Seaside in Seattle

The waterfront stood still at 6:10 am that Sunday morning. The sun peeked over the mountains to the east, a warm orange lighting up parts of Puget Sound to the east. I’d walked up a quiet waterfront a few minutes earlier, the parking lots empty, the stalls closed. The original Starbucks, a small, simple looking storefront was empty, not opening until later that morning. The original Seattle’s Best was around the corner and I walked up there. It was empty too, stools sitting upside down on tables.

I walked up the hill and back towards Pike Place Market, expecting a frenzy as fish were loaded onto the racks, hoping to catch shots of them flying across from worker to worker. But the storefronts were shuttered and the ice was the only thing in the cases. A blue cart of salmon on ice, heads cut off, stood next to them. The passages were completely deserted, save for one older Asian lady setting up her flower stand.

The afternoon before, Pike’s Place was the first sight I’d visited in Seattle with my parents. It was a madhouse, sunshine brilliant, people everywhere. The hallways were packed, fish flew as tourists snapped pictures and cheered, workers at stalls begged you to try their produce. I tasted a slice of a heavenly peach, bit into a cocoa flavored stick of spaghetti. Oysters, mussels, clams, salmon, trout, halibut, cod, crabs, lobsters, shrimp. We stopped at a fish grill and got some grilled salmon on platters of rice with a few veggies. I tore into mine, my parents were a bit more hesitant.

The Seattle Public Library around the corner is a masterpiece. I stopped by one afternoon earlier in the week, needing to get online for a bit. The Rem Koolhas designed glass sheathed beauty was open, visually striking, creative, and inspiring. It managed to be bright even when it started pouring a few minutes after I walked in, the upper level reading room an ideal place to settle down and read or work. I took the uninterrupted five-floor escalator up there and the elevator back down, browsing through the magazines and wondering why I haven’t spent more time in libraries on my trip.

I took a restaurant tour of Belltown one afternoon. A rejuvenated neighborhood after years of decay and ignorance, it now had plenty of music venues, coffeeshops, and restaurants with a range of offerings and tastes. The four of us followed an informative and easygoing guide as she took us from fancy bakery with rows of muffins and breads to a gourmet mini-pizza place to a tapas bar. We met local restaurateur Peter Lamb in front of his Branzino while the manager walked us through their menu with some Belltown history tossed in. Sushi god Shiro Kashiba wasn’t there at his namesake restaurant but the marinated tuna was delicious. We met Marco at Marco’s, where he gently critiqued an idea for lavender marshmallows while we toasted the ones he made over a lit up cup of Bacardi 151.

I walked back down to the waterfront afterwards, full of food but wanting more of Seattle. I strolled through the Seattle Art Museum sculpture garden, filled with picnickers and joggers and sculptures. The imposing, regal Mount Rainier seemed to stand at the end of a path.

The ferry back to Bremerton wasn’t very crowded. I walked up to the rooftop and saw the skyline fade away, seagulls joining us for our cruise across the sparkling sound.

View pictures of Seattle.

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