Thursday, August 6, 2009

Greetings from Seattle!

We landed at SEATAC around 8pm Monday night. Seattle has a new light rail system operated by Sound Transit. Although they have not finished the section that connects directly to the airport (due in Dec’09), there is a free bus service to the nearest station in Tukwila, which only takes about 10 minutes. From there it’s a direct train to the end of the line at Westlake Center in downtown Seattle, which costs only $2.50 and takes about 30min. It’s a quick transfer upstairs to the Monorail for a $2.00/2min ride to Seattle Center (home of the Space Needle, Experience Music Project, and more), which is a few blocks from our hotel. We are staying at The Mediterranean Inn in Lower Queen Anne. It’s a great location as we can walk into downtown Seattle in about 45min via Belltown, or take a 10-15min $2 bus ride or the Monorail. We’re just a few blocks inland from Puget Sound and the hotel has a roof deck with Adirondack-style chairs and 360° views. The hotel is set up for extended stays so all rooms have a small kitchenette. We have a studio on the first floor with a ceiling fan but no air conditioning. Yes, they had record-breaking high temps out here last week, but we timed it just right and the days have been mostly sunny & beautiful with highs in the mid 70's and lows in the 50’s. There’s a nice Safeway grocery store across the street and a wide variety of restaurants within a 2-3 block radius: Mexican, Thai, Greek, Indian, Italian, sushi, Dick’s (a late night burger & shake place), an Irish pub, and assorted other fast food or more formal places like The Melting Pot. There’s a Starbucks in our building as well as a couple of nice independent coffee shops up the block. There are plenty of banks nearby and the post office is a block away, along with nail/hair salons, independent bookstores, and pretty much anything else you could need or want. On Tuesday after work, we walked downtown and strolled Pike Place Market, stopped for a beer at Pike Brewing, then hiked three blocks uphill (who knew Seattle was like San Francisco?!?!) to the Central Library. After taking in the view from the 9th floor, I applied for a library card and checked out a few books. Then we walked back downhill to the waterfront and along the piers to our dinner destination, The Crab Pot. By coincidence, we were watching the Travel Channel this past weekend and they aired an episode of Man vs Food filmed in Seattle. So, of course, we took notes and fully intend to eat at all three of the restaurants they featured. The first on the list for us was The Crab Pot, where you order a seafood feast for two, tie on a bib, and then eat your steamed halibut/salmon/crab/mussels/oysters/shrimp/andouille sausage/potatoes/corn (which they dump on the table in front of you) with your hands, a mallet, and a small fork. We also ordered a pitcher of Alaskan Amber. It truly was a feast and the quality & quantity of food was amazing!Yesterday we stayed in the hood and had Thai for lunch and Greek for dinner. We also did more extensive grocery shopping as it is not in our budget (nor do I want) to eat out for every meal. We are still formulating our plans for further evening & weekend activities, so stay tuned for the results in future updates.

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