Friday, August 22, 2014

Tourism, Day Four: To Mark it, to Market

My apologies for the long delay between the first part and this next installment in the accounts of my late spring break. If you were anxiously awaiting the further tales of my peregrinations, I will say this to you: WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU? GET A LIFE!

But seriously, I've been a bit out of commission, since I got back from the trip. At first, it was simply the struggle for my legs to recover from the abuse they suffered, and then it was (and is) the cough. There is no confirmation that the nasty bark I developed was pertussis, but it had all the hallmarks, including, for a time, the whooping gasp for breath amid long spates of coughing. Since I was isolated from others who might not have had their inoculations updated, and, since I was showing (SLOW) signs of recovery, we decided there was no need to run the blood test and put me back on another federal list, so my health expert and I agreed to call it the same old bronchitis I used to always get, and leave it at that.

Anything odd that I may have written or said during my peak days of suffering – anything odder than usual, that is – I will ask you to pretend you never saw, or pretend that my pages were all hacked.

Meanwhile, back to the travelogue.

Thursday, 29 May 2014.

Yes! Playtime in Seattle! And I have a dollar or two set aside to buy postcards! It was approved – nay, mandated – by my friend, as she wanted to make sure we were going to get to our ship in time for the cruise, on Friday. She likes to be over-prepared, as I do, and, since the tangle over directions escaping Mount Rushmore, she wasn't going to simply trust either me or the satellite guidance system. She wanted a dry run, to mark our route.

So, as soon as everybody was awake, we packed ourselves into the truck and headed into the Big City.

All my clearest memories of Seattle have involved this.

I had tried, early on, to bring up Google Maps and my old paper thing, but when she switched on her preferred guidance device, I knew there was no point in my pulling up any more info for a while.

We got lost.

We were trying to find the access point for the pier, so that we'd know where to drop off our bags, and, perhaps, to park. The satellite guidance systems directed us to some point with approximately correct address, but at the top of a hill, with several rows of houses and apartment buildings – plus a tree-lined bluff – between us and beyond, were we got the sense Puget Sound must lie.

After going around in circles for about twenty minutes (that's in addition to the roughly 65 minutes required to travel the fifteen miles from our motel in Renton), we came upon a sign directing us to our pier. It was precisely opposite where the electronic system indicated it would be. We took our left turn at the stoplight, drove the overpass, and looped around to the empty slip which would, tomorrow, be filled with our magical transport. Today, though, it had bunches of construction equipment and men in hard hats shuffling around on the dock.

Satisfied that we knew, at the bare minimum, where we were going to embark, we headed back into the heart of the city. Well, actually, we headed for Pike Place Market, because the boys wanted a drink (it wasn't even noon, yet, but I suspect the nephew was looking to push his aunt's buttons), and to see if they could score some of that federally-frowned-upon weed that they'd heard was going to be legal to purchase and use in Seattle*.  We old ladies, on the other hand, wanted breakfast and a chance to see what was here.

She was up for souvenir shopping.

 We parked in front of this place. At the time of our arrival, the store wasn't open, and by the time we returned to our vehicle, I was too tired (and more than a little grouchy) to do any more window shopping. So, I never did confirm their advertisement that they did not, in fact, have babies – ugly or otherwise – in the store.

I must say, there are no stores with names like this in my little town…
 But I confess, the merchandise I saw from the window looked entertaining.
And I didn't see any babies – ugly or other – inside that store.
While my friend and the boys offloaded her wheelchair, I learned that parking in the city can be paid for by credit card, and that the meters wouldn't take my poor little prepaid card. After much swearing on my part, my friend interceded and used her card to pay for the parking, after which she found the plaque which said that those with valid state-approved handicap license tags could park for free.

Naturally, that set my friend off on another rant about wasted money. I apologized, but she continued for a few more minutes, berating herself for having not read the whole set of instructions first…sigh.  When she was finished, the boys headed off to find their jollies, and she and I took the nearby elevator up to the main level of the market.

Which was, as usual, crowded.

I knew it would be.

I hate crowds. But I promised I'd show my friend some of what I actually liked about Seattle, and what I liked was the art, the food, and the sense of fun. While there are plenty of places to find these things, Pike Place Market is really the most condensed pocket of all these things, along with so much more.  But the crowds meant that there were few times when I was comfortable taking out my phone…so I bought postcards of the place. As expected. Lots of postcards.

And then I bought us some lunch from Mee Sum Pastry –  the little vendor across the street from the main market, with the hombow. While I was in heaven with my curry-filled hombow (every bit as tasty as I remembered it), my friend grumbled about finding vegetables in her chicken filler. She picked at it and threw away most of what she had.

At least she didn't complain about this. How could one?

Well, it doesn't take long for my legs or my tolerance to grouchiness to reach their limits, so, after stopping to read the brass inset in the pavement nearby , and then spending a little more time looking at merchandise, I suggested that it might be nice to just rest and take in the view from the observation deck of the Market, while she tried once more to (a) contact her niece about tomorrow and (b) the boys to see if they were ready to blow this pop stand.

 I sat and looked. She wheeled about and vanished for about 20 minutes.

I sat and looked some more.

Eventually, we made our way back to the truck. The boys soon joined us there, and we packed up to head back to Renton, to our motel room. I put my feet up and massaged my knees while trying to avoid too much conversation, the boys packed themselves into the truck to look for more "liquid refreshment", and my friend spent a couple of hours doing her homework.

After some coaxing, I persuaded my friend to ask at the front desk if there were some affordable parking nearby… to which question she was informed that, since we were already staying there, and, since she was a disabled veteran, the fee for a week of secure parking would be no more than thirty dollars. That brought our total for two nights' stay and eight days' parking to $135 – a darned sight lower than the $179 that the cruise line was asking for just parking space for a vehicle for the week.  That made my friend so happy that she wandered the halls of the Renton Motel 6 until she found the laundry facilities, and she promptly returned to gather up clothes to wash.

When I'm happy, I like to simply sit and bask in the joy, or, given the opportunity, to cook and bake. When she's happy, she cleans.

We were able to arrive the next morning at the pier not smelling like we'd been camping for a week.

 Life was looking up.

*It wasn't yet. Not until the end of the next week. After we were en route home. 

1 comment:

ira said...

This makes me want to visit Seattle! Really lovely post!