The Tourists

Today we decided to trek down to Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle because Ken has never seen it. After some consideration we opted to take the bus because the commuter train leaves less frequently leaving much less flexibility with regard to return time. There was some trepidation on my part because of my limited experiences with the CDTA system at home which is comprised of filthy buses full of really sketchy characters. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

One thing I did not realize is that when the buses near the Seattle city limits they go into a tunnel for buses only. There are numerous stops along the way and I was surprised by how nice the platforms were. They were clean, well lighted and it was easy to navigate to the escalator to the street. We walked three blocks to Pike Place Market and it was like being submerged into a different world.

It is immediately apparent that the Seattle grunge scene is very much alive and well and we saw a lot of spikes, mohawks and piercings on young and old alike. There were also a lot of homeless people wrapped in cardboard and sleeping under benches and trees; fortunately there was a lot less panhandling than we experienced in Pioneer Square.

The market is an amazing place. There are three levels with hundreds of little shops selling every imaginable item from hookahs to fresh fish. Every possible nationality is represented here; there are shops selling Mexican day-of-the-dead dolls and stalls selling Tibetan prayer flags and incense. The food shops were amazing as well; I saw French bakeries, pierogi stands and stalls of Vietnamese street food. And the fresh fruit, vegetable and flower markets were beautiful, rivaling any of those in New York City.

The general flavor in Seattle is much less frenetic than the Big Apple and I felt a lot safer there; it was busy but lacked the breathless and exhausting tension found in New York. It’s also substantially cleaner; I read somewhere that the frequent rains serve to wash away a lot of the city crud that tends to build up in the wake of humanity.

After hanging around downtown for several hours and having a nice meal in a funky little lunch place, we headed back to the underground bus stop. We spent a total of five bucks apiece to travel down to Pike Place which is an incredible deal when you consider the aggravation of driving there in the horrendous Seattle traffic and finding a place to park. We are thinking about going back.


1 Comment

  1. Charley said,

    May 30, 2008 at 10:31 am

    You totally have to bring me back something from the market. Some amazing ethnic food will do, ethiopian? Perhaps something from the French patisserie. Or some mac and cheese from Beechers. Yum.

    Oh! And some truffle oil from La Buona Tavola.


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