Seattle Day 1

Continued from Portland Day 3.

Today, I will be leaving Portland for Seattle. I woke up and packed then caught up on some blogging. Our train leaves for Seattle a little bit after noon.

I had a list of things to do/see in Portland. I did very little of that, which is pretty unusual for me. I usually have a to do list and I more or less stick to seeing/doing almost everything on it. I maybe did 20% of what I set out to do in Portland. Still felt like I maximized my time and had tons of fun though, which is all that really matters.

Ready to rock and roll.

Running in the rain. JM says that Portlanders love doing outdoor stuff, even when it’s raining constantly.

Just about 5 minutes from the Ms place.

Goodbye friends! It’s been awesome. See you Christmas when you come back to visit Austin.

We arrived about 25 minutes before departure. A line had formed to the platform. There were gates, 5, 6, and 7. Gates 1-4 did not exist. I am confused.

To scan our tickets, they used this barcode scanner attached to iphones. Thought that was neat. Except, why iPhone and not iPad Touch? Is it really cheaper to get an iPhone and the attached scanner than just to have a purpose built scanner?

Amtrak Cascade. It’s been easily over a decade since I’ve been on an intercity train in America. There is supposed to be wifi and a dining car onboard. I need to blog, and haven’t had lunch, so I am hoping for Amtrak to come through on both. Let me cross my fingers.

Dining car, check.

Our seats were assigned on the spot when our tickets were scanned. The seat assignments were just two stickers. Reminds me of the seat assignment protocol of the Hong Kong to Macau ferries.

Pretty nice train compartments. Comparable to European trains.

First, some lunch.

Dining area.

The ticket checker looks like a storybook ticket checker.

While in the country side doing wine tasting, OC had picked these mini kiwi fruits. They were the size of cherries and could be eaten whole. The skin was also smooth without the typical kiwi fuzz. Why have we not heard of these until now?

This will have to hold me over for lunch.

The train leaves more or less on time. Surprise surprise for an Amtrak train.

It’s even got gps to tell you where we are along the trip.

The ticket stub goes next to our seat numbers.

Yes, there is wifi. It’s not fast, and it tends to go in and out. It does work well enough for me to finish blogging all of Portland and be up to date.

Saw this as we were approaching Tacoma. Could not figure out what it was.

In Seattle now. Not much to look at around the railroad tracks.

We’ve arrived. It was a pretty pleasant trip. I did notice how our train swayed violently at certain times. Definitely not as smooth as European trains, and certainly did not go as fast. We spent part of the ride next to highways, and were barely going faster than cars.

Interesting signs. It feels warmer here than in Portland.

Time for taxi to hotel.

We had one of those seats that faced another set of seats with a table in between. This couple in their 30s sat across from us. They were married, but were still obviously in love. It’s so rare to see a married couple who are so in love with each other. They spent much of the three and a half hours train ride smiling and laughing with each other over seemingly nothing. I am envious, I hate being single.

We got a yellow cab, that was not a “yellow cab” to take us to our hotel.

We debated about staying at a Kimpton hotel here in Seattle. By not staying at a Kimpton hotel, I think we would have saved something like $270 dollars over the course of 3 days, so we are staying at Hotel Five instead. I hope it’s worth the savings.

Our room had a view of the Space Needle.

This will do just fine. I’ll take the money saved and eat eat eat.

This is what $120(surprisingly cheap!) a night gets you in Seattle.

It is surprisingly not raining right now here in Seattle. We figured that we’d take advantage of our luck and go visit the Space Needle and check out the view that’s not tainted by rain.

Walking distance and we are navigating by landmark.

Very quickly, we realized the monorail line that runs in front of our hotel leads us straight to the Space Needle.

That’s a lamp post that’s even taller and bigger than the Space Needle.

During the walk, I had the urge to eat oysters. I told OC that if we walked across a restaurant that serves oysters on the way to the Space Needle, we would need to make a detour to eat. Well, we didn’t run into any oyster places on the way there, but I soon remember that there’s a rotating restaurant inside the Space Needle, and they most likely serve oysters.

