And If You Look Out The Window To Your Right
My Dad, his wife, my stepbrother and his wife dropped by last Wednesday for a little tour of the city. I haven't seen my pop in about 4 years, since the last time I visited him in Lake Tahoe, and this is the first time in nearly 50 years that he's even been to Seattle. We don't get to see each other nearly as much as we'd both like, so even though this was a short visit, we decided to play tourist and do a whirlwind sight-seeing excursion through town.
First stop, naturally was my boat, since I'm located a mere stones' throw from Seattle Center. Despite the record-setting heat-wave of the previous week, the day was settling into a sunny-yet-comfortable pattern, and we started off by heading for the #1 tourist destination -- The Space Needle.
I don't think I've been "up the needle" more than a couple of times in the nearly 20 years I've lived here, so I figured it would be a bit of a treat for me as well. However, before we made it a across the street and past The EMP, we were waylayed by -- THE DUCK.
You know THE DUCK. You've seen THE DUCK. THE DUCK is a large white WW-II vintage amphibious troop transport that has been converted to civilian use as a somewhat obnoxious tourist vehicle, shuttling out-of-towners around to loud '70's novelty tunes ("Rubber Ducky" and "Disco Duck" are featured prominently), while they harrass the locals with duck-bill shaped "quackers". Yeah, THAT Duck.
It is here that I must reveal a guilty, shameful secret. One that may cause me loss of social standing and even perhaps banishment to some backwater on the Kitsap Penninsula; I actually enjoyed riding The Duck. The driver was sassy, funny and just perky enough to keep everyone's energy up (even through interminable waits for 100 car long freight trains, or detours around Seattle Fire Dept. detours) while avoiding lapsing into diabetes inducing schmaltz. She was fairly knowledgeable about the city, and despite some obvious plugs for local restaurants, hotels and watering holes, actually made the tour fun for even the most jaded & cynical hometowner. Of course the best part is the last third of the tour, when The Duck converts from land vehicle to watercraft, plunging into North Lake Union for a brief paddle around Gas Works Park & vicinity.
After leaving The Duck, we managed to cross over into Seattle Center land, scrupulously avoiding EMP, and ascended to the Observation Deck of The Needle. As I said, it's been a while, and once I stepped out onto the open-air platform, I quickly remembered why it's been so long; there's nothing quite so disconcerting as feeling a sudden, accute sense of vertigo at an altitude of 600 feet. Turns out it's not just a function of the height. The deck is actually slightly slanted, in order to allow water to drain off without leaving puddles. (Thanks to Basil for that tidbit of trivia!) Somebody actually had to think of that before they built the thing, which is why you should always listen to architects. Unfortunately, it was still just hazy enough to prevent seeing any of the local mountain ranges, however, I CAN see my office from up there!
Next "stop" was of course a quick monorail trip down to Westlake and from there to The Pike Place Market. Now, this is a place I visit with some regularity, as I still think it's one of the best places in the City to buy produce, cheese, dairy, etc. Then it was back to the monorail, and we finished the day with a light dinner at The Harborside, which naturally put me right back home again.
All in all, not a bad day to play tourist, and of course the pleasure of the company made it all the more worthwhile. Just wish we could have had more time to spend together, as it's always way too long between visits, but we take what we can get and enjoy what we have.
on 10:09 PM