Monday, November 4, 2013

Seattle Visit Day #1: Slopes and Grades

It is a balmy 47 degrees in Seattle as I step out for my wanderings.  Sunday, the day of rest, and a good first day here as it will allow me to acclimate without worrying about job hunting.  My first goal is to connect where I am presently staying with the area I remember from previous visits on my mental map.  It is evident that fall is turning into winter as I wind through the narrow streets.

Those colored leaves indicate seasons.  Florida was never much for having seasons beyond Summer and Not Summer.  Back on the subject of narrow streets, my god...two cars could barely pass one another on these roads and people park on both sides to form this narrow channel that you'd have to navigate.  Seattle is not a huge driving culture, though.  I've passed more people walking here than I'd see walking in Florida in a year.  The weather is much more accommodating too it, though.  You don't die of heat stroke after ten blocks.  More on mass transit and biking in a later post, I think

 This picture shows more of the seasonal look for Seattle but it doesn't convey what I am aiming to show.  This street is at a steep grade, like many in Seattle, and hiking up that sidewalk was a chore.  If I'd known I was taking this trip earlier I would have gotten back into running to build up leg strength.  Even in my underprepared state, though, I didn't find the walking to be unbearable.

This is something you see a lot of in Seattle.  Parking is a real pain in the ass because the city isn't exactly rolling in space.  Most of the buildings are multistory for that same reason.  So this is another downside to owning a car here.  Not only do you have to pay to park in a lot of places but most residential buildings also have a monthly parking fee associated with them.  No thank you.

After about fifteen minutes of walking I came across an area that looked familiar.  Sure enough, the campus for Seattle Community College in Capitol Hill was my first landmark.  From there I followed the streets I recalled until I found Pine and spent a few minutes walking through Cal Anderson park.  A soccer field, tennis courts, a fountain.  Very relaxing stuff.  Public works is big here and it is nice to see that the parks are well maintained.  From there it was just a few blocks to my first stop of the day.  Eltana.

 Eltana serves wood-fired bagels with a variety of interesting spreads.  Sweet and savory options line their board and they change frequently.  After running through a few fruit blend options, I settled on a salt bagel with the caramelized onion hummus spread.  Excellent choice.   Too bad the chai tea didn't exactly hold up.  More on that in my first Coffee Talk later this week.  Check out that bitchin' flannel that some awesome people got me.

From there I wound my back down Pike and stopped at the QFC to pick up some groceries for my stay.  I intend to eat one interesting meal a day while I am here so that I can showcase some of the excellent restaurants around.  That said, I'm also not a millionaire so my remaining meals will be Banquet frozen dinners and cereal.

On the way back I passed the Raygun Lounge.  This is a gaming lounge set up by Gamma Ray Games, a local RPG and board game store.  They have a nice drink list and the store itself was staffed by friendly folk when I was here last.  I will have to stop in this week and check it out.

No sun in Seattle, eh?
All told I probably did three miles in my wandering today.  It didn't feel like three miles but my legs might disagree in the morning.  Sadly, I feel like I have a cold coming on from the stupid sick children I got stuck next to in the airplane.  I never seem to make it through a flight unscathed in that sense.  Southwest does have nice seats and plenty of leg room but if you get stuck in a C boarding phase you are not going to like what kind of seating options are left to you.

On the weather, it was dry all day today.  Rain is supposed to come late tomorrow afternoon, so we'll see.  Even with the temperature in the low forties I never felt cold.  A heavy sweatshirt or a light jacket kept me comfortable.  I brought gloves and a hat just in case, and the temperature is supposed to drop over the weekend so that may have been smart, but even in the colder weather on my previous trip I never felt miserable like I do in Florida heat.

Oh, to conclude.

The rest of the day was spent getting settled in at the apartment.  Having realized on my walk home that In the Bowl was only 3 minutes from where I was staying, I couldn't resist.  Below, I present you with my dinner for the evening.  Pumpkin curry, melting culture and a thai iced tea.  And yes, I made my wife watch me eat it over the computer because I am just that kind of a jerk.

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