At the bottom of the Space Needle. It was $19 to go up the Space Needle, but for a $35 per person minimum, you could eat and also use the observation deck. Sure, sign us up for the food.

On our way up the elevator. There was essentially no waiting line to get up. It’s not like in Berlin where we waited for more than a hour just to get up to the top of the radio tower. Nor is it like the Eiffel Tower were it took us 3 hours to get up and down.

The rotating restaurant. The carpeted area is the rotating section of the restaurant. It keeps throwing my balance off since certain things in my visual field stayed still while others didn’t.

We made a good choice coming up here while it’s dry.

Funky colored Experience Music Project.

This was cool. I believe they were painted on and could only be seen by the people up in the Space Needle.


We got 18 oysters to split between the both of us. 2 glasses of champagne and 18 oysters comes out to $70 dollars. We met our bare minimum cost exactly, and by pure coincidence! Take that Space Needle! Oysters were awesome! I must eat more oysters while I am here in the PNW.

This was funny. I think someone left their money on the window sill and forgot that since we are in a rotating restaurant, whatever you leave on there will move away.

OC drank half the glass of her champagne and promptly declared that she was drunk. I told her that she couldn’t possibly be drunk. She got mad and told me not to tell her how to feel. Soon after that, she started eating the garnish seaweed on the oyster plate and ended up drinking the vinegar as a shot. She’s absolutely right. She did get drunk off of half a glass of champagne. I believe most newborns have a higher tolerance than she does.

Fortunately, as quickly as she gets drunk, she also sobers up quickly. We finished our food and headed for the observation deck a level above us.

The lights are starting to come on. Unfortunately, it has also started raining. Apparently, has not rained a single drop both in Portland and Seattle until very recently, like two weeks ago. If only we had taken this trip a month early! If only!

Hurry up and snap the photo so I can get out of the rain and cold.

The Chihuly glass exhibit right next to the Space Needle. We’ll have to come back here later to check it out.

Cool shadows. I’ll give OC credit for noticing this one.

We came back to our hotel, changed and headed back out. We called for a taxi, but after 20 minutes, it still had not arrived. We decided to walk down the street to hail one down. It’s raining pretty steady now, so walking in the rain sucks. We are heading to Capitol Hill area for dinner and then swing dancing after. We finally found a cab after walking about 3 blocks.

Arrived in Capitol Hill. The wet rain does provide for some neat photos though.

Found the Century Ballroom!

There was a tap dance lesson going on. They sounded amazing.

Right across the hall from the Century Ballroom is the Tin Table. This is our dinner spot, and I had made a reservation for us. OC’s friend and his girlfriend will be joining us for dinner.

A drink while we wait for the others to arrive.

This is my kind of print – obscene art.

Another drink during dinner. This one is made with egg whites. I’ve never had a bad drink that contains egg whites, and this one is no exception.

Compressed pork. Why it’s called compressed pork, who knows. Tastes just like regular pork, as in delicious.

After dinner, we skipped dessert because there is a famous ice cream shop right on the bottom floor of this building.

Holy Shit, that’s one scoop! It was so massive I couldn’t even eat it all.

After ice cream, we said goodbye to OC’s friends, and then headed back up the stairs to Century Ballroom for their regular Sunday evening swing dancing. There’s a live band today. Ate dinner, ate ice cream, and now swing dancing all in the same building. Talk about three birds with one stone.

I loved this dance venue. The floor has an awesome bounce. I found it interesting that people in Seattle generally ask a partner for a dance and get paired up on the floor before the next song even comes on. In Austin, generally the song starts, then everyone starts asking for dance partners.

After dancing, we headed back to the hotel where OC had to work and I had to blog. The internet at the hotel sucks. It’s slow and not very reliable. I wonder what the internet is like at a Kimpton hotel? Either way, I was finally able to upload all my photos and finish this post, so things could be worse.

To be continued at Seattle Day 2.

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