Today was the day we had to leave San Francisco. Bummer. But at least I finally found a decent cappuccino! Maybe a 7/10 on the iScott Coffee Scale. This was at the Cosy Cable Car Café. But the rest of breakfast was a bit … meh.
There wasn’t much else to do after breakfast other than double check everything was packed and ready to go, have a mope about leaving San Francisco, and wait for the car to arrive to pick us up and take us to the airport.
When the car turned up – we were happy to see Seyfu, the same guy that picked us up when we arrived. Not sure if that was planned or a coincidence, but he did a good job so was nice to see him again. He got us to the airport with plenty of time to spare.
I’ve read a number of horror stories about the time it takes to get through security as US airports, especially when flying domestically. Fortunately, today was pretty good. Though you do still need to take your shoes off. We were flying wth Alaska Air, and there’s no Alaska lounge at SFO domesticate terminal… I know, the horror! So we just hung around in the departure lounge, it was all good. I wandered around the shops, and took photos of an exhibit of beckoning cats, supplied by a local museum. Before long it was time to board, and we jumped on to our A320. I was bit surprised to see it was actually a Virgin America plane, until I remembered that Alaska Air bought Virgin America airline a little while ago. The flight was great, the seat was big and comfy, I could only just touch the wall in front of me with my feet if I tried, so it still counts as a pass from me for the legroom check. Staff were nice, the meal was tasty. We even flew over a nice snow-covered mountain.
Check out how ridiculously cute their salt and pepper shaker is!
The flight felt shorter than it was, and after a very smooth landing, hello, Seattle! There’s light rail that runs from the airport into downtown Seattle, just follow the signs, they said. And then follow the signs. And more signs. Then … a few more signs. Eventually, yep we made it it was just a bit further away that I would’ve thought. But no drama – a train arrived just the same time we did, so we were on our way pretty much straight away.
Watching the world go by, a few things became evident pretty quickly. Its a lot greener, trees are a lot pointier, and basically everyone has a frontward and a backyard. It was interesting to see so many of th house were all wood – even some in the ‘California Bungalow’ style we know at home – but at home all the stone and brick parts were still built out of wood.
We stopped at a station called Othello. It was ok – but didn’t stand out compared to other stations – ’tis neither here nor there. (yes I had to work an Othello quote into it somehow…)
We soon arrived at ‘our’ station – Westlake. Rather grand, big, and pretty, Seattle was looking pretty good so far. We bad about 700m to walk to get to the hotel – a bit of a slog with luggage in tow, but we made it. Though about two blocks from the hotel, when we hit Belltown, something changed. Or rather, Seattle changed. On first impressions, it kinda let like we were staying in somewhere like Tenderloin. There are a sizeable group of homeless people just across the road from the hotel, near a park. It turned kinda unpleasant pretty quickly, with people asking us for money etc. But we made to the hotel with no drama. The hotel itself is really nice. Very clean, really nice staff, and the room is spacious enough, and extremely clean and tidy. If there is to be a downside … checkout the view!
But I have subsequently read that having a view like this is bit of a blessing, as the crowd who live on the streets below get so raucous, that the hotel even supplies free ear plugs for all the people staying in street-facing rooms. Now, I know it’s too easy to just talk about homeless people as being a problem. An annoyance that one wishes they could just magically ‘get rid of’. But the realities are far more complex, and it really reminds me very sharply of my own privilege and good fortune – I have somewhere to live. I have clean clothes. I get the opportunity to travel to other parts of the world. These people for the most part, have nothing. And it can be all too easy to forget that they’re human, they may be there through no fault of their own, and most of them are off their chops on drugs because how else could you face living a life like that. I dunno, I don’t have the answers to homelessness. It happens for many reasons. And I freely admit the discomfort I feel when walking past them is partly due to the good fortune I have in this privileged life. They’re human, they deserve respect, but I’m stuffed if I know where to even begin to try and do anything to help.
But enough of my moral dilemmas. We’re in a dodge part of town, so be it. But once we went out exploring, just a block away everything’s much more just like a normal city again. We found another exclusive ‘Ross for Less’ haute couture boutique (lol) – because we needed to buy another bag. Yep, after visiting just one city, we bought enough crap that Alaska air said both of our bags were too heavy, and don’t try pulling that trick with them again. Happily we’re each entitled to check in two bags if we like, but each bag can’t be as heavy as the ones we checked in today. It was kind of them to let the bags through even when one was 7 pounds over the limit. So. We have another bag. Which will probably lead to more shopping… so yeah this could become a problem, but of course a nice kind of problem to have.
We found an italian restaurant nearby – Assagio. https://www.assaggioseattle.com . A good choice! The meals were delicious, and the cocktails very strong indeed. The Moscow Mule did indeed have a kick just like its namesake. Delicious canoli for dessert, too. So if ever you’re passing through Seattle, it’s worth popping in for a quality feed.
We had dinner kinda early – wanted to be back ‘home’ before everything really kicked off out the front. With a sunset time of 9:06pm though, that’s easily done.
So there we go, first day in Seattle. First impressions are … mixed. Let’s see what tomorrow will bring.