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Trip Report We have coffee here, but it's only drip! JJ5's Seattle Trip Report

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POST #1.

Food and flowers, baseball and hilly bus rides! Metro cops' conversations after 14 inning games - all will be revealed. Look here in the next few days for my Seattle trip report. Be warned, it is long. It has lots of detail and little to no complaint.

I'm so used to going South, East and North- that the longer Western flights have become a bummer in comparison. Totally worn out from the flights and the vacation so I had to go to work to rest! And then after that I had to retreive a homesick cockatiel and have him freak out for over a day upon return (no, you can not sleep on the bed post- Sydney- YOU do need to get back in your cage at some point. I know you missed us.)

But glorious weather, good food and numerous adventures did occur!

And the surly city-hater did have a good time, as well. He even admitted he could have done two more days if getting to Mt. Rainer would have been one of them.

Thank you in advance to all of those Fodorites from Seattle who gave me such great ideas and specific information. I used virtually all of them. And not only wore out some shoes, but bought some new Josef Seibel sandals to replace them- on this trip.

Glorious weather at Chicago end and at Seattle end- throughout the entire. A FIRST for probably 20 something USA trips. We've had more luck with Europe. LOL!

Day one- Midway just an easy walk through- flight on time usual experience for us. Arrive on time at SeaTac (actually 10 minutes early). Luggage comes off first- literally. We arrive at Mayflower Park Hotel and check in and are out for a walk and a drink at Oliver's- and then do the easy thing we always do. Which is a chain restaurant after arriving- no effort. And a P. F. Chang's is within spitting distance and that's the one we do. Good meal, good beer, good night.

We retire fairly early- since the very next morning is the Savor Seattle Food Tour- the Classics one. THANKS, suze.

Great beds, btw. 8th floor- but the first night the elevator was broke and they tried to charge me $35 more a day than the rate booked on quikbook at that. Both got remedied in fairly quick order, though. Elevator situation was ok for the entire rest of the week. I strongly rec the Mayflower for its location. Also because people are there when you need them and are not when you don't need them. PERFECT. My view is of Escala lady sign and Olive/ Stewart which is under construction. They were cutting concrete with saws and breaking from literally 5 am every day. We slept anyway and mostly got used to it so it wasn't even a complaint. We could also view the Mariners store and sports' outlet across the street. And Macy's- which is also under construction. Huge areas of downtown are. It's all very much on the uplift side of life, actually- in totality. All going from poorer times to better times- just there. Absolutely.

So with our maps and directions- we get ourselves to Pike's Starbucks on time and go off on our tour with Caroline. She was FAB, 26 and a former Seattle barkeep, server, waitress, etc. With earphones that connected us to her she took us on a 2-1/2 hour tour of many Pike Place Market vendors, with samples at each. And we also got some history and action (fish throwing) besides the eating.

More on this later- in post two. It's a good thing we had a ball game to go to that night, because we might have just drank a supper or went on a gelato binge or something after that tour.

Will be continued in Post #2

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    This is fun..we spent a couple of days in Seattle precruise and really enjoyed it. Stayed at the Mayflower too. Olivers became our routine hangout, good place for people watching. Anxious to hear more.

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    And I forgot one detail already. We walked after the tour and went back to purchase my sandals that they were holding at Romax (I didn't want to carry them during the tour). I didn't pay full price for them, btw- just about 1/2. They were clearing out last season's.

    Well after some flower shopping (I filled the hotel room with Dahlias) and some other triffles (tons of Chukar's cherries to ship and take home- he LOVES the dark chocolate cabernet ones- but we got about 6 kinds for numerous other events)- we did get hungry enough to go to Serious Pie's singular $5 and Happy Hour Special. And after that and the hotel drop off- we went underground to go to the game. We had no help and understood the machines. What we did not understand is the ticketing survey. We were mighty perplexed. Who checks or punches or what? More about that later.

    I had changed into my Sox jersey, and he into his hat- so we were pretty much visible as going to where we were going. Underground it is only about 4 stops away- the Stadium.

    We liked it and as the weather was perfect- knew the roof would be open at Safeco. He tried to roam over to see Quest but didn't get very far= construction rather than security. In fact, everything there was under construction and SO was mesmerized at the wood used in putting up elevated roadways' concrete- as forms. It is NOT done that way in our climate and all concrete is poured to forms in sections and set upon steel beams. Quite, quite different. He is ga-ga over the "waste" of that immense amounts of good wood. I tell him not to fret, as they probably use it over or for some other construction purposes when they are through with wet pourings.

    Game was quick- Danks was great. We win.

    People were very polite, and sort of detached. No one spoke to us much this evening.

