Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Northwest Pt 1

My friend E. recently moved out to Seattle and put up wonderful photos of the city to encourage visitors. I had been looking for a destination for my Oct vacation so took up the offer.
While I took a week to write my first entry, I wanted to capture some highlights and make a list of "everything else" so I can come back and write part two.

Seattle Space Needle

Seattle, Washington
Pike Place Market:
You'll find fresh seafood here, $5 bouquests of flowers, fresh produce, a few eateries, and a ton of neat gift/specialty shops (paper, posters, jewelry, etc etc). We actually made dinner out of fresh king salmon and swordfish steak from here. Delicious.

If you dislike the smell at other seafood markets, I invite you visit here because I don't think I've been a cleaner market. No fishy smell at all. You'll also find the original Starbucks with lively musicians out front and a ton of fans looking at specialty coffee and merchandise inside. I was tempted to buy a mug but after thinking about the fragil transport I decided to pass on it. If you like City mugs from Starbucks, I have to say the Seattle one is the best (and I thought the NYC one was impressive).

Laser Dome:
Just next to the famous Space Needle (vintage world fair 1961), you'll find the Pacific Science Center which hosts a variety of science related exhibits and the very unique laser shows. If you go, check out the crowd's advice from Yelp (especially regarding what to bring, pillows and blankets!). Walking through downtown Seattle like we're going to a slumber party was quite a scene. Daft Punk's music is perfect for laser shows, as is Lady Gaga and Pink Floyd. Makes me wonder about other cities and whether they  have laser shows too. As an aside, the EMP not too far away also has great music exhibits and shows.

Since I was in Seattle for more than a couple of days, I was lucky enough to attend a house party (board games!) and met some wonderful people there. The one new game that I loved was blokus and I'm in the process of ordering a set myself for familiy and friends here. It's also on ipad so I may get that before I get the physical game. Another game I learned to play was Fluxx but I'm not sure if I ever got the hang of it...

Vancouver, Canada
MARKET by Jean Georges:
This was my vacation splurge. Beautiful space, attentive service, and amazing food. I ordered the lunch prix fixe which included a really cool rice cracker crusted tuna and snapper with nut and seed crust.

Trolley Tour:
Funny enough, I've never done a hop-on, hop-off tour anywhere and the first time I decided to try it is in Vancouver. Due to the wait time at each stop (45 min), I actually ended up not hopping off at all.

Canada Place
The route started at Canada Place, which was a block or two from my hotel, went through Stanley Park, Granville Island, and rest of downtown/Chinatown/Gastown. If I go next time, I'll have to plan enough time in Stanley Park's Lookout Place.

Sun Yat-sen Garden:

This was my first stop in Vancouver after a quick lunch of shrimp wonton noodle soup in Chinatown. I also caught the tour guide's daily tour and learned some interesting things about the garden design and Chinese culture. If you go, you should take your time walking around.

Transportation logistics worked out well.  I went to Vancouver via Amtrak train from Seattle and returned via bus (dependent on schedule, you can take train or bus both ways). I barely used Canadian dollars in Vancouver even though I did exchange a small amount. Mastercard, even with foreign fees and exchange rate, came out a better deal for me.

Other topics for Pt 2
Reading, Pandora, and Entertainment Setup
Argosy Cruise and Port Knowledge
Seattle Underground Tour
Boeing Tour
Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
Various Coffee Shops (Caffe Vita, Roy Street Coffee and Teas, Waves Coffee House)
Iver's Fish and Chips
Hiking (Twin falls)
Vancouver Waterfront and Canada Place
Gastown and Water Street Cafe
Seattle Pagliacci Pizza Verde Primo


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