I did not put a great deal of research into finding suitable locations for our holiday. As with many things in life, somehow when something is meant to happen, the stars seem to align. And so Seattle appeared unexpectedly our horizon.
So off we go, with accommodation booked at Holiday Inn Everett and a hired car waiting for us at Seattle Tacoma International Airport. After a flight only two hours from Las Vegas, we collect our Nissan at Advantage-Rent-A-Car and scoot down the highway at 100km per hour for a further 45 minutes, with drivers on the road in front and behind all behaving as they should.
Finding our accommodation is surprising easy. The final stretch is down a 20km tree-lined highway. Dropping our bags into our spacious 2 queen bedded room and wehead towards Hunan Palace Chinese Restaurant across the street for the first Chinese meal we have in USA.
Chinese lunch is typical: a choice of fried rice and meat dish comes with Sichuan hot sour soup with a free packet of fortune cookies. It just cost USD5.95 excluding 10% taxes.
Seattle isn’t the most highly rated city in USA. Most travellers bypass it completely. I like this place – sure, it’s quite cold because of its location at the northwest of America. In summer, the weather gives it a kind of soporific charm. It rains a lot in Seattle, comes in drips and drizzles. In one year, 150 days of rain is expected. There are only 58 days of sun per year. Out of 365 days, 225 are cloudy. We are lucky that the days we are in the city are mostly sunny.
Today is the fourth day we are in USA. The mental distance from home with the physical distance and thoughts of work and school is getting remote. This to me is what a holiday should be about: the great outdoor, clean air, fabulous scenery, some exercise and not much sweat! And space – wow, we enjoy that sense of space that Singapore in no way is able to provide.
A car is definitely required here, and that’s why there are many cars on the road. In Seattle, bumper and bumper traffic is common. Fast lane is for vehicles which have two or more people in the car.
13 June 2013, 5:00pm
The first place we visit is our supplier to our online store. These people that we communicate on email, we finally can put a face to their names.
5:00 pm, Microsoft, Redmond
Seattle is well known for several Fortune 500 companies. The visitor center was closed to public because of a private event for interns. It’s quite small, just a spattering of displays and a few games. The gift shop is nice. I spend more than USD100 here. Great stuff. Free parking and drive through a beautiful area.
13 June 2013, 9:00 am, Boeing Future of Flight Tour
All in the family are aviation enthusiasts. This is the highlight of our Seattle trip, the main reason why we are here – Boeing.
No cellphones, no cameras are allowed. Starting off with 8 minutes movie, then we get on a bus.
Wow! The place is awesome, Guinness Book of the World Records biggest facility by volume (472 million cubic feet). The magnitude of scale alone blows us away. Our tour guide compares its size to Disneyland.
Like cattle we are herded from one basement freight elevator then arrive at a flights of stairs up to witness the assembly line below in the 747, 777 and 787 build process. It is awe-inspiring to see the planes up close and get a sense of how big they are. From information about construction of each plane element and assembly to insight about the facility and staffing, the guide explains in great detail. It is mind warping to see the factory floor from so many angles, giant jets, multi-storied cross-sectioned floors full of workers. There are 11 cafes, fireman team, hundreds of bicycles, around 25,000 people working in shifts round the clock.
The trip is amazing. I love to see the action how these airplane get built. Overall, I recommend this tour.
1:00pm, Lunch at Hunan Palace Restaurant
We head down to Hunan Palace Chinese Restaurant opposite our hotel once again. This is our third time there. A delicious bowl of soup noodle with a a packet of fortune cookies with a glass of cold water. I chat with the boss of Hunan Palace. He says he came from Hong Kong. Seattle, is less popular to San Francisco and Los Angeles for Hong Kong immigrants during his time. It’s good job opportunity if in IT or aviation because Seattle’s biggest employer is Boeing and Microsoft. Salary is good, life is stable and quiet, just a bit cold except of summer.
2:00pm, Pike’s Market
Having zone out for a while, it’s time for exploration in the city.
Starbucks at Pike’s place: It’s overrated and touristy. Many people thought that this is the first Starbucks ever. It is not. Quoted from Wikipedia:
“From 1971-1976, the first Starbucks was at 2000 Western Avenue. It then moved to 1912 Pike Place Market, it then was never relocated.”
I’m not a Starbucks fan. It’s just too crowded and not worth to spend time on the line.
After an afternoon lolling about in Pike’s Market, sampling fresh cherries and strawberries from fruit stands, we duck into Jack’s Fish Spot. http://www.jacksfishspot.com/index.html We eat at the bar with limited and primitive seating, open to the street and perfect for people watching Fish and chips is good, reasonably priced and fast service. The guys are friendly.
The street is booming with pop songs that jostle for attention. People are sunning themselves on the grassy banks. We completely luck out at the crisp cool summer weather.
5:30pm Seattle University
It is a university at the town area, just 2km from Pike’s Place. It has an attractive bookstore that repairs mobile phones.
6:30pm, University of Washington
The surroundings is on the suburban side. The campus is stunning. They have some amazing building architecture, great views, trees and scenery is beautiful. We see only a small portion of the campus, visit their bookstore and I purchase a purple T-shirt. I think they have a great football team.
14 June, 7:15am, Morning Run at Everett
I slip on my trainers and go for a run around the industrial estate. It is a bit chilly, 12 degree Celsius, good enough for me to settle into a comfortable pace down he concrete path, past the warehouses, factories huddled along 2km stretch in Everett, Washington State. I love the luxury of being outside, feeling secured, able to continue with my exercise regime.
12:00pm, Leaving Seattle
Having sunk happily into holiday mode and passed the fifth day of bliss, it’s tough to pack the bags to move on our next destination. After these couple of days of staying in Seattle, I really want to stay here. It is a great city that has the best of most worlds – a mild climate, access to water, land, mountains, fields, streams, a bustling metropolis.
Seattle is an environment that looks international, educated, intelligent and open-minded to new ideas and people.
USA’s most educated city with the highest percentage of college graduates
Washington has the highest minimum wage among the states in USA, USD9.19