    We took the underground transit back and I go up to the only cops I've seen (small blonde woman- very young, and her 20 something partner) and ask her about the transit tickets or transfers or tags or whateveryoucall'ems. She asked me where I was from. I tell her. She's says she is from WI and her partner (Black)was from IL. He says to me- I know what you mean- it wouldn't work back home. "To translate that, just doesn't work here, she tells me. Because they just don't get it." She tells me that the fine is $134 but that they just tell someone to go buy a ticket if they catch them.

    We know we aren't in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

    We arrive home and go to sleep immediately as the next day is the first marathon GoSeattle card day and we will get no rest then. The next two days were killer. I can't believe we did it all. That will come in Post #3.

    Oh, I forgot, the SavorSeattle Tours, any of them, are SO worth it to do at the BEGINNING of a Seattle stay- because they give you a card from that experience that is good for 10% off any Tom Douglas or many other Pike Place Market venues. And did we use it too.

    Starting the next morning- which got us off breakfastless but on the Monorail to Seattle Center by 9:30am

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    JJ5--Sounds like a great trip so far! I knew you were going this month so was waiting to hear about it. Glad the Mayflower worked out for you, and I agree that the staff is great...they seem to know how to read their clientelle. Can't wait to hear the rest:)

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    The monorail is literally attached to the building (there is an exit from Mayflower to the Westlake Center which holds it)-and we were at the Seattle Center in minutes. We went to the top of the needle- stayed a short while and also went down one floor to the restaurant which was just 20 minutes from opening when we left (and yet they allowed us to walk all around for views). We decided we had too much to see that day to lag there and do long food.

    We next walked the entire area, (Science Center was closed for rehab)and went into the Science Fiction Museum for over an hour. We both enjoyed it. I wish I would have jotted down more authors. Lots I had already read, but they had slipped out of memory. It also reminded me how much strong, definitive, and early femimist writing was pure imaginative science fiction- from Mary Shelley on. It was so much "safer" to posit things into an "impossible" future. The visuals were good fun for us as well there, as we can remember all of them in prime time. LOL! This museum was entirely viewed and enjoyed.

    We walked that entire nature area to Lake Union and then returned on the Monorail, getting off and going straight back to Pike Place Market for chowder and bisque at Pike Place Chowder. (That's all he wanted since the day before.) We also split a crab roll. (He had two whole bowls- a clam chowder after the seafood bisque.) This is the best clam chowder I have ever tasted- totally beats the NE varieties we have had. We shared a table with 2 Japanese youths who spoke no English-and they ordered the same thing we did- exactly. They loved it too. SO did lots of miming.

    We then started a long afternoon of walking and museum hopping. We spent almost 2 full hours in the Seattle Art Museum. I liked it. He really balked at first but ended up appreciating more of it than he would admit. We then went to the Bug Museum and several other small museums (GoCard used at all of these that day free admission- Monorail /needle etc. as well). We then started the Harbor front walk south and went to Olympic Sculpture Park. We took the bus back. We did so much culture that day that we ended up just buying some wine during the last walk, going back to the hotel- and didn't go to the night game that night. We ended up having gelato for supper next to the Bug Museum. The Mariners won that night- we saw some of it on tv.

    The next morning we arose early- ate a couple of muffins we had bought- and went across the street to buy another set of baseball tickets because the game was moved from 1 pm to 3:40pm and so we thought we could get another game in and still go on a Argosy cruise or two- free with the GoSeattle Cards. So we are off to Pier 54/55 (on foot) and took the Harbor tour. It was delightful- with very nice weather- sun and a nice crowd- but not full boat- not close to full. We purposely did not take the Locks tour which left from Lake Union, fairly close to the Needle (the day before we almost took that one)- because I have been through a myriad of locks and fish ladders and much elsewhere (was stuck for 4 hours in a lock on the IL River near Oregon, IL and did my own boat in Chicago River locks)- and yet never have seen a transmodal center.

    This Harbor tour lasted about 1-1/2 hours and was the most educational part of the entire trip. I just loved it. I got to see and understand the gantry crains and all the logistics of transmodal containers. Since I owned some once, it was more than just a skyline to me.

    Isn't it amazing that there has been total standardization to just three different lengths and the same widths and heights for all of the shipping of the entire world's humans? Think about the complexity of language and culture and base belief differences???? And it was accomplished!! People want stuff and need stuff too. Bad enough to REALLY cooperate.

    And it also reminded me- HUGELY- how Chicago is the only, only. It is the only place in the world that the entire lakefront has been deeded to the people for other than commerce and production. Thank some nasty, horrid, filthy robber barons capitalists for that one, huh!

    Sorry, not to disparage Seattle's skyline or waterfront use at all. In fact our tour guide did a fabulous job of doing building to building history and discription as well as overall historic background of Seattle. Including the tale of the Real World Seattle filming grounds and other recent uptakes.

