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NORTH AMERICA - THE “BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITIES” TOUR

Seattle Postcard

SEATTLE

“SILENCE LET ME READ YOUR MIND”

The train pulled into the Seattle station at about 9 pm. It was dark but I thought I would still try to find a cheap hostel in town on foot. I walked a few hundred metres up the road until I thought better of it, backtracked to the train station and reluctantly hired a cab. The driver dropped me off at a hostel that was a few blocks away from Space Needle. The Space Needle was an observation tower and an iconic Seattle landmark left over from the 1962 World Fair.

Another iconic Seattle landmark, the monorail, ran from close to the Space Needle into the city. I followed the course of the monorail by foot into town the next morning. The sky was overcast but that apparently was another Seattle landmark.

I walked around the waterfront and into Pike Place Market. Not much to see here so I kept on walking up a series of steps called the Pike Place Hill-climb. At the top of the climb I stood at a vantage point that looked down over the scenic harbour, the highlight of Seattle. Unfortunately I could not afford a harbour cruise.

Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market neon landmark

But perhaps in the future I may return for a cruise from Seattle to Alaska when such a luxury may fit into my expanded budget.

What am I talking about?

The words ‘perhaps’ and ‘may’ are not the language of a future business leader. Of course I will go on such a cruise. I will be 50 and my wife will be 28. I will wear a Rolex, my wife will wear diamonds and we both drink martinis at sunset.

Relaxed after dreaming about my future harbour cruise I went for a walk down to Pioneer Square. This was a historic part of town which had been restored after the decline in the inner city as people moved in their cars to the suburbs. The restoration revolved around turning the former warehouses into art galleries.

Underground Seattle
Tour group photo

To add further historical significance to the area the Pioneer Square district had been destroyed by fire in 1889 and rebuilt twelve feet above ground level. A tour party was been lead around the original streets which where now underground. I attached myself to the back of the tourist group. I had no idea if it was free or not. I therefore made the best use of my poor communication skills and made no inclination towards asking if there was a charge for the service.

That night I went to my second baseball game, a night affair between the Seattle Mariners and the second Los Angeles team in the competition, the Californian Angels. The game was played at the Kingdome, which I assume was one of the first indoor stadiums ever built. I say this because the stadium was a relic. I mean it was a relic in United States terms but would have been a bastion of engineering genius if it was located anywhere in New Zealand. The stadium was subsequently blown up and replaced a few years later. I saw it getting blown up on the New Zealand television news and the headline stated ‘Feat of engineering genius blown up. But don’t fret New Zealand has secured the original plans and the exact same stadium will be rebuilt in our country in 2050’.

Seattle Astrodome
Seattle Astrodome

I do not remember who won the game. I do remember I did not have the same difficulty getting back to my lodgings as I did after the game I saw in Los Angeles. The Kingdome was within easy walking distance from town so I walked into Pioneer Square and sat discreetly in a corner of a pub that had a live band.

They might think I was a talent scout scavenging around for the next big band from Seattle. I was qualified as I had been reading the autobiographies of Frank Sinatra and David Bowie on the train. But then again, I probably didn’t have the right image as I was only drinking coke rather than snorting it. Anyway, in my humble opinion, I didn’t think the band was going to be the next Pearl Jam or Nirvana so I continued my walk back to the hostel and went to sleep in the sleepy, silent city.