Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Sleepless in Seattle

This narration is about my memorable visit last weekend to Seattle where my bro' Sameer stays.

I shall skip the plane part coz' to add to my air bound agony this time the seat next to me was empty. The only thing I would love to mention is the part when the plane was scheduled to leave at 9:25 although it departed half an hour late. The sole reason for this was that thr was some software glitch which was responsible for the problem. However as soon as the pilot announced that the engines need to be turned off due to some problem & that the maintenance staff was on the way the real fun rather chaos started. It was a mixed scenario
composed of disconcert and worried faces. I reached Seattle Tacoma International Airport popularly referred to SeaTac on time. I left to a wonderful suprise of seeing public transport ( all the aspects and with relevance to Texas) and had a wonderful ride home. I ate a bit & we left home imme. as the Bus was scheduled for that time.

We started with 'Ride the Ducks'. This is a amphibious vehicle which shows you Seattle from both land and water ! The hilarious, Coast Guard-certified Maritime Captains (Rusty Steele) took us on a fun-filled, musical tour of the City.
We saw Downtown Seattle, Pike Place Market, historic Pioneer Square, and funky Fremont, then SPLASHED into Lake Union for a spectacular view of the city skyline, luxurious yachts, the Kalakala Ferry, and Sleepless in Seattle Houseboats! (the one where Tom Hanks lived in the movie Sleepless in Seattle was also visible)

The trees had started to show the Fall colors and everything was scenic, lovely & exquisite. The adventure of exploring Seattle had started alongwith some 'Patelgiri' sophisticatedly called as 'photography'. The vehicle left us at the Space needle. Actually this was one of the first places we wanted to see. When you
think of Seattle, the Space Needle immediately comes to mind and it has been the symbol of Seattle since a long long time. This is something like a flying saucer on legs. Topping out at 605 ft. tall, the Space Needle offers the best views of the surrounding scenary, and there's plenty of that to go around !

The sight is awesome & wonderful. Fortunately, you can take a comfortable elevator ride to the top of the Seattle Space Needle. Those who prefer to walk, however, can look forward to 832 steps, from the basement to the restaurant. This restaurant is a revolving one and one of the main travel attractions of the city. At the top, it was nice & pleasant and the whole Seattle was at the blink of my eye. The Observation Deck is located at 520 feet and houses its own snack bars and small gift shop area. The famous, revolving "Sky City" restaurant
is slightly lower at 500 feet. I got outside in the observation deck only to find it really windy & rainy outside. So, I had to be contempt with some snaps and rush back inside. The alluring sight compelled us to click lots of great pictures. On
the ground floor I was overwhelmed by a thoughtful and well-stocked
gift shop with anything one can possibly imagine having to do with the
Space Needle!

Located around the Seattle Space needle were other places like the
Seattle Center
Experience Music Project
Science Fiction Museum & Hall of Fame
Pacific Science Center
McCaw Hall.

We returned home at around 9 but this was after having a nice dinner in Tawon Thai restaurant. I was treated to some authentic thai delicacies. (obviously, curry was a part of the order) At the end of such a eventful and wonderful day the only thing i wished for was to get a nice sound sleep. Consequently, I slept nicely for 12 hours which recharged my batteries only to start my next expedition at 12:30
p.m. on Sunday. (the day ends in the sense the sun sets at about 4:30 p.m. in Seattle)

We took another bus ride along the wonderful Lake Union headed to a popular place called the 'Ballard Locks'. Conceived as soon as the first white settlers came in the 1850s and finished in the 1930s, these two locks go up and down on a regular basis, letting pleasure craft, fishing boats and tour vessels through Puget Sound(salt waterbody) and the fresh water of Lake Union.. Crowds come here to see the boats, to watch the salmon using the fish ladder (and the sea
lions that come to eat them) and to stroll through the adjacent gardens. (This info. was given to us in a 12 minute movie they showed regarding Ballard Locks so that we are able to understand first what these 'Locks' were all about and then n'joy having a look at this). About 70,000 ships pass this point annually.

The Locks are the most popular destination along the Lake Washington Ship Canal. It was really exciting & astonishing to actually see it work. They were like 2 navigational locks alongwith a dam and spillway. It was really an amazing place and an amazing engineering feat. I was more amazed to see the great boats & vessel passing by. It is said that every person out of 6 people in Seattle owns one.

Alongside the Locks, we watched the salmon and trout journey up the fish ladder to complete their salt water to fresh water migration. We had lunch in a Mongolian rest. which was mostly noodles. The best part was it was unlimited and we had to pick up things according to our needs and 'creativity' and hand it over to them in 2 big bowls. They would stir fry it and serve it to us. We then had a glimpse of the University of Washington but were determined to reach in time for the next event on schedule for the evening.

On Sunday evening, i had the pleasure of being the part of a breath taking & mind boggling match between Seattle SuperSonics and San Antonio Spurs.

We got seats in the upper level and a magnificent view of the court. The noise, the crowd, the cheers, the free t-shirts, the players practicing, 'Tim Duncan & Ray Allen' everything was giving just the right blend to a great experience. The adrenaline had already started flowing as i was about to witness for the first time a live NBA match.

The cheerleaders need no introduction, description or comments I believe. However, apart from them thr were lot of things to look forward to. The concept like 'Kiss the Girl' and other such aspects made the game really interesting. The Flippers from Tennesse showcased some athleticism to provide me with some more opportunity of capturing other good snaps in my camera.

As far as the match was concerned it was Seattle all the way. Rashard Lewis scored 27 points and Danny Fortson chipped in 15 and 13 rebounds as the SuperSonics held Tim Duncan in check in a 113-94 rout of the Spurs.

Ray Allen netted seven points and Lewis six in a 19-7 burst that closed the first quarter. Seattle led 25-19 after 12 minutes and never trailed thereafter.
Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili scored 21 points apiece for San Antonio,
but Duncan was held to 17.

We left delighted and gratified. Back home & some home made dinner rather back to the rice & dal tradition. In Arlington, all I eat is rice, dal, bread and whatever edible self cooked vegetables. I caught the morning flight at 6:30 a.m. only to bring and end to my short & sweet but an unforgettable thrilling trip to Seattle.

To be cont......(after my next visit to some other place in USA, hope
it comes soon)

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