    After leaving the boat, we quickly viewed that part of the Harbor front to see where we would take up our wanderings on the next day- and went back to the hotel to change and clean up a bit- get jackets. And off to the game again on the underground.

    This game was less populated than the first one we had attended. We had seats about 12 rows back in right field. The lowest seats are hardly elevated- very gradual- very different. The only stadium we could remember like that is Toronto's. I was looking UP to see Jerome Dye. LOL! I really liked it- felt like I was ON the field, compared to most parks. BTW, LOVED the bathrooms, food stand choices etc. too. I had Garlic Fries at this game and he had a bunch of stuff. We were surrounded by chili cheese hot dogs things that you needed a fork, knife, spoon combo to eat. They were huge and also looked delicious.

    I will continue the tale of this LOOOOOOONG game and then out to our late, late Elliot's dinner in the next post.

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    Very much liked Safeco. Since viewing about 3 or 4 now of the very newest (like Milwaukee, for instance)- I find that all of the newest seem to have that "little bit too big" feel to them. But Safeco has a LOT of room too in foul territory- so the field itself IS proportional to scale, as well. Not the case, in many newer ball parks. It also has great location to the football field, and the shoreline and the transit. I love that you can view it from downtown and that all told- the entire isn't outside of human scale to distance from the city center or core, as it is in many larger cities. Not just larger in population cities, but more so in their surface size- the much farther spread out or with higher density within that spread cities.

    This stadium and Baltimore's, IMHO, are the two which use the placements and logistics to the entire rest of the city- the best.

    My sons don't like the least graduant scale done within those lower seat sections, as Safeco has. But I do. It makes the sight lines actually farther in measurable distance to the players, but wider in scope- for the whole.

    In physical actuality, Safeco reminds me of U.S. Cell the most in its entire restaurant/drink venue and bathroom lay out logistics aspects. Those are placed very similarly and are both extremely more user friendly than many, many other ball parks-even some of the new ones.

    Before we went to this 3:40pm start game- we also explored Pioneer Square area. Lots of walking. I had forgotten to mention.

    Well, too long to tell- but the Sox lead the entire 8-1/2 innings and for most of the game 3-0 or 3-1. But Bobby Jenks gave two solo homers up in the ninth (this is the 2nd game this year I have attended when he has done that)and so we went to the 10th. And the 11th, and the 12th, and the 13th (which had Sox runners on 1st and 3rd and we still never got anyone around). We sat next to a Japanese young woman and her Dad (I think- SO thought it was her boyfriend- I didn't). Anyway- very, very little English- everything they had to read was in Japanese- including one of the same tour books I had in English. She tried to pay for two Berry-k-bob thingees with $22.50 instead of $11.50. And the guy almost ran away with the money. But I got him to give her the $11 back and then they were our big buddies. And in the 13th Ichiro was within about 20 feet trying to get a foul ball and this girl nearly had a heart attack. She was screaming so loud "Ichiro, Ichiro" and laid on the seats in front of us and took a picture and then dropped her camera into that row before us- and the entire crowd got fairly rowdy. But they were all fun and not smart talky or anything. Just very, very few people talking to each other- but most did follow the dance or song or whatever of the moment. There was a GREAT group that went from about 10 to grow to about 50 that took over the upper deck outfield highest seats and started to do entire routines. We were right across from them and they were very appreciated. They were put on the electronic screen and even did statuemaker when the music stopped.

    Well we all know who won the game with yet another hit, and it wasn't the Sox.

    We left and it was MUCH later than we thought and we had disagreement about eating dinner. I was very hungry, he wasn't so much. I wanted one of the Tom Douglas places, he didn't (after walking and reading the menus at THREE OF THEM)-we ended up walking back to the waterfront and going to Elliot's. It was LATE, very crowded and we only got seats RIGHT NEXT to the long Oyster Bar on a real fluke, I think.
    Anyway, others were waiting everywhere- and possibly didn't want to be in the moving servers that much- but I liked it.
    Serving clams and oysters since I've been a little girl- I still never saw so many different names/types/shapes etc.

    I ended up getting a 4 seafood mix over angelhair and he got the special- which was a fried oysters and whipped potato combo thing. Drinks and dinner were all excellent. And the crowd was very, very lively. High noise.

    Replete we walked back to Mayflower and slept like the dead.

    Next day coming up- the bus system and Woodland Park Zoo. And traipsing places that held more local Seattlites than tourists.

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    Dayenu, I just got emailed from one of my neighbors. Right next door, perchance. And he says he has Ken and I on tivo at the Mariners game- the long one- on one of the foul ball plays.

    I sure hope it isn't the one where I ducked because I thought the Japanese man with the glove (one of the couple I just posted earlier today about)was going to catch it. He put the glove up backwards and the girl just in front of him ended up getting it on the chair back bounce. We were right by at least 5 foul balls.

