The Big Trip

Seattle, Powers of Attraction


Seattle Zoo

Conveniently mere minutes from Sara's apartment, we visit the zoo on Saturday afternoon. Early. I carry the camera and Sara monitors the map, guiding our travel to the various climate-themed attractions. From the African plain to the American northwest, we trudge along in the sun and find ourselves growing increasingly lethargic. We're also under-excited about the attractions. Sure, the park is pristine and the cages are well-maintained. The problem is that there just ain't enough of each animal. They need, we decide, twice as many of each. Still, there are show-stoppers: a quartet of skinny-dipping Dumbos, a pair of fish-finding (and, for a few exciting seconds, fighting) brown bears, and an odd, pig slash anteater creature called a tapir. ("Look mommy," said any of the thousand kiddies in the park that day.) We even learned a few things, like the fact that elephant poop floats! Or that penguins populate Chile! Or that the komodo dragon gift stand does not sell (to the best of their knowledge) "komodo commodes." (I also amaze Sara with a cougar call that causes an otherwise relaxed cat to snap his head around and hiss.) Three hours and one ineffectual frozen-dessert stop, we leave. Dragging our hindquarters.
 


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Snoqualmie Falls
East of Seattle, about 15 minutes on Interstate 90, and 100 feet higher than Niagara Falls, or says my National Geographic cross-country tour book. (Is that 100 feet in height-height? Or elevation?) Overlooking this splashy sight is an easily accessed viewing platform. Viewing from below, however, requires a half-mile of hiking down a steep-but-not-unbearably-so incline. As the lower platform is positioned a few thousand feet back, we climb down the hill (cliff?) to the rocks below and patiently boulder-hop to the base of the falls. Glorious, as expected. Tempting, too, to strip and swim. More on that later. As for the return climb, rocks and steep damn hill, that's another heart-racing, dehydration-inducing story for another day.

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Broadway Market
Newer, smaller, indoor mall with a four-screen, "art house" movie theater. On Saturday evening, we watch the 7:30 showing of Blood Simple, the newly released director's cut of the first film from Fargo filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen. (It's great; Sara, however, had never seen same and was less-impressed. She sucks.) They also show a preview for September's special release of The Exorcist. With never-before-seen footage. Cool. Alas, I cannot report on the mall's stores, as most were closed by the time the movie ended. Ridiculous parking, though. We paid $3.00 even with a validated ticket. Good God.

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Seattle Center And The Space Needle
Sunday is overcast both in the morning and early-afternoon, so the Space Needle's out. We visit the Pacific Science Center, instead, attending an Imax film first. The 12:15 showing of Dolphins. I'm tired, hungry, and grumpy-- having foolishly skipped breakfast-- so I promptly fall asleep. Forty long-assed minutes later, we're rejecting the Science Center's so-called cafe and walking over to the food court. Me: gyro meat, Diet Pepsi, and a deep fried-to-order elephant ear; Sara: gyro, full loaded, 'cept for tomato and "sauce." Plus one sorely needed Starbucks' coffee (actually mocha latte), because she's freezing in her shorts and tee-shirt. (Slight pause while heroes go home, get sweats, visit cousin Chris, visit the lab, and breeze through the waterfront. See below.) Ascend yonder Needle after 6:00. The elevator ride is swift and unspectacular. The view from the viewing platform, however, is awesome. I shoot an entire roll, notably making a complete circle using the wide lens. Can't wait for the developing. Return to the Science Center, see a couple exhibits, play with outdoor "water toys," and discover the gift shop is closed. Too bad. Then we leave, both of us hungry, me again grumpy, and working our way to Alki Beach in West Seattle. Night has fallen and the skyline is even more spectacular after eating at a nearby pasta place. Sara has a salad and cheese-bread. I order spaghetti and meatballs. We're both full. 


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Waterfront

Breezed through on Sunday afternoon, late. People everywhere and parking that's next to impossible. Fish 'n' chips and ferry terminals and trolley cars and seagulls hovering and an aquarium and some Navy ships and about a hundred bars, restaurants, and gift shops. We're (meaning I'm) there for Pier 53, the site of Fire Station #5 and the department's two active fireboats. Alas, only the Alki, the reserve boat, is present. The newer Chief Seattle, I learn later, is protecting the Sea Fair festivities on Lake Washington. A friendly firefighter slips me a couple fireboat postcards, though, after I purchase a Seattle Fire Department shirt for Sara.
 


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Pike Place

Skipped. Not enough time.
Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros 


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