November 14, 2012

Seattle skyline aboard the Washington State Ferry crossing over from Bainbridge Island
Seattle skyline aboard the Washington State Ferry crossing over from Bainbridge Island

Seattle… one of my absolute favorite places after hanging out there all day. So much to see and do, and an energetic, lively city. I had a great time there today.

I left town and Chris from work called me to ask something and I told him I was headed to Seattle. He gave me some pointers on getting around and it came in very handy. I got around pretty well considering I have never been there before.

I drove over to Bainbridge Island. It is rather interesting how a boat becomes a regular mode of transport instead of a highway, but we did not have many large bodies of water in Colorado so this is definitely a new experience for me. The Eastbound trip is free, but Westbound is only $7.70. With $11 for all-day parking at the lot I was only out less than $20 and it would take more gas than that, plus parking fees in the city. A pretty cheap day for transportation.

I got over there and it struck me as to how long it has been since I have been in a big city. Colorado seems like a lifetime ago and I have been gone about two months, so the last big city I was actually in was probably Denver maybe three months ago.

Ferris wheel on Seattle waterfront - it's 175 feet high!
Ferris wheel on Seattle waterfront – it’s 175 feet high!

I was told to get off the boat, go left a few blocks, then go right and up the hill to Pike Place Market. Well, I got sidetracked and walked six blocks past it looking at things along the waterfront. I turned around when I discovered my “oops” and went back south and found my crossing to get there.

After climbing numerous steps (Seattle was built on a hill) I got to Pike Place Market. We were here nearly 20 years ago, and it looks the same as I remembered it. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies, food vendors, flowers, shirts… you name it. I wandered around a bit and went across the street to another building that was more of the same. I was on a mission… a mission for steamed pork buns that Chris talked about. No, it is not a pig’s ass in a double-boiler. It is a fluffy steamed dumpling/biscuit thingy stuffed with Mongolian BBQ pork in the middle and they are oh so tasty.

I did not find them right away, so I settled for an outstanding blackberry scone from a bakery to get me by. As I wandered around eating that and looking and getting ready for my next destination some wasted tweaker was stumbling around and tried to pick a fight with me. He was out of his mind and I got the hell away from him as fast as I could. I went around the block and as I came around a cop was escorting him away from the area rather forcibly.

I went up the street a few blocks, then went left a few blocks and got on the monorail. It was built for the 1962 World’s Fair at the same time the Space Needle was built. That was kinda cool and very retro to say the least. Chris had mentioned the “music museum” and I had forgotten all about that until he mentioned it and said “you can’t miss it…” and he was right… we rounded a corner on the monorail and there it was.

EMP - seen from the monorail
EMP – seen from the monorail
EMP seen from under monorail
EMP seen from under monorail
EMP and Space Needle
EMP and Space Needle
EMP and monorail
EMP and monorail

It is called the “EMP”, or “Experience Music Project”. It was built by one of the co-founders of Microsoft and houses many things from his personal collection. I just HAD to go in there of course.

I went in and they had an exhibit about Sci-Fi and another one about horror movies. It was actually kinda cool to see props and masks form some of the classic movies and TV shows. Star Trek uniforms, Kirk’s command chair surrounded by Tribbles, prop weapons… many things.

Robbie the Robot
Robbie the Robot
Pub sign from "American Werewolf in London"
Pub sign from “American Werewolf in London”
Alien
Alien
Mask from one of the original "Mummy" movies
Mask from one of the original “Mummy” movies
Mask from "The Creature From the Black Lagoon"
Mask from “The Creature From the Black Lagoon”

After seeing these I went upstairs for the reason I came here – music stuff. There was a Nirvana exhibit. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a big Nirvana fan, more specifically Kurt Cobain. I like Dave Grohl, and I think they had a few songs that were okay, but not a big fan of Cobain. I must say, however, that seeing the history and knowing that they started out in that area really made it feel a bit different in that room. Then I thought about Soundgarden and Pearl Jam from the area as well and you can kind of see where the grunge movement came from just by the vibe the city has. I saw a video with Queensryche and remembered that why are from there, as well as Heart. Some big names in music came out of Seattle. As I left, THE biggest star of all Seattle came to mind…

I walked out of that room to hear something familiar… that unmistakeable version of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. I looked down the hall, and in what they call the “Sky Church”, on a screen the size of a drive-in movie theater, was Jimi Hendrix. I went in there and sat down to watch and was mesmerized all over again. Just phenomenal. Watching his fingerwork, technique, and his concentration just blows me away still after all these years.

They are getting ready to open up a Hendrix exhibit, but we were able to walk along the outside of the glass walls and see some of his clothes with descriptions. Very interesting to see the stuff.

They had another room full of the history of the guitar. Some old rare ones in that display, and it was quite sizable as well.There are rooms to play guitar, bass, keys, drums, do vocals, and just be musical and learn how to play. Thee was plenty more to see, but I will let you discover it for yourself. It is a very interesting place and I would recommend it to music buffs.

Instrument sculpture in EMP - over 700 instruments!
Instrument sculpture in EMP – over 700 instruments!

I left the EMP and went to the King Tut exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. It was cool, but I must say I liked the one in Denver about 10 years ago much better. They had a bunch of the artifacts from his tomb, whereas the other exhibit I saw was more about all of the Egyptian pharaohs and talked more in depth about the culture. It is still cool to see that stuff and see just how lavish it all was given how “uncivilized” we think of older cultures.

I left the Science Center and went back to the monorail and to the Pike Place Marketplace. I will NOT be denied a steamed pork bun, dammit. As I got closer to the Market, Chris just happened to call me again about something and I found the place he goes to – Mee Sum Pastry. I ordered up two potstickers and a pork bun; he gave me a baked one instead but I found it out too late but thought I would just take it home for later. I ate the potstickers and then went back and ordered a steamed one. It was excellent, and the potstickers were as well. Heading back down towards the water I thought “Oh… what the hell…” so I ate the other one too. It was so good. After Chris told me about Chinatown in Seattle I told him we need to go there sometime to check it out. He has been there so he knows the places to stop.

I got down to the waterfront again and stopped by the Ferris wheel and this time walked under it:

Ferris wheel
Ferris wheel

I will have to come back to ride that next time.

I made a few last stops before I got back on the boat to come home. One was quite memorable… the Ye Olde Curiousity Shoppe. A rather unique place that you can look up on the internet. But, just to tease you, I leave you with this picture:

Shrunken heads and torso in the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Shrunken heads and torso in the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Seattle – a great city that I will be visiting more of!

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