Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. For example, I was sent to Seattle, as I've said earlier, to work on an Early Support Site for my company. Travel between the east and west coasts being what it is, it wasn't practical for me to fly home and fly back over the weekend. I could have done it, but it would have (a) been more expensive, and (b) been far too much wear and tear on the old body. So, I elected to stay here, meaning that Mary and I would be apart (which I don't like much) and that I would be someplace different and attractive with nothing to do but enjoy it without her.
I got out of my hotel at about ten this morning, went to a coffee shop to have breakfast, then walked down to the Pike Street Farmer's Market. I walked all over in there, finding a number of things that, of course, I would find interesting, but didn't buy anything. Well, aside from a bigger fanny pack which would carry the one-use cameras that I purchased and all kinds of other crap that somehow ends up in my pockets. (The older I get, the more crap I carry around in my pockets. Why is that?) I was sorely tempted to buy a few magic posters at the magic store in the market (they had my particular favorite, "Carter Beats The Devil"), and found a very interesting store carrying things from Egypt. Mostly belly-dancing outfits, instructional videos, and music, which wouldn't do me a whole lot of good (although I love Middle Eastern music), but there was an ud for only $149, and several drums that were kind of inexpensive and which I discovered were pretty easy to play (I was doing a good job of jamming along with the music that was playing in the shop until I realized that I was drawing a crowd).
From there, I found myself out on Alaskan Way, the street that runs along the waterfront, had lunch, and found the Argosy Cruise people, who were selling boat rides around the harbor. Naturally, I had to have one. It was a glorious day, not a cloud in the sky, about 70 degrees (that's 21 to you centigrade fans), and the skyline was particularly photogenic. Fortunately, I had a jacket, because it was cold when we got out onto the water. I managed to shoot an entire camera's worth of film on the harbor (I did better than some of the Japanese tourists in that regard), and truly enjoyed myself, despite the bozos that had to sit on the deck and yak on their cellphones. You know, it's not the fact that they're sharing their lives with everyone in earshot as much as the fact that they have so little appreciation for what they themselves chose to do with their time. I would think that if you're going to lay out $17.50 to take a tour of anything that you'd want to do something besides talk on the phone. That also goes for the people who sit there with headphones on, not listening to what the tour guide is saying. I love my RioVolt as much as the next guy, but...
Anyway, I digress. After disembarking from the boat, I stopped for a snack, found a relatively private place from which to make a call home and hear how Mary's day was (my cellphone works fine everywhere except at home. Go figure that one out), and then I decided, "hey! I know where the Space Needle is, now that I've had a tour of the harbor and was paying attention to the tour guide instead of yakking on the phone! I think I'll walk up in that direction and go there!"
Easier said than done.
Some of you are probably aware of my long-standing membership in the Magellan Society. Yes, I get lost very easily. In this case, though, it wasn't so much that I got lost as I didn't quite know how to get from the waterfront to a street where I could approach the damn thing, perhaps hailing a taxi or finding a bus line that would bring me to it. It seemed that, as I walked along the waterfront park along the bay (nearly being run over by several of Seattle's Finest along the way, and I'm not talking about coffee there), there was something standing between me and the Space Needle the whole way: a huge rail yard, construction, whatever. To make a long story short, before I managed to find myself on a street where I could ostensibly get myself to the Space Needle, I managed to pass it by better than a mile (I could see it the whole time) as well as walk past the grain elevator and the fishing pier for the residents of this fair city. I have no idea just how far I walked, but it took about an hour and a half and I walked pretty much the whole time. Finally, I found a bus line that was able to get me close to the Space Needle, and after another short walk, I was at the Seattle Center.
It's too bad that by this time I was so tired and sore, because they were having a Latin American festival in the park and I would have really enjoyed hanging out there, but, oh well. I got to the Space Needle, rode to the top, walked all around the outside, took many pictures, wondered at the people blabbing away on their cellphones, and rode back down. Getting off of the elevator was when I got the first sense that my knee was about ready to go out on me, so, feet throbbing, I limped to the monorail and took it to the central shopping area, which is not that far from where I'm staying.
By the time I climbed off of the monorail, I could barely walk. I stopped for something light for dinner, found a drug store and bought Aleve, epsom salts (for my feet) and a couple of other things, then went out to find a taxi.
Now, if you ever come to Seattle, it's good to know that while there are taxis out the ying-yang, there are only certain places where they'll stop. I had to figure out where one of them was. I'd stop, wave at a taxi, only to have him blast by me and point in some general direction. By the time I was able to figure out where a taxi would stop for me, I was only a couple of blocks from my hotel, but there was this big-ass hill that I wasn't about to climb. I still have a lot of walking to do while I'm here (until next Friday, unless they decide to send me home early, which I'm kind of hoping they will).
So, I get to my room, figuring I'll take a couple of Aleve and soak my feet in the tub, and discover, much to my chagrin, that the tub won't hold water. So, my feet are still sore, my knee is giving me trouble, and I wouldn't trade today for all of the tea in China.
I took lots of pictures, which I may get developed while I'm here. If so, I'll see if they can put them on a photo disk for me and post them.