    And I should explain the title. As I am more than 3/4ths of the way through, I should by now.

    Everywhere I went to get the nibbles from the Pike Place vendors or whatever- gelato, Russian piroshky (Piroshky-Piroshky!!- You would have loved it)- I also asked if they had coffee. (We only went to the coffee shops separately one time.) And everywhere I went the girl (it was always a girl- and quite very young) would say "We only have drip"- it a rather sad voice. And I would say. "THAT'S FINE!!" (Don't like Starbucks or hugely strong coffee.) And that got to be the joke.

    He would say. "Oh oh, don't get food there, they only have drip." LOL!

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    I am so happy that you two had such a wonderful time in beautiful Seattle, JJ5, and I love reading your trip report! You sure got around Seattle and didn't waste a minute. Drip coffee..always better than Starbuck's coffee which I can't stand.

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    These Piroshky were good ones, Dayenu. I've had ones that were not- as well. Normally I don't like them either. Both of us had Washington apple wrapped- and he also had the cheese, green onion, potato, beef roll combo.

    That was actually one of the "drip only" vendors, at least the 3rd or the 4th one.

    Every time we passed the market from transport to room or merely walking to eat dinner, or whatever- I always and each time got a white Nectarine. They were divine. Expensive, but divine.

    There was one corner czar (isn't that the word right now) who was exactly like the fruit nazi as in comparison to Seinfeld's soup nazi. He would scream at anyone who got close to his mangos and yet stuck them out into the very narrow byway. I think it was a strange kind of selling technique.
    His nectarines were just as good, but I bought them from the other guy, because everyone he wrapped something for he lectured to on how they were killing it before they ate it.

    I also bought 2 huge fresh pepper variety "art work" hanging entities (I have no idea what you call them). I've kept one and it is hanging by my indoor herb garden and I gave the other to my daughter who has it hanging outside yet on her wrap around porch. This was no easy feat as they filled a packed box that filled my entire carry on- and which lay beneath my feet all the way home. The pepper man showed me how to lacquer it to keep the color, if I'd like to do that. I haven't decided yet.

    Also on that same street leading to the Market they are drilling a core sample- just like a well and were several 100 feet down. SO was a pest. Every time we passed he would ask what level etc. He is well-mad, ever since he drilled his own in MI.

    Tomorrow I'll post the vast wanderings on the bus system which I never understood. The beautiful, beautifully planted and well done habitat zoo at Woodland- and a couple of far to middling city bus stories.

    And will also detail more about the Mayflower, the street people, and the overall memories of Seattle on the way home. And only a drop of rain and 1 semi-cloudy minute as we got into the cab to return home too. Nothing of gloom at all.

    And you know, Love Italy, their drip coffee by 4 or 5 names and shops was basically very good- it didn't need an apology at all.

    See you tomorrow at Bacco's for a divine breakfast.

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    I so wish I could join you for breakfast tomorrow..a divine breakfast sounds wonderful! I haven't been back to Seattle since I lost my husband. We use to take a car trip every year or at least once every two years to BC, Canada and so of course we also spent time in Seattle on the way up and on the way back. A special city and one I love. Enjoy your breakfast!

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    And that is how the next morning started. With a divine breakfast at Bacco.

    I had the Eggs Benedict Florentine and he had the Eggs Benedict Crab/Avocado. EXCELLENT! Thanks for all the Bacco rec's. And the people watching at the outside cafe was fabulous, as well. This was the best egg dish I ever had- just beating out the variety I had in Toronto by a smidgen. But the fresh peppers, squash, spinach under this one was perfect.

    After that we walked the short distance to 3rd and Pine to get the #5 bus- which another bus driver had pointed out to us the day before. Every one of these prime downtown bus stops has about 3 to 6 different routes on it and some of those with the same numbers are locals and some are express.

    We get on and the bus driver practically dived to cover the money slot with his body. (Here come a bunch of tourists with money in hand, and I can't give it back to them if they put it in!) A fellow traveler said they would point out the zoo stop for us. This ride we needed to pay when we got off and we never did get a ticket or transfer (which I was told by the returning bus driver- was a mistake). Anyway it was a crowded but nice ride with numerous, numerous turns (as far as we could see the bus routes are seldom straight shots)-and also good new views and perspectives. We saw a different angle to Queen Anne's hill area than from the boat. Also we saw several neighborhoods with the straight up and down housing that is never a city possible type of issue in the flatter Midwest. Lots of walkouts- or yards "over" or under a neighbor's house. Single housing in much smaller lot size density than even the most dense row houses or bungalows in Chicago too, for an instance of comparison.

    The zoo was about 20 to 30 minutes ride away. We get off and enter. No lines, no crowd- very weather perfect day. Only downside is that we need to pay because they say my GoCard has run out- and in actually it had not. One of those things that will be rectified eventually, I think. I have found that one of the biggest negatives to getting "stuff" online is that the programing mistakes are only "caught" when it is too late for the buyer. The cards said 3 day but were only loaded for two.

