Trip Start May 05, 2010
18Trip End May 21, 2010
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Where I stayed
After a shocking night sleep we tried to sleep in a little but really couldn't anyway due to the sunlight coming through the windows. It was another nice morning in Canada and sadly our last one for this trip. Looking down on the city at least this morning there was some activity on the streets - nothing like Vancouver but some cars and people wandering around. On edge of the window there was warning sign that read "do not open window during winter. Pipes beneath will freeze and rupture" - sounds like it can get pretty cold here. Fortunately today its sunny for now, although they are expecting thunderstorms later today.
Checking out and hitting the road for the airport our GPS lady (still British) got a bit confused with the tall buildings so we headed in the general direction of the airport until she got her bearings
Knowing that I love airports the check in and boarding experience was really pretty cool here. They have the airport divided in to sections being Domestic, International and USA. As we were heading for Seattle you check in, and they put tags on your bags but you still keep your bags as you pass through US Customs before you board the flight. So through we went and got cleared by US Customs. The guy we had was pretty cool after he kept asking me if I had more than $10,000 US in cash on me, and I kept saying no (I wish I had that much cash to declare!). Anyhow he had worked on the US - Mexico border for years so was glad to be working indoors out of the weather. Apparently the US Customs staff that go to Canada have to stay for 2 years but then they get any choice they want as to where in the US they work when they return. I must admit there could be worse placed to work than Canada - its lovely here!
Anyhow we cleared US Customs then dropped our bags off before going through security which was another weird process. They ask one member of your party to stand on a mat, then a light either lights up as green or red and they direct you accordingly. I have no idea what the mat is supposed to do, but we got a green light so just had to do the customary removal of shoes, belt and empty of pockets before we were waiting for our flight to Seattle on a cute little Dash 8 (I think Cam is still a bit angry at me for booking on a turbo prop). The airport was pretty busy but soon slowed down as we were due to depart as a thunderstorm swept across the field. Our taxi seemed to loop around the entire airport as the runway was changed mid taxi, but soon we were up and in the air for our flight to Seattle.
Being the back of the Dash 8, taking off during a mild thunderstorm is a little similar to a roller coaster ride - it was pretty rough and bumpy (Cam kept saying that I owed him after this flight - not sure why). A few guys a couple of rows up from us were really not enjoying the bumpy ride at all as they gripped the seats in front of them and yelped a few times. Soon were were above the rough stuff and there were a few patches where you could see the Rockies below. It was great to drive across these amazing mountains but was also nice and much faster to fly over them on the return leg
Coming into Seattle provided great views of the city and the surrounding areas. Unlike LA's desolate area view Seattle is filled with trees, football fields, lakes and just a generally welcoming view from above. Having cleared Customs in Canada we arrived at the domestic terminal and could just collect our bags and leave the airport (which saves heaps of time). We had planned to take the Grey Line airport shuttle bus but the guy at the counter was really unhelpful so we managed to find our way to the parking garage to get a taxi into the city. Our taxi driver was just as unhelpful and didn't speak a word to us during the entire process. His mate on the sidewalk asked where we wanted to go and told the driver - who even after a few attempts by us at conversation didn't speak a word.
Arriving at our hotel (Edgewater Hotel) I had redeemed myself after last nights ordinary booking. This hotel is right down on the waterfront on Pier 67 (Seattle's only hotel on the water) and has great views across the water and up the hill to the city. Our room for the next two nights is pretty amazing complete with gas fired fireplace, some lounge chairs and a cute bear as a footrest (aka - poof). The views out the window include the Space needle and the walk up the hill to downtown. After unpacking (also know us dumping our cases in the room) we headed out to explore Seattle armed with the walking guide that the hotel lobby gave us.
If you are considering a visit to Seattle (which I'd recommend) be prepared to some seriously uphill walking
Unlike LA, Seattle is very friendly and feels very safe to walk around in. We continued exploring by walking up Pike Street which has heaps of shops along it all the way up the hill to the Pike/Pine district up at Capitol hill. This area apparently used to be all car auto shops etc but has been converted into a trendy area with some bars, night clubs and lounges etc. It's also the gay area of the city. After walking up this hill that never seems to end we cut across to Pine Street and walked back down the hill to the downtown area for some lunch, which again as almost dinner as well. We found a diner and Cam got Chili Dogs and I got a chicken sandwich (which is a burger). We then walked back down the hill and along the waterfront to the hotel for a drink on the deck on the other side of the pier looking across the water. Looking down into the water there were heaps of little fish jumping out across the top of the water so was a nice view.
Unfortunately the rest of the night we were pretty much confined to our room after we both got pretty sick with a bout of food poisoning. We don't know if it was the diner or what we had for breakfast but something was not agreeing with both of us so that was the first day in Seattle done and dusted for the night.