This weekend my good old friend Trent finally gave in to Porter's and my regular invitations (or demands, depending on how you listen) to come up from Portland and give Seattle a proper tour. Trent has come with us on all three of our kayak weekends, but has only been to Pike Place Market. And as great as the market is (especially if you love wildflowers), the city has more for Trent, and for everyone. We only got him for a day (a foggy one at that), but it was dry and very Seattle.
1. Water Taxi to Alki Beach
Porter lends some of his race equipment to the Salty Half Marathon -- used to be Salty's Half, but uppity Salty's Restaurant didn't want to participate anymore. It's not a huge race, but Porter runs it every year, and for the last three we've done brunch after (what is it about West Seattle that makes me want to have brunch?). Trent and I arrived for the finish line (Porter got 5th place after not having run much for the last 6 months due to an Achilles area injury, which simultaneously makes me very proud and totally grossed out that he can just up and run 13.1 miles like it ain't no thang.)
I took the well-placed finish line as an excuse to finally get around to taking the Seattle Water Taxi, which, at a whopping $3.50 each way, is cheaper than the Bainbridge Ferry, and, at 15 minutes across, a whole lot quicker too. The water taxi leaves from right south of the ferry terminal and, at least on this foggy Saturday, looked totally abandoned (it's usually a commuter ferry)(Seriously, what a sweet commute would that be- living in a condo at Alki Beach - one of the only sandy beaches in the area - and hopping a quick 15 minute floating bus to downtown. I may have just changed some life plans just now). The ride was whelming at best, but had pleasant views, salty air, and was way better than driving through the industrial district to get to the beach.
2. Underground Tour
I don't know if I should be ashamed to admit that I haven't ever been on any Seattle city tours. No Duck, no Pike Market, no Underground Tour. All are pretty famous for tourists and locals alike, so I figured with Trent in town I ought to make myself a whole lot less embarrassing and pick one. The Underground Tour is all about Seattle's very beginnings - the Dennys, the Mercers, the people who streets are named after - and how the town was essentially flooded with sewage, then burned to the ground, then was finally rebuilt a story higher than sea-level. The result is 20 some odd square blocks of underground tunnels criss-crossing under Pioneer Square. The tunnels themselves are uninteresting (and filled with piles of rubble and old machinery dumped over the last century), but the stories are pretty great.
In an odd turn of events, one of my best friends from 5th grade and only 5th grade because her family moved away by 6th, happened to be in town with her boyfriend, so they came too. There's not much like catching up with someone you haven't seen since you were 11. Facebook is the greatest. How else would I know her hobbies, profession, and travel history and how else would you have anything to talk about?
3. Relish in ethnic diversity (Marrakesh and Chinese Massages)
Stephanie, the 5th grade friend, commented how much diversity there is here, a compliment (is that a compliment?) I deflected, noting that we have a fair number of Asians, but we're still pretty white. Stephanie's from Kansas, and to her credit, we are pretty diverse. Case in point: dinner eating lamb and cous-cous with our hands (just as hard as it sounds) with a belly dancer and tented ceiling. and a late night Chinese reflexology massage. Both of these I've actually done before, but loved them enough to recreate them.
Marrakesh serves a 5-course meal, and only a 5-course meal. You choose the entree from about 10 options, but the rest comes to you whether you like it or not. Egg, chicken, and almond in phylo-dough with powdered sugar was not my thing, but I dug in (sans silverware) anyway. My lamb could not have been more tender, the salad curry thing more perfectly balanced, and the mint rosewater tea with honey- oh my goodness I can't stop thinking about it.
My reflexology massage, unfortunately had reverse success. Head and face massage- amazing. Foot and leg massage- pretty good. But then my masseur (I got a man. Porter and Trent got ladies. Weird?) couldn't get my skinny jeans rolled down after the foot massage part was over, and it went all downhill from there. He offered to cut them off, as if I was in some sort of emergency and he was an EMT saving my life. My calves are disproportionately large for the rest of my body, plus expansion from a hot water foot bath and all sorts of improved circulation (isn't that what massage is all about?) which I'm well aware of so I shouldn't have rolled the skinnies so high, but really, cut them off? We finally got them down, and he continued on to massage my shoulders, but by then all I could pay attention to was him chewing gum. And I swear he burped once.
But isn't Seattle great?