Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Wedding Trip, Part Two

First, what is up with Blogger? I tried to lay my previous post out neatly, photos and text aligned, enough white space to make sense. It worked for the first part but by the end, it looked as though I had just thrown everything together. Nothing worked as it should have. I'm hoping this goes better...

After the wedding we stuck around Angel Fire a few days, to spend time with our families; especially Don's parents, whom he doesn't see so often and whom I'd never met until now. Then: in reverse! Drove back to Santa Fe, back to Albuequerque... Decided then and there not to rent a car in Seattle but to walk or take public transport. Enough driving for one week already. Flew from Albuequerque to Phoenix to Seattle. On the second flight we couldn't sit together due to the rather last-minute booking, (Hurry! Only 3 seats left on this flight! None of which are together, of course.) but were across the aisle from one another instead. Which would have been fine, except that the two seats next to me were occupied by not two but THREE people: man, woman, 18-month-old child.

Quick aside: I DON'T CARE that the airlines let you "carry on" any child younger than two. A big, rambunctious toddler needs his own seat. Period. This is not a small, sleepy infant that wants just to cuddle and nurse the whole flight. No, he wants to throw his sippy cup at the homicidal stranger in the third seat (me). He hit me in the head TWICE with his damn sippy cup, in addition to the expected screeching, screaming, maniacal laughter, and random sobs that come from a kid that age. I swear on this blog that when we have kids and travel, they will have their OWN seats, no matter how much it sets us back. So that I never have to simperingly apologize to strangers that my kid has just beaned in the head. Who happen to be on their honeymoon.

Don and I agreed to have many drinks ASAP after getting off the plane.

In addition to my brand-new husband, I am now IN LOVE WITH the following:

Seattle. The good news is that it is a wonderful city, everything that we expected and then some. The scenery is lovely; all blue waters, green trees, Mount Ranier hovering like a hologram in the distance. The people seemed so friendly, the nicest we've ever come across. Of course we were dealing mostly with service people-- hotel front desk clerks, bartenders, waiters--people that are paid to be friendly. Then again, there's no reason that they still couldn't serve as some kind of barometer for the whole city really. The food. Oh, my goodness. That deserves its own sub-header. The bad news is that now, we want to live there. Well, what's one more cross-country move, right?

Our Hotel. It was so cute in a rustic, welcome-to-the-Northwest kinda way. Totally touristy, totally kitch, but adorable and so comfy. It was walking distance (at least for us) to everywhere, and we could see the Space Needle from our balcony. The staff was so friendly; kind, even. Really, how can you not love a hotel that has a fireplace in every room and puts teddy bears on the bed?
Pike Place Market. Seattle's iconic marketplace lives up to the hype. There is a local law preventing any chain or franchise from opening a store here, so every storefront is unique: restaurants, specialty stores, coffee shops, bars. But the best part is the farmers' market; the produce, the flowers, the seafood...oh man. I have never seen seafood that looked like that. A foodie could go there every day and never tire of it. These huge bouquets of the freshest flowers, and they sell for ten dollars. When at the grocery store here they cost twenty, are half the size, and flown in from South America or somewheres. We walked from our hotel to the Market every morning for breakfast: a latte here, a piroshky there, a half-pint of raspberries. The original, very first Starbucks is here as well.

Elliott Bay Book Company. When Don and I walked into this bookstore, he turned to me to say, "Sweetie, the mothership has called you home." From the outside it looks small, or at least normal-sized, like a typical Barnes&Noble or Borders. But inside, it just goes on and on. Doorways lead to more rooms, staircases to lofts (the gardening/pets/ecology section had its own little loft); a result of expanding through the building over decades. Even the bathroom grafitti is hilarious: seemingly ongoing exchanges and conversations. It is without doubt the most wonderful bookstore I have ever seen-- and as Don said, that's really saying something. I wonder if the staff would notice if I moved in and set up camp in a corner somewhere.

Over the years we have changed each other's idea of vacation. He never used to consider bookstore-exploration as an integral part of a trip whereas I can point to at least one book from every vacation. I have adapted to the bar-hopping that he considers essential and am better off for it...

...and I try to appreciate things like drawbridges and big phallic monuments. (He never agrees that they're phallic, but it is so obvious.) We mastered Seattle's public transit system and got out to the outer neighborhoods like Fremont and the University Distric. Note to fellow poor travellers: that's where all the cheap food is! As well as the Troll. We took the Underground Tour in Pioneer Square, which explains more of Seattle's history than any of the guidebooks that I read, and even found a Lush, which is sorely lacking here in Virginia. The worst way to find a store, by the way, is to pass it on a bus and try to find it again the next day on foot.

Random observations: So many gardens. Gardens everywhere! Love the lovely gardens. Fruit. Fruit seems to grow willy-nilly all over the city. I saw strawberries on traffic islands; apple and cherry trees all over; raspberry and blackberry brambles that seemed to be growing wild. It's as though the area is so fertile that it will grow produce unless actually restrained. Tip jars. They all had clever captions or jokes.


Bella said...

Well, you can join Jordan, myself and Z since we would like to move there ourselves. All in good time, but we have plans of opening up our own bookstore/coffee shop/art gallery too. :)

seattle: it's where the cool people are

ayla said...

My husband and I went to a bookstore on our honeymoon, too, but what made the vacation for me was the yarn shops. MMM, yarn.