Seattle was great! I had so much fun. When I arrived on Thursday, Eryka and I went for a walk to Discovery Park near her home. Part of the property used to be a military base, so there were some interesting things to see, but by far, the views of the Puget Sound and the mountains was the best part! The not so great part? Yeah, that would be the mountains. I guess Seattlers call them hills, but coming from the great plains, I would tend to call them mountains. Or maybe they are hills, and the things we have here in Chicago are bumps or something. Anyway, my legs were not used to climbing these "hills." They are steep! And all of Seattle is one hill after another- and they are all uphill! I am not joking! Even the names of Seattle's "neighborhoods" reflect is: Magnolia Hill (where Eryka lives), Queen Anne Hill (where we went out later that night), Capitol Hill (where some friends of Eryka's live)... It took my legs a few days of "normal" terrain (ie- Chicago flatness) to stop aching.
Thursday night, Eryka and I joined her boyfriend, Brandon, and his brother, Sal (who is from New Jersey) for dinner. We went for Thai which is some sort of staple for Seattlers (there is a Thai place on every corner.) Then we headed out to Chopsticks, a "dueling piano bar." We had a blast! The place was so fun... AND they played the songs I requested (Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot and I Want You to Want Me by Cheap Trick.) On the way to Chopsticks we stopped at the Melting Pot so that I could get a chocolate-chip martini, my favorite sweet drink. Sadly, they didn't know what it was, even though the Melting Pot in Schaumburg is the only place I've ever had one (they are different from a chocolate martini, I promise.) They also had never heard of a pomegranate martini. Bummer. After we got tired of Chopsticks we went to another place to sing karaoke. Somehow we didn't actually sing anything, but Eryka and I ditched the boys for a while and went to the grocery store! (I have this great picture of me with a lime that I can't seem to upload. Guess you'll just have to click on my Flickr badge and see the rest of my Seattle pics there.)
Friday we got up and rode the ferry to visit Eryka's mom, Dawn, in Southworth. This was the first time I had ever been on a ferry, and it was really not as exciting as I thought it would be.
Dawn's house was exactly how I thought it would be; if I had been put into the house without knowing who it belonged to, my first (and probably only) guess would be Dawn. The lovely thing about Seattle is that there is always something blooming, and her little home was surrounded by all sorts of pretty colors, accentuated by the deep green of the lush land. Her front yard extends all the way down to the Sound, and the view is just beautiful. Before we headed home, we went for a walk on the shore and stopped at the neighborhood coffee shop called "Smoker's Only." This was my first taste of non-Starbucks coffee in Seattle.
Friday evening we got hoochied up and went out dancing with a group of friends at Tiki Bob's. Normally this would not have really been my sceen, but one of the pluses is that in Seattle, there is no smoking allowed indoors. This meant my lungs could handle being in the bar. The second thing going for it was that it was really crowded, so we totally could dance and make fools of ourselves, and no one would notice.
The whole "no one would notice" thing got blown out of the water, however, when I found myself dancing on the bar! This was NOT my idea, but looking back, it was fun and I am glad I did it. It also helped that if you dance on the bar the house buys you a shot- and so do other people. Again, shots are not normally my thing, but Eryka introduced me to the quintessential Seattle shot, the Washington Apple, and I only have one thing to say... yum!
Tiki Bob's closed at 2 when the entire state of Washington must stop serving liquor. Yeah, that was a strange one. The state operates all the liquor stores, and with the exception of beer and wine, you must buy all your liquor at these state-operated stores. Wired. Anyway, because they stop serving at 2am, the whole city seems to shut down then... Except for the water-and-soda-only after-hours dance clubs. We hit Pheonix, and it was just fun to keep dancing!
Saturday we slept in then headed to a place called Mom's for breakfast. This was in the U-District. We did a lot of shopping there and we each got a half-hour massage (my poor legs needed it after all the hills and the dancing!) The U-District is home to all of the major colleges in Seattle (hence the name the University (U) District) so the entire area just has a young and fun feeling to it. We hit a few resale shops which contained several strange things and we also went to Pike Place Market (home of the flying fish.) They have absolutely everything at this market, not to mention the first-ever Starbucks!
Saturday night we headed to the Irish Emigrant, the bar where Eryka works. It is a cool place with a chill setting, and everyone seems really nice. It is in the U-District, so the crowd was pretty young. It was fun. Afterwards we headed to Brandon's house to play games. I know it sounds funny, but the man is a game developer, so he has a LOT of games at his house.
It had rained Satuday for the first time since I had been in Seattle. I know everyone talks about the rain in Seattle, but I would not exactly call it rain. Yes, it is moisture that falls from the sky, but it is more like "sprinkling" than raining. It kind of seems like the sky has started to leak- like a 1000 kitchen sink faucets are in the sky and they are slowly leaking. It's definitely not rain like we get in Chicago!
Sunday we slept in before heading to Fremont (another Seattle neighborhood) for some final sight-seeing. One of the most interesting things about Fremont is the rock-stacker. There is this guy that just stacks rocks. As you can see, it must take a lot of time and talent (and a steady hand) to get them to do this:
Don't know about you, but I'm impressed!
Much too soon it was time to head back to the airport and into un-seasonally balmy Chicago. As the first vacation I have taken in a long time, those few days of fun and frivolity were priceless. Everyone keeps asking me what the best part of my trip was; besides this it was definitely this:
Love you, Eryka! Thanks for having me out!