Railroading North America

20/ Seattle

20-1puget-pike-pl-belltown-dsc06579-usemeDAY 20
Seattle, Washington
Saturday, November 8, 2008

On Saturday I set out to walk Seattle.

I walk from the hotel near the Space Needle to the Amtrak Station, and then along Puget Sound to Pike Place, a shopping area, through Belltown (no one seems to know why it is named Belltown nor do they know of any bells). That was probably about five miles and as I walked along under the Monorail pylons leading back to my hotel, I was surprised that a monorail roared past.

Obviously they are running again.

I like Seattle. There are bookstores everywhere and neat coffee shops. In Pike Place I stand across from Starbucks first store and take pictures of people taking pictures of the store. I never quite got Starbucks, myself, but I think their logo is neat.

In a shop in Pike Market I find a tee-shirt store that seems to have the word “fuck” on every shirt. I talk to a clerk with tattoos and piercings who asks if she can help me.

I decide to give her a New Age answer to see how she reacts. “Can anyone really help anyone else?” I ask.

20-2starbucks1-dsc06573-usemeMy god. She puts elbows on the counter and gazes up at me like a Labrador retriever. “Oh, like that is so true.” Her piercings jangle. “Sorry.” She says. “I have like piercings EVERYwhere.” We stare. It is definitely time to move on.

She asks if I would like to know what her favorite tee-shirt in the whole, entire store is. I’m fearful, but curious.

She holds up a tee-shirt that reads, “You say Tomato, I say Fuck you. It’s from a song in the 1940s,” she begins to sing and sway. “You say ‘Ta-may-toe, I say Tah-mah-tah, you say — lalala… ever hear it?”

I know the distance from the hotel to the train station is too far to walk with my baggage so I ask the hotel to call me a taxi, and surprisingly, it arrives immediately. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the driver doesn’t understand me, nor I him. One of us is going to need to learn a new language. We begin trying to communicate.

He has a GPS and soon he understands enough to tap the address of the train station into his computer. From my walks yesterday I know it is straight down the street, but now he takes off in a different direction and soon we are roaring down Interstate 5.

I protest and scramble to GPS the location on my I-Phone. He appears to mistake my protests as complements for his Hat.

“Oshwursfrusizt,” he says, smiling. We disappear into a tunnel.

Surprisingly, we roll up to the train station and the cost is less than $500. Exiting, I say “Oshwursfrusizt,” and he beams and adjusts his Hat.

I appear to have mastered polite in some language.

(Photograph, Puget Sound near Pike Place shopping center Seattle; tourist-draw Starbucks #1 in Seattle with people in foreground taking pictures — do people buy coffee here, or do they just gather in the street and take pictures of the front of the building?)


Distance today: 0
Trip Distance Total: 6,139 miles / 7,765 kilometers


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