Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Sleepy in Seattle

Yesterday started at 6:15am waiting for bus, and finished about 2am in a spartan club a few blocks from current home, the Green Tortoise hostel. Had to celebrate last night in US. So not much energy today. Hope the bus to Vancouver doesn't pass too many amazing views, because chances are I'm going to sleep through them. And hope my brother Alan doesn't want a big night to celebrate his arrival in Vancouver, though after flight from UK, not too likely.

Early start was for tour of Mount Rainier National Park. Usual mix of short walks, photo opportunities, and waterfalls that might have impressed in the spring but after an unusually hot summer, look weedy now. Tour was excellent, featuring by far the best guide I've had for one of these things. The mountain is a picture perfect volcanic peak, though the Park is full of reminders of how dangerous it could be if it blows its top a la nearby Mount St Helens 30 years ago.

This is the furthest from town I've managed in Seattle. Partly due to hospitality of most recent couchsurf hosts, there's been lots to do here. One favourite was the laser dome where we saw a midnight light show to backing music of Pink Floyd. This and several other tourist attractions stand in the shadow of Seattle's signature building, the Space Needle. My Mum told me the other day she was here in 1962 for the World Fair, the event for which the needle was built - this impresses the locals! All cities should have a building like this. Excellent for navigation; as long as you can see the Needle you can find your way back to your hostel.

As the home of Boeing, Seattle is aircraft-crazy. Two huge museums on the subject, including an ex-Air Force One and one of the remaining Concordes (which has horrible grey decor; not surprised they couldn't find enough people willing to pay several thousand to cross the Atlantic like this latterly - but externally it's still by far the coolest machine I've ever seen). Plus several days of displays by the Blue Angels air display team (pictured) as part of the Seattle Seafair festival.

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