Seattle Trip Spring 2012

Another successful, if short, trip to America. With a little trepidation, not knowing if it was "worth it" to stay in Seattle for a couple of nights, I set out on the first day starting at 5 o'clock on a dark and early on a Friday morning. I traveled by train via Amtrak Cascades, coincidentally sharing a car with John and Rebecca Bollwitt. They discovered that I had only planned to see if there was a ticket available for that night's Seattle Mariners opening night, having only planned to attend Saturday night's game. When John and Rebecca found this out, with their extra ticket in hand, they kindly offered the seat next to them in Safeco Field's Terrace Club. After arriving and taking a much-needed (and very much planned) three-hour nap, I bused in from the Bellevue Westin, eyes wide open as we passed through tunnels and over the floating bridge, and proceeded to my first tourist attraction.

Leftover elevator machinery Seattle Underground Tour Purple glass

2012-04-13 17.54.37

Just before the game on Friday, thanks to the advice from a traveler to Seattle, I took the Seattle Underground Tour. For the first 15 minutes our guide regaled us with tale of how the city got its sewer system before spending 45 minutes walking underneath the streets, looking at the "first floor" of some of downtown's buildings. Highly recommended for an hour's worth of tourist activity.

Opening night at Safeco Field Ichiro in right field

Left: My first opening night! It was fun watching the hometeam Mariners run out of centre field, and seeing a flyover at the end of the national anthem. Though, a helicopter? In the land that gave us Boeing? Right: Ichiro patrolling right field the next day.

That night at the ballgame, I got to use up two of my Major League references prepared for the night: "Give him the heater!" deep in the count of an at-bat and "Too high!" when the visiting Athletics hit a home run. I didn't get to use up my third reference, though I would get my chance the next day.

Saturday proceeded with no agenda except sleep in, do a light workout in the hotel gym followed by a quick swim and hottub. I also wandered around the Bellevue Square mall and a few blocks of the Seattle suburb's downtown, if only due to their proximity to the hotel. The evening's plans were to bake in right field during batting practice of the second game at Safeco Field. Having brought my glove, I managed to catch a "home run" ball that had, unfortunately, ricocheted after striking a little girl, not paying attention, in the shoulder. Being a Blue Jays fan, I immediately offered her the ball, her mother throwing me a loop telling me that it was OK, she already got one. (I kept the souvenir.) Seemingly my luck is improving, as this now makes it two major league baseballs that I've caught at a ballgame, the first being a foul ball at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in 2010.

Three beers deep and a bowl of nachos later, former Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Brandon League took the mound and promptly bounced the ball over the catcher. To the amusement of very few from the hometown crowd, I yelled out "Wild thing, you make my heart sing!" fulfilling my third and final Major League reference. Nobody laughed, but, a couple of pitches later, someone yelled out "Wild thing, you make everything, groovy", so I felt vindicated.

Space Needle from below

2012-04-15 15.19.20

On Sunday, after working out and swimming a second time at the hotel, spending the afternoon hour on the obvservation deck of the Space Needle proved to be the final highlight of the trip. $19 just to see the panorama of a city, you say? I had hummed and hawed about it at the outset, but realized as soon as I walked on the outside deck I found it far more peaceful that I'd imagined it would be. Drinking a beer in the sky was a nice cap to a weekend visit.

The train trip back had no compadres on it, so I was stuck in a car with a loud party of four. That's why the good lord invented the dining car.