Sleepless in Seattle
Even though we had gone to bed at 9.30 it was still grim having to get up at 2 am to get ready and then drive to the airport for a 6 am getaway from Fairbanks. The day before I had planned to top the car up with petrol before returning it to the hirer but encountered a most unusual problem. The petrol tank did not want to accept the fuel. You would squirt a bit in and it would squirt it back out at you, even though it was half empty. The station attendant couldn’t get it to work either. We went back to the hirer and rather sheepishly told them the issue, some looks of disbelief. But to their credit they accepted my explanation and we ended up with no charge for petrol. A small bonus.
We arrived in Seattle at our hotel around 12.30 after catching the train from the airport and then the monorail. Usual problem of not being able to get in until 3pm so it was off on a wander around the Seattle Centre. This is a collection of all sorts of Arts types buildings, eateries, park land etc. The Space Needle is here as well. Our hotel is well positioned, only being about 5 minutes away. We are in the Lower Queen Anne district of the city. This is an older area, but is being reinvented as a ‘hip’ area for the arty and creative types. All sorts of restaurants around here, food from around the world. It still has a little grimy gritty edge to it though, however we feel quite safe wandering through the neighbourhood in the evening.
Our hotel is a typical construction of the area. It is a bit old, tired and worn. Quite clean and comfortable though. Appears to have survived the various earthquakes and shakes Seattle gets periodically, walls have cracks in them and floors are uneven. There have been a lot of cover up jobs done! So we go off to dinner and then take in another Shakespeare performance, Julius Caesar. The Seattle Shakespeare company are starting their season off and we have stumbled into it. It was an unusual costuming experience. It started in modern dress (was it a ‘Trump like effect’?) and as the play progressed, particularly after intermission, the actors reverted to Roman attire. It was explained that this was to show that the struggle for power is ageless. The company is also big on ‘diversity’ in its casting, so we have more female roman soldiers than male. There are white, black and Asian actors in the mix. Females portraying male lead characters etc. The irony in this is of course that in Shakespeare’s day males played the female roles. Despite this Allthego did not find it a satisfying performance, seemed to be overtly political edge as well. Then Seattle is a very Democrat town!
The following day we were off on a local bus out to the Fremont area, another one of those ‘hip’ places, the bus takes about half an hour to get there. Fremont sits beside the Fremont Cut which is part of the Washington Ship Canal (built in the early 1900s) that links the Pacific Ocean (Puget Sound) to the freshwater of the large inland Lake Washington. The reason for going to Fremont is to visit the iconic Fremont Oktoberfest, held over 3 days traditionally in late September.
It is not a particularly ‘grand’ setting, set around two streets. But there are the usual beer stalls and American takes on German sausage and sauerkraut and other things German. There are the local favourites , hot dogs and curly chips. We are there on ‘family day’, not that there are many families. It is a well controlled event though with no overly disruptive or excitable attendees. The Texas Chainsaw Pumpkin Carving completion between Batman, Green Lantern and the Tuck Shop Lady is entertaining. The tuck shop lady wins. The banter is more important than the carvings……
After a couple of hours we head back to town and a trip out in a ‘duck’ for a city tour and a ‘swim’ in Union Lake. This was a bit of fun with some interesting commentary. We sighted the location of the building where Sleepless in Seattle was filmed. A fitting end to the day.