    We see the zoo's schedule and plan our walk around the Raptor show at 2:30pm (we are Brookfield Zoo members and raptor docents of the past). And we enjoy. The plantings and scaling within the habitat landscapes are spectacular. There are also large grass areas where people sun on blankets or lay out to read or whatever. It was an exquisite and shady zoo. We saw it all. But the penquins (new) were especially interesting as I recognized some of our Brookfield who have moved west. There are some from Portland, St.Louis too.

    The big cats' habitats were especially well done. And although the gorilla population (two groups)had probably less space overall here at Woodland, it was more natural, especially in weather and plant contact- than the huge Brookfield ape complex is.

    The raptor show was a 9 out of 10. We saw at least 4 species of owl or hawk do their thing. And I had at least 20 minutes with the docent and her American Kestrel, all to myself. That little beauty would have had Sydney for lunch.

    Part of this afternoon I read in the sun while he messed with various elephants or zebra or feed giraffes or whatever.

    We had a small snack and left to return. The bus stop wait was fairly long and the ride was packed. We were widely separated and between us- a lady played out a huge and sobbing 20 minute begging routine for nearly the entire trip. And she got off just before downtown- and then laughed and said goodbye to the bus driver. She must have been a regular.

    We saw many street people. Some begging, some sleeping on the sidewalk. Many street musicians- most were very good and they have timed out spots, and also would have a donation hat or bucket. And on this Friday night- after about 9:30pm or so the sidewalks became just packed. Any clubs had young people covering the streets in front of them. And areas- just 1 block from Macy's had wall to wall females- all dressed- and young waiting against the walls.

    Which leaves me at a good point to do the overall Seattle feel. Which is a young, young one. Very young. Even with maybe 20 or 25% of us boomers always visible. And upcoming. With all the best ahead of it, and not behind it. With also an intense overlying work ethic (strong Asian influence on this is everywhere imbedded)coupled with palatable positivity! Not to say that there isn't also a very youngish and naive kind of pause in the air when grime reality occurs too- though. Almost as if they are surprised. That was truly refreshening.

    Conclusion later.

    On this last day I think I heard "sorry, we have drip only" at least three times that one day. And also, as I always say black coffee- they still ask if I need any room in the top to add cream. Never had that asked in any other city? Even in serious coffee cities!

    And how could I forget. Because I saved the receipt.

    In the zoo, the very crowded counter girl gave me my money back (I had 2 dollars and 46 cents on the counter)- taking the 46 cents and giving me the $2 back.

    She told me that the 46 cents was the total because I got the Senior Citizen's discount. I didn't ask or even know of its existence.

    So in Sarasota they first ask, and in Seattle they first give it to me without asking.

    Another kind of landmark!

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    JJ5 - I enjoyed reading your report. It was very well done. Seattle is one of my favorite cities to visit (Ready for the cliche? But I wouldn't want to live there). It sounds as if you saw much of what it has to offer.

    I'll be reading this again as I'm preparing for my northwest US trip next summer.

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    Thank you, dwooddon, mms and many others had helped me with lots of detail information. It makes all the difference in time and location choices without a lot of searching or dithering time. So if one thing didn't work out (like the Aquarium, which we entered but it had huge groups of kids and we could see the timing wasn't right amongst other things)-we could always switch to plan b or c immediately.

    After the zoo, we walked, ate (Pink Door- GOOD) and ended at night with an ice cream binge (in the Market, as well). Later (after 10pm) we walked out to get some pop (him- not me- he just can't do straight water and I'll never know why)- and we saw a different level of street activity on that Friday night, as noted.

    We left early Saturday and that was the only rain- looking at Seattle upon the drive to the airport- you couldn't see the mountains and it could have been at home near the railroads or anywhere on the SE side- near IN- I could have been looking at- as we have that low fog gloom around the construction equipment and storage towers etc. exactly in the same way- in the Middle of the country. Seattle is no gloomier at all or rainer- than most anywhere in the middle of the continent.

    And I always love areas that have water all around- which is not unlike parts of MI- either. Except all the water is fresh water in MI. And like Seattle- there too- sometimes you can see it but you can't get to it, without some kind of boat, bridge or airplane.

    There is a running email that goes around constantly that generalizes on all the cliches to location and typical responses from different parts of the USA of citizens after vacationing. And the one that is the most typical of the Midwest is exactly the response that truly does fit this Seattle city vacation- though. And so as a typical Midwesterner I can truly and honestly say. "It sure was different." Very, actually!

    But that's also truly not a bad thing, but quite the opposite.

