Goth Panda

Seattle June 2013: Day One

I can’t believe it has been three months since our Seattle trip, and I haven’t posted a thing about it.

The day before we left, it poured rain in Philadelphia and I had two job interviews. I joked in them both that I was going to Seattle the next day to escape the rain, and it turned out to be true. We had beautiful weather in Seattle, and only a few, brief rainy periods.

I was in the middle seat on the flight, and the man next to me was the father of a family, the rest of them across the aisle. He spent the whole flight reading either the Bible or a Bible-related study guide, but we did have one conversation. He asked where we were going, and told me that he and his family were on their first family vacation, to Alaska. His kids were teenagers, and I felt sorry for them. I didn’t travel as a kid, either, except to visit family.

While I waited for Mike at the baggage claim, I played the “Who Is From Seattle?” game in my head, looking at the other passengers. I pointed out one guy that I had guessed correctly to Mike. His girlfriend had come to meet him and welcomed him home. Mike said he didn’t count because he was bearded and wearing a flannel shirt and hiking boots, and “that was like shooting fish in a barrel.”

The flight descends over the Cascades and the mountains always seemed close in Seattle. The air was fresh and green, and even though the ocean was just as close, it was the mountains that seemed to make the most impact.


We took a taxi into the city from the airport and my first impression of it was of its modern aesthetic of glass and concrete, which seemed influenced by Scandinavian and Asian design. It seemed like a city where design mattered. Our taxi driver was Indian and silent until we had almost arrived at the hotel. Then he pointed out the window. “Space Needle,” he said. “Yes!” I agreed, laughing. It was there, hard to miss and instantly recognizable. He also pointed out the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as we passed it. I asked him if Bill was in residence that day – is there a flag they fly like at palaces to let you know? – but he didn’t know.

We stayed at the Maxwell Hotel near Seattle Center and I highly recommend it. We dropped off our luggage and went out to get lunch. On the way, we passed the Space Needle but I was shy of taking photos of it. I felt almost instantly comfortable in Seattle. It is definitely a city I think I could live in, and I didn’t want to out myself as a tourist, I guess.

Space Needle, Monorail, and the EMP

And – spoilers – it was at lunch that I think I got food poisoned, but I might just have picked up the nasty bug in some other way. I felt indigestion symptoms all afternoon, but it wasn’t until that night that it got really bad. In the meantime, we went back to the hotel and took a nap, waiting for Mike’s parents to arrive. I hadn’t had much sleep the night before, worrying about the job interviews and the upcoming trip, and I was exhausted.

When his parents got there, we went to the Lost Lake Cafe for dinner and then to Elliott Bay Bookstore, which had both a cafe and a large number of visiting dogs, which means their health codes must be much different from the ours on the East Coast, where this would not be allowed. I have only been to San Francisco before this, but I think I remember that there too.

Elliott Bay Book Company

Staff recommendations at Elliott Bay Book Company.
Sign of an independent bookstore: Staff Recommendations shelves.

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