Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Training to Seattle: The Touristy Things

Before we could go to Seattle there were a couple more clients to visit in the south sound. We drove back to Tacoma from Olympia to visit the  Glass Museum before Mrs Elliott met with the day's first client at Indochine restaurant. She reports that it is a fine restaurant. While they were lunching on exotic foods, I was parked at the Harmon pub for pub food and a glass (or two) of wine. Nice pub, perfectly cromulent.

Then a brief stop in Bellevue for the final businessy meeting.

Since we didn't have a place in Seattle to stay, I remained in the car while Mrs Elliott visited her final client and plugged the address of a highly-regarded hotel, the Inn at the Market, into the GPS, figuring that that would get us downtown so we could scope out the situation. Meanwhile, Mrs Elliott asked her client where he'd recommend staying near the waterfront and he replied, "Inn at the Market."

So we parked in front the Inn at the Market and found they had an off-season deal, and the hotel was ideally-located next to the Pike Place Market and other shops, and looked great, so we booked a room for two nights.

And yeah, we did touristy things: visited the market, shopped the shops. I told Mrs Elliott that because she was being good that she could try on hats if she wanted. But only try, not buy. She completely ignored me and bought herself a new hat.
Looks pretty cute, too. 

We had quite good food in Seattle. A little French cafe next to the hotel was perfect for breakfast, and Etta's Seafood restaurant on Pike Place was delicious. The ling cod was extraordinary.

Downtown Seattle has its fair share of fearsome homeless and cracked-out street people. But the city and cops seem to have made it very clear that civilians are not to be frightened or hassled. No one pan-handled. Yeah, there was one scary-looking guy standing on the street shouting curses and threats, but he was pretty clearly lost in a delusion.

Making tourists feel safe is important, especially in a city like Seattle which is a destination for Chinese and Japanese people. Travel in America is viewed with a certain amount of fear -- we have a high-crime culture and physical crimes like robbery and muggings are far more common here than in Taiwan, mainland China, Hong Kong, and certainly Japan and Singapore. And scary black people in  tattered clothes panhandling or approaching could make your usual small group of Japanese tourists feel very nervous. But I saw none of that.

I spent some time trying to determine what it is that makes tourists look different from locals. Here are some of my conclusions:

  • Locals are usually alone, tourists travel in couples or brought the whole damn family along. 
  • Tourists rubberneck while walking, looking up at signs, into shops, scanning faces and landmarks, locals watch the ground in front of their feet. 
  • Tourists stop at intersections to regroup and decide where to go next, locals know where they are going. 
  • Tourists dress as though they are on safari, employing fanny packs and fisherman's pocketed vests for their travel tackle. Locals pack a wallet in a pocket. 
Here, some friendly gal took a shot of us in the Market. 
Puttering around Pike Place Market

Next: The Space Needle! And, Jack wears man pants at spa.

1 comment:

  1. Cute hat, Mrs. E.

    I like Seattle a lot. It has a vitality and vibrancy that's somehow missing from Portland. It just has the feel of a big city, know what I mean? And I enjoy that vibe ... though I wouldn't want to live there.


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