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    JJ5--Bacco's is my favorite breakfast spot, glad you enjoyed it as well! I really like the zoo, but will never forget chaperoning a kindergarten class there...and the raging headache from the bus ride, lol:) I like the Pink Door too...very good lasagne and cioppino there. Meant to comment earlier too, about Oliver's. One year after the Seattle Marathon, my friend and I were starving so went there as it was dead in the middle of the day, but we could sit and just let our feet/legs rest. We didn't want to get up at all. We both commented that it was so nice to be able to do that. I really miss living up there, but am glad we have excuses to go back often:) Your trip sounds like it was fun, but yeah, it definitely is gloomier in the winter. September is actually one of the best times of year.

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    September is one of the best months of the year in IL, IN, MI as well. You can't judge all by that month, I know.

    One gentleman said to me "See Mt. Rainer? Good! Come next month and you won't see it until March."

    But we have lots and lots of gloomy weather too. But one of my favorite times is being up at the lake in the rain. Love the water changes!

    Yes, I lOVED LOVED Bacco's.

    Thank you, mms.

    We love zoos. We have been to many, many zoos in many different places. Aquariums too. Even in Italy. LOL!

    This small zoo is really, REALLY nice. Not just in advanced placements to barricade and structure- but to overall use of the natural, especially plants and all kinds of vegetations' textures, not just flowers or the usual bushes or trees.

    They don't have "all" the animals, but what they do have, they do house correctly. They also are one of maybe only 10 or so that truly are trying to maintain populations of genetic diversity, despite being somewhat on the "losing" side to popular individual exhibit loss.

    The entire Mayflower first floor is a real killer for people watching, actually. Because of the rather hidden entrance/exit to Westlake and all of those different funky elevations (stairs that sometimes lead to nowhere)- when they had private functions or business or whatever- lots of "stuff" was rather just "out there". In tight spaces too. We were surrounded by some delightful tourists from the UK in great groups of 30 to 50 for the last 3 days we were there. And they were very, very funny/witty. And the doormen staff- I got to know one or two by name. And which knew the bus or mono or subway routes and which didn't. One knew the underground totally on. He even told us how to get off and go right into Macy's before coming up. But I still couldn't get the SO to buy a new shirt. LOL! I did get him to look for at least 15 minutes.

    On the last day, waiting for the cab- one of the most famous street people came by to do his act. The doormen said he comes about every third day. When he came- all 3 of them come into the lobby and don't stay outside until he leaves. I asked why???? They said if they stay out, he never leaves.

    But what he does (a 50 something with a pony tail in the back-no hair on top and his big guitar on his back in a huge case???)- is stand there and sing (without the instrument)"The Star-Spangled Banner" in a loud screaming voice. And then when he is finished he points to all the doormen inside the door and shouts, "And don't you forget it."

    And I saw the entire thing. That's exactly what he did.

    The doormen told me that he does 10 hotels a day on rotation.

    Oliver's sounds great right now, actually.

    If I moved from there, I would miss the flower market the most. The entire time I thought of my daughter. She was a florist for quite some time. She would LOVE it. Such bunches at such prices and the aroma in the AIR. Dahlias, Sunflowers, Mums- lots and lots of Sunflowers when we were there.

    And that entire Market is precious. We had one that was much rougher but equivalent. And instead of making it would it could have been- they did the domain thing- ripped out Maxwell St. Market and the Italian neighborhood completely and build the U. of I. and two medical centers and also huge expressway off ramps. It was were most of the railroads in the USA came together, amongst other things.

    People (women actually) did the hungry strike thing and much more when it happened. It little mattered. They could have put the U.of I. and the others nearly anywhere else within 20 miles, on top of it. Now, some even admit that fact.

    So going through Pike Place Market SO reminded me of my days working at 322 S. Green and having Maxwell St. there for lunch. And shopping on Sundays- and getting Polish dogs and all the same kinds of food that Pike Place Market offers.

    Pike Place Market actually made me jealous.

    Instead where I live they took our market and left us a legacy of gutted blocks and collapsed miles of ruin and praires within a city, cut off from anything else by expressway walls.

    Say it isn't so, Joe.

    Flowers, fish, fruit, and breads. Aromas! But we had the smoldering onions always, as well- on top of all those.

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    Great trip report, JJ5. We loved Woodland Park Zoo between feeding the giraffes and seeing Komodo dragons. Incidentally, your membership at your home zoo may get you in free to zoos in other cities. Ask your membership office for a list.

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    What a marvelous read; it's so nice to see one's own city through the lens of a sophisticated and savvy visitor.

    I am a Seattleite who loves Chicago (but... cliche, wouldn't want to live there, but maybe that has something to do with the presence of an ex-wife there ;).) The city's muscular charm, its remarkable architectural heritage, its ethnic diversity... I never tire of it. So back at ya.

    Thanks again for a terrific report.

