November 20, 2007

A Seattle Dash

Boarding the Cascades in Portland, we head out up the coast to Seattle. Nov. 2007.

G had the chutzpah to wear his flannel pajama’s down to his Hampton Inn breakfast where he joined the kahki clad businessmen and I. Smiling. By noon, we were climbing on board the single level, older green and tan Cascades cars heading to Seattle and laughing out loud into the silence of business class.

Yes, we waved at DA’s house and at Cee’s house as we passed. Then captivated by the green scenery, my daily journal notes…“Sloughs, river bottom, dykes, a quarry here and Christmas trees there. Miles of marsh then tiny towns with Victorian main streets.” The word “Rain” sits by itself at the top of one page. “Rain streaking the windows and making stripes in the grass as we pass the fast blown rain clouds.”

On time into Seattle, we found the glorious Beaux Arts station covered in wall board and sanitized into a Greyhound Bus station of the 1950’s. I was appalled until I noticed ceiling tiles pulled down and the entrance lobby fully restored. We vowed to document it later, and pushed out into the rain in search of a nice cabby to whip us to Thrifty RAC where a nice manager whipped us into our second Ford Focus along with written instructions and a Mapquest map to our hotel.

What more could we want.

There were ferry boat sightings on our way to sculpture sightings on the way to the hotel and it’s confusing parking. A warm dry room and dinner only a block from the hotel closed out our evening. The desk clerk had recommended two places to eat, and we tried the Thai our first night. I did the usual evening thing….write up the day, while G downloaded hundreds of pictures onto the laptop. Here we had Wi-Fi, however slow, and I was able to make an entry. We have found Wi-Fi is there but at dialup speeds. We’ve obviously become spoiled at home.

In the morning, more rain. Every day on this trip I was greatful for the wonderful warm, wool coat I found at the thrift store. This morning I tried buttoning it. I discovered the buttons were backwards and it had been a man’s coat. That didn’t make it any less magic in my eyes. Warm then to the Space Needle’s valet parking. Up we went in the first elevator load, and the city was below us.

The rain seemed to fly across the city on grey wings with wisps of sunshine following. We both grabbed our camera’s and leaned between the safety wires for images all the while mesmerized by this iconic structure in the sky.

With a meeting scheduled with our friend Dan at The Seattle Art Museum, (SAM), we couldn’t stay long. I whipped through the Gift Shoppe in the modernized base….no architectural history book on this structure. On to the museum. Which we found with no trouble at all….but no parking. The WaMu parking structure let us in, but there were no parking spaces. Hello….was there some confusion here? We went back through the exit and got a note so we could park in the two hour parking area without getting a ticket.

SAM was modern in that International architectural style that we all know so well now. Delightful Ford Taurus’s floating in the lobby. “Boring” says dear Bee, “I’ve seen to many of those.” I hadn’t, and even the lit gunshot lines seemed amusing to me this hick artist who is only tired of the International Style sterility.

No Dan. G phoned him. “I should have left half an hour ago,” he said. He was on the freeway. “I’ll be there shortly.”

We said we would meet him in the coffee shop where we ate artistic food….without him. Burned tasting soup, tiny hamburgers the size of silver dollars, and limp candied carrots sent us back out for another phone call.

“I’m so freaking lost I don’t know where I am but I’m near I-5 somewhere.”

We told him that we would be in the “Japan Envisions the West” exhibit where we were thrown off by the lack of clarity, muddied research, and limited items in the show. They did say that items in the show were to be rotated, so then again, who am I to say anything. They exhibited maps, fabrics, pottery and prints from early European, then 1800’s Dutch, and American sources. I left feeling that it wasn’t what they saw, but how they saw themselves in this outside world.

The prints were truly wonderful…always showing Japanese in Victorian dress. The fabrics caught my eye…their use of outside influence on things like the traditional kimono with star quilted blocks front and back. The fire protection gear as a traditional cape.

And Dan arrived. He had been unable to find a bathroom for his water pill need on time with disastrous results. The last half hour plus, he had been in a men’s room cleaning himself and drying off. How incredibly embarrassing, and how brave of him to continue on to see us. Two hours late.

We walked through the rest of the Japanese show, I disappointed, and we went briefly through the Galen Hansen show next door. Delightful images. Hansen focused, but I knew that. Amusing. Left me smiling. Good show. Personally I like a finished edge to work….Hansen worked through the era of stapling things to walls then showing them staple holes and all. I guess I am an art prude.

We abandoned the art and arty, with a brief moment of confusion when I tried to take a picture of him on the wrong floor, for the food again, and ate desert and coffee over talk and love. Somehow I felt as if I were standing outside looking in instead of a “part of.” As if I were unable to open up to all those many years of joy and pain I had shared. I was left with speculation.

Of course he and we had changed. This last special kindred spirit hadn’t adapted to change at all well. He was still himself, but he was a confused himself. A half there himself. Wet pants would do that, but still….he had been up here seventeen years and couldn’t find his way around. His wife sent a message saying she was sorry she couldn’t come in to see us. I was sorry too….for I know she has been his guiding light here. Without her he was very lost. Down in San Diego, he was confused but not lost.

From here, we found Pioneer Square, and G learned how to operate credit card parking. I let him.

We bought our tickets for the underground tour, wandered our way through a next door antique store filled with smalls, then began the tour. Why a tour? A thirty four block area had been leveled by fire. Grabbing this chance to eliminate a severe grade one group rebuilding the area washed away the hill above downtown and raised the streets one whole story. The other rebuilding effort reconstructed downtown as it was. Now they had a rebuilt downtown with streets one floor higher than the front doors.

Yes, dirty, moldy, boring if you are not an architecture addict. Up and down a lot of rickety stairs too. Fascinating to me not only for the architectural unprintable, but for the political boondock. I couldn’t believe they did that. As far as I was concerned, they could have led us through more of the underground blocks. For under the many blocks of Romanesque buildings lies another layer of Romanesque facades and Victorian rooms.

We were tired at the end of this. Done. We climbed back into our rental….G knew where it was, and headed back toward our hotel. I suggested we try the other place the clerk had given us…….another chance to try CC parking. And there we were, just a block from our hotel, in a crowded, noisy, happy pub that was filled with good smells. With a little wiggling, we found a table and partook of some of those good smells while ogling the McMenamins murals. It was an early download night for us as we needed to get up before dawn to return the rental and make the depot in time to document it before we left.

Duck: We will be visiting today after lunch.

Me: Put G’s pictures into Snapfish. Dogged, that’s me. Write, visit Duck, begin putting this and the f2f journal into some form of order. Call and see if I have a job.

G: The train is still moving for him, but he’s up and doing laundry already this morning. He’s done the checkbook, and we even have money left after paying for the trip. “Fine, fine, fine…” he says we are, “Fine” financially. Not like the last trip indeed.

1 comment:

  1. The panorama photo is fantastic: in the background sunlight shining on the multitudes of white boats, the rest dark grey and dismal.

    Wasn't that ceiling painting and lamp installation magical?


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...