a reminder when that’s done so you can go back and re-read them with entertaining photos.

I got an email this morning about joining a Yahoo Fantasy Football league. The season starts tomorrow, so it is an auto-draft, a system I despise, as it will pick players according to rank, and not how I want to pick them. Now I have to spend the night on the computer changing players and figuring out who to start and bench according to the team matchups this weekend. If I end up with players in tomorrow’s game, it will be an even bigger logistical problem, as I also have missed the past two days of internet access, online friends may wonder where I am (seriously).

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