The past few days have been a mixture of rain, then clouds, then sun, then more rain. At times, the rain has been heavy, matching the strength of the sun’s rays which come after. So it is that the city is balanced evenly between hope and despair.
I have not explored all of the city yet. I’m staying in West Seattle, a suburb of Seattle, at the bottom of a road that looks like a steep staircase with few steps. In Downtown Seattle, in the heart of the city proper, the road often drops in waves to the water, some sections of road dropping steeper than others. On clear days, Puget Sound sparkles. On cloudy days, the Sound sits there like a large black beast.
Most of the streets in downtown run straight and parallel to each other, jointing at the next neighborhood over (Pioneer Square or Seattle Center). Each section has its own personality, and sometimes certain blocks do, too. Near the water is Pike’s Place Market, where Farmer’s Market is located.
Pioneer Square is south of there, past Columbia Street, and includes the oldest structures in the city–most of them underground. The International District is east of Pioneer Square, and is near Qwest and Safeco Fields.
Then, on the other side of downtown, heading north, one encounters Seattle Center. I took a monorail to there, from which one can see a great view of downtown as it slides past. The Space Needle is in Seattle Center, as is the Pacific Science Center and–most importantly–The Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum.
I have seen people wearing suits downtown, but not many. When I wore a suit on a mid-morning bus, I got stares. Most people dress casual to semi-casual. Most are Caucasian, with the rest being black, Southeast Asian, or (a few) American Indian. Lots of people smoke at bus stops, but no one smokes inside buildings.
And then there’s the food.
I haven’t eaten out much, but what I’ve eaten has been delicious–even the food I ate at a buffet. I don’t drink beer much, but I’ve been told that that will change while I’m living out here, since they have so many varieties. While that was being said to me, however, I couldn’t help but be reminded of an English major telling me that I would start smoking before I graduated college, due to my major. I still don’t smoke (and never will), and while my reasons for rarely drinking have more to do with personal preference than my health, I don’t want to develop a beer belly, like the one I saw someone sporting on Halloween, clashing with his Harry Potter costume.
Like most cities, Seattle can be a lonely place, especially when you know few people and not so well, and when your best friends are flung here and there across the globe. I am looking into volunteering at theaters around here, in order to meet more people and return to my theatrical roots, though the big theaters in Seattle tend to draft members of the geriatric society into their volunteer army. Most people who volunteer are in their sixties, probably retired. If that is the case, it means that the youngest of them are older than my parents by at least several years (I take back the geriatric comment and replace it with this one: the volunteers tend to be old). But I shall not meet them for another two weeks. At least the theater people I’ve met seem friendly. And Seattle Center, where the Seattle Repertory Theater sits, reminded me a little of the Big E, with its open spaces and roller coasters. In essence, it’s an asphalt prairie with slabs of grass that seems many miles removed from the shopping district downtown. And it has a musical fountain.
Until next time…