    Oh, just a note. The Seattle architectural firm that designed Safeco also designed the new stadium in Milwaukee. Might be interesting to run up there some day to do a comparo. I thought your comments on Safeco's design were really perceptive.

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    Safeco and Miller are definitely very similar in design. I liked Safeco better but not by much. I felt that the slide in LF in Miller took away from the stadium a little bit. I realize that its a tradition for the Brewers but I could have done without it. Plus Safeco has a better view outside.

    Your trip report definitely made me want to get back to Seattle.

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    Don't know what my next city will be right now. Possibly Texas at Arlington or L.A. or returning to SF for Oakland. If I was retired I would love to do Angels/Dodgers (back to back) and Oakland too with a drive in between (two different years that has been possible and I couldn't go because of family logistics/elderly etc.). Some year, if I live that long- but doubt it will be soon- we will do a longer West Coast baseball trip in August or Sept. Too expensive though from where we are, unless planned WAY ahead. The Eastern cities (and definitely everything in the middle- even the mountain or ski country)always end up being a whole lot cheaper for some reason, even NYC was. I also have to see the new MN hell-hole dome, I guess- on a drive combo maybe while visiting lots of friends living in WI now.

    Actually, maybe next year we'll try to drive to a NL interleague game. I am SO mad I had to miss Pittsburg this year. And I would LOVE to get back to St. Louis too to see the new one, still haven't.

    Lee Ann, RISTA. Now, I know their name. Mine is fabulous- like the first- but with huge ROUND red peppers in the middle and LONG yellow ones at the bottom. It's already starting to dry a bit- so I have to spray it this weekend or not at all. I think I will. LOVE them. You always teach me something. Rista, I will remember that. They are objects I could make myself with a good crop.

    5alive, we know this. And it has OFTEN gotten us into zoos straight away. It got us into zoos in TN and KY and even in D.C.- but this time she looked at all her lists and no go- we were not in the same consortium. That was ok, though- it never hurts to ask.

    Gardyloo, guess what. CHICAGO- I wouldn't want to live there, EITHER. And have been trying to get my father out for over 50 years, lol! And myself, got out- but not far enough. I could use a line from "The Godfather"- "they always pull me back in" somehow.

    Just yesterday at my workplace there was a general serendipity discussion after a meeting (we were talking about my city vacations) between about 12 people- various ages- and I was flabber-ghasted that only 2 out of 12 (I am one) EVER GO into Chicago or deem to go into Chicago or desire to ever go into Chicago or have been into Chicago for over 20 years. 1 person hasn't gone into Chicago for 40 years. And they all live probably within 20 to 40 miles away from State & Madison. And about half (my SO is one)despise the place for all kinds of valid reasons, not the least for being used like a rug and getting nothing at all back but continual prison sentences and fraud- for the county or state taxes (huge). Downstaters within 80 miles- this ire and indifference even increases. And people like myself. I still go- but not often- as the user friendly aspects on 3 or 4 counts are MORE difficult (but not the train) and more expensive and rather exclusionary (public venues/stuff closed for private parties is getting absolutely obnoxious) every single year. Plus our tradition and vast historic base icons have been trashed in huge number. State Street "that great street" in particular. We have a new boss and they are all- many departments- trying to convince her to move FARTHER away from Chicago- instead of to Oak Park, where she is looking. And I think she is going to listen.

    But even now, Chicago IS a hell of a place to visit. Parts of Chicago, that is- and not always the parts most "understood" as the most easily visitable either, IMHO. And then there are vast parts that are just plain hell.

    I did NOT know that it was the same architect (Miller/Safeco)-the duct work and overhang and a few other strong similarities- I should have know. Miller is so much more brown (color rather throws me)- and the roof is so more "visible"/intrusive for some reason- even open. I like Safeco better. And I don't like that slide either. And DESPISE playground parks in the stadium (like the Tigers have)or any proximity or mixture of such contraptions.
    Love the waterfalls or water fountains (KC and others)- and kid friendly sports related venues (many have them- like THE FUNDAMENTALS at the Cell)- but no play parks. Kids have enough to learn and do in a baseball park without needing to be further entertained or distracted. If they don't, then they should go to a playground, instead of a M.L.B. ball park.

    I'm not big on mascot animal statues that are 30 feet tall either. I'd rather they do historic baseball figures or whatever. Less Disneyland, more baseball. Or just a motif- like the "Birdland" flags in the Ravens/Orioles neighborhood.

    Garyloo, Chicago HAD muscle. Now it has mere bumps from doing isotonics. LOL! But what you say is true- it's just too bad it's big shoulders now shrug with a "who me, lift" gesture and an Alfred E. Neuman facial expression.

