Monday, July 06, 2009

Trueself Takes Seattle by Storm! Part II

Playing Tourist (or What I did and Saw on My Summer Vacation)

Seattle is a great city for tourists. I say this having been there, oh. . . well, just the one time, but still there was a lot to see and do within easy reach of our hotel. Plus I never once felt unsafe on the streets there (I’m sure there are neighborhoods where I would, but I didn’t have the fortune to frequent any of those neighborhoods) which is saying a lot for a city. (Don’t get me started on my experiences in New York, L.A., San Francisco, St. Louis, Dallas, etc., but I digress.)

One of the first things BJ and I did once we gathered ourselves together there was to buy a City Pass. It was about $55 and included five attractions: Space Needle, Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center (including IMAX film), Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, and in addition to those five it included the option of one of the Museum of Flight or Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum. We did not use all of our City Passes, but we felt we got our money’s worth out of them.

The ones we used and what I thought (these are my opinions alone; BJ may have other opinions and I make no representations of his opinions here):

Space Needle – The tickets allowed us to go twice, once during the day and once at night. That was awesome. Seeing the view during the day is great because you can really see clearly and enjoy the boats on the water and details you would miss at night. Seeing the view at night (and we were there a bit before dusk right through nightfall) is gorgeous as only sunset and nighttime views can be. It was a beautiful sunset the day we were there, and to see the city lights from that vantage point was delicious. One word of caution, if you plan to go outside on the observation deck (you don’t have to do so as you can stay inside and look through the big windows) take something long-sleeved to wear. I don’t care what the weather is like, do it! The wind up there is something fierce (remember you’re close to the ocean there), and even a hot day in Seattle isn’t what we Midwesterners think of as hot.

Pacific Science Center – I went alone to this one while BJ was in one of his conference sessions. I primarily went for the IMAX film. I’m a sucker for IMAX, and I’m a sucker for nature films so I was in heaven watching a film (sorry, can’t remember the name) about an island (sorry, can’t remember the name) where sea lions and penguins come to breed. Although I don’t remember a lot about it (hey, I knew it wasn’t going to be on the mid-term, okay?) I really did enjoy the film while watching and for probably about three or four days thereafter (so I probably could have passed a pop quiz at the end of that week). As far as the rest of the center there were a couple of large groups of rugrats roaming the area, and I didn’t see any exhibits that knocked me off my feet as I walked around waiting for movie time. Not to say there weren’t great exhibits there because there may be. I just wasn’t there looking for them. I was there for the movie.

Seattle Aquarium – Okay, this was probably the only attraction I saw that disappointed me. Maybe I’m spoiled by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but this aquarium seemed smallish, and dingy, and just blah. I don’t know. Maybe it was just because I was tired when we went there towards the end of the afternoon after a long day of sightseeing, or maybe it really isn’t the greatest aquarium in the world. I’m not sure. Somehow, I expected more. If it weren’t part of the City Pass that was already sunk money anyhow I would have felt ripped off.

Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour – I only had one complaint here: one hour is not enough! I wanted more. I could cruise for hours out there in the harbor. It was beautiful. The boat seemed in good shape and clean, and the crew was pleasant and informative. Again, if you’re going to be out on deck it’s best to have long sleeves.

I thought about going to the zoo by myself one day while BJ was at his conference, but I didn’t. I got lazy instead and other than going out for lunch and to the drug store for a few things I spent most of that day lolling in the hotel room watching trashy daytime TV, reading, and napping.

Over all, I used four of six of my City Pass coupons and BJ used three of six.

Other than the City Pass stuff, here’s what I did while BJ was busy:

I went to see the new Star Trek movie on Monday afternoon. It was much better than I expected. There were very few people in the theater (which I did expect), and most that were there were, like me, alone.

Before that, I shopped a bit at the mall where the theater is located. Bookstores are like magnets to me, and I got sucked into Barnes and Noble where I bought three books for the price of two. I’m still working on the first of the three books, The Canterbury Tales, by Chaucer. I’ve read it before, many years ago for a college lit class, but we had to read it in the original Middle English which made it quite the drag for me back then. The version I bought this time has the Middle English on the left and the modern English translation on the right. It is making it a much easier read, and this time I am quite enjoying reading it.

On Sunday morning I attended church across the street from the hotel where we stayed. It is a lovely church building, and the people I met were very friendly. They are, as a congregation, struggling as are many downtown city churches. I hope they survive.

Other than that, when on my own I was a lazy bum, sleeping late, taking my time getting ready once I did get up, and just relaxing, but then that’s what you’re supposed to do on vacation, right?

Okay, again I'm getting too long here so this calls for the end of this post and a continuation into Part III which will include the rest of the touristy stuff BJ and I did together and the evening we spent with Jeni and her boyfriend.


Jeni Angel said...

The Pacific Sience Center is great for kids, or if you feel like acting like a kid for the day! I agree with you on the Aquarium, though. I haven't been in years, but when I realized that the freaking landlocked Mall of America Aquarium was better than ours, I knew we had problems.

Val said...

Aw, sorry to hear you were disappointed in the aquarium - granted, it's been 17 yrs since I've visited, but one of the highlights of my trip was the BABY OTTERS! Squee! [Project for Time Occupation while Z is gone: find old photos, scan & post...]

Fusion said...

Most the times I've been there have been for company conferences or a plane change at SeaTec (never get tired of the views coming in to land!), but I've heard the Aquarium is a pass before. Funny considering the local, ay? Glad you enjoyed it nonetheless. I'm hoping to take my GF and son over in August for a Mariners game and some sightseeing, they have never been there.