    I'm still thinking about Seattle. Just this morning I mentioned twice to SO before I left (we are on a house fixing spree and cars too- so he was up at 6:45am also- a miracle)- that all I would like is for at least 1/3rd of the people (including one who is my offspring)- to have the attitude that I saw with so many young people in Seattle. As the darling youth who made my last great ice cream sundae- end glut in the Market. He had his jar that had a little hand written sign on it- "Tips- pray for me- I was an English Major"- and I did tip him. I told him my son has M.S. in S.Sc./History and we laughed (he told me to give the tip to him- because that's even worse). But I didn't.

    There was hustle with a smile in majority. And a nearly universal concept/attitude of the "normalcy" or accepted trust and eventuality of individuals' physical safety occurring as rote. And that really was refreshening.
    Just more doers than users. AHHHHHH !

    Thanks everyone- I sure am glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed the memories and will for as long as I have one.

    And as an end- I give the Seattle Mariners baseball crowd a 10 on politeness and about a 6 on self-identity. And about a 4 or 5 on gregariousness. I don't think they have quite found themselves yet, but they are well on the way. Let's just hope they evolve into a Toronto or a K.C. or a S.Louis- and don't go all the way to Boston, NYC dementia, or Cubs' Alzheimers.

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    ...I give the Seattle Mariners baseball crowd a 10 on politeness and about a 6 on self-identity. And about a 4 or 5 on gregariousness.

    Seattle's local culture is a near-perfect blend of Norwegian passion and Japanese openness.

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    Oh, Gardyloo, I could never have stated it better. You really are priceless.

    My SO was SHOCKED at the diversity level there!! NOT! We come from a truly diverse environment, regardless of the what that particular word has warped to mean now.

    There is a strong and lively Ichiro culture to observe (even the music and electronics reflect that affection- but they did OK by Lopez too- his music was great). Now they just have to swing the enthusiasm to the whole and keep it there, win or lose.

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    Gardyloo: "Seattle's local culture is a near-perfect blend of Norwegian passion and Japanese openness."

    LOL! That's the funniest remark I've read this morning! Thanks for the chuckle!

    JJ5: What a great Travel Report! I've been going to Seattle since Mt Rainier was visible all day every day (except when it rained). Great to revisit with your unique view of this terrific city!

    come back to the West Coast soon!

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    JJ5, Minnesota's new stadium is not a dome. Its an open-aired stadium. I view this as a tremendous mistake but hopefully it works out. the Red Sox open it next year. I will not be going to that one.

    The one I am targeting is driving to Cleveland thru NY and Pittsburgh (going to Citi Field, PNC Park (Been there before)) and then to Cleveland for 4 (probably go to 2 of them) Red Sox games. On the way back, hit a Yankees game.

    Not sure if you had seen the 2010 White Sox schedule, but they go to Pittsburgh next year.
    http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=cws&m=6&y=2010

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    Oh, tchoiniere, I had NO idea- about TWO OF YOUR DETAILS. How could the new MN be open??? Baseball in the snow? LOL!

    Anything has to be better than that old one though.

    Cleveland is nice, we've been there.

    OH, I had not looked at the next year's schedule. Pittsburgh during the week and Wshington Nationals to follow on the weekend in mid-June. (Pier would already be in- garden too.) Hmmmm! It is SO much easier to do trips in August or Sept.

    Regardless, I definitely will get to Pittsburgh somehow, even if it is a 3 day fly trip. And will do a quick google or two to see if driving to D.C. is possible and flying home from there. Or if the guy and his vehicle are up to the round about drive to be gone a full 7 or 8 days.

    Oh, my favorite vacations are drive vacations too. Better start saving and work even longer though.

    Thanks. I think I purposely put off looking at the schedule
    for a number of complex reasons. 2010 is scaring the hell out of me. Reminds me of a Abba song "Money, Money, Money".

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    Dayenu, I would LOVE to come back by you. Anytime the Sox play the Giants or if we go to Oakland- I am absolutely there.

    Now, watch (because I haven't looked at the whole schedule yet)- watch them be at the Giants too next year when they do the other interleague play period.

    And people really say they have nothing to do when they retire? That always slays me. Dayenu, I'll be the poor old lady with a backpack.

    I wonder if I can talk him into a happytrailstoyou type sleep-in recreational vehicle that is used and yet reliable. That is no lol, I am truly not kidding.

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    Reading the other Seattle question on the boards right now I forgot something.

    Thank you, bardo, for your Serious Pie rec.

    Very good- very light- and we hit it at the perfect time too.

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    TOO MANY CHOICES!

    Looked at the whole 2010 schedule.

    We actually play two games at ATLANTA in April (Opening Day)- groannnnnn.

    Well, I know I sure am not going to drive there. Nor would I go in July or August.

    So that is 3 hard to pick from choices.

    Dayenu, if I hit a great SF Southwest fare- that could be one clincher.

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