I reckon this title would have made a better film than Sleepless in Seattle!
Seattle was designated crazy Mastercard location quite early on in my trip, and it indeed managed to live up to my expectations. I did however see most of the sights in my time there too!
After the tour deposited us at the end point airport hotel we dispersed and I went to check into my nicer, better, and cheaper hotel next door. After the longest shower in the world (I even sat down and allowed it to fill up whilst I shaved my legs for the first time in a fortnight - well, no one was going to see them and they were so long the extra hair kept me warmer!!) I dried my hair and got my shit together to meet back up with the girls. We dawdled around the Pioneer Square area and through gum alley (bizarre) before hitting Pike Place Market. The first Starbucks opened here an age ago and if either liked coffee or enjoyed standing in line I might have gone in for a drink. I don't, so I didn't. We had enormous yummy smoothies from a korean barbecue stand instead and watched the fishmongers hurling fish around.
After a fishy dinner we headed on to the Space Needle and got the elevator up to the observation desk near the top. There was a high school prom taking place on the restaurant floor - must have been once fancy school, but the kids still looked like complete dawks. There were a couple of dresses that wouldn't have looked out of place on 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' but my favourite outfit was a pale blue dinner suit complete with matching waistcoat and shiny stripe down the outside trouser leg!! Why didn't I take a photo, it was hilarious viewing! The view was impressive and we finally caught a proper glimpse of Mount St Helens towering above the rest of the [XXX] mountains. Whilst these mountains were apparently in bright sunshine the Olympic National Park where we had just come from was black and you could see the clouds raining. Awesome to look at from a far, but we were very glad not to be over there that evening. After the sunset we headed to get the train back to the airport and time for my penultimate set of farewells. I might have moaned quite a lot along the way in the past two weeks (getting practice in for returning home no doubt) but they were quite sweet girls and we did have a nice time together. I left them with the challenge of finding out what Mr ExCon did to acquire his criminal record, and I also hope to find out in due course whether the nutty 19 year old Wimbledon-worker-wannabe returned to her vacation, so need to hear from them again!
Before leaving my hotel in the morning I carefully prepared a list of stores, and their addresses, to be visited and it does indeed turn out to be a whole day of fun! I figured I'd be so skint when I'm back home that all clothes shopping will be totally ruled out, and as wearing the same mini-capsule wardrobe I've been carrying for the past three months indefinitely would likely danger my health, this should be addressed immediately. Shopping in the USA not only deems new clothes a travel expense but also means reduced prices so its win, win! Morley logic at its best! The fact that I didn't ever bother to set a travel budget, and have no idea how much I've spent so far is completely irrelevant, and I'll deal with the consequences later!
After a successful day's shopping, without lunch, I figured I should treat myself for dinner. I asked the girl on reception at the hostel where I could go for a nice dinner nearby and she came up trumps. Just on the corner of the next block was a restaurant called Local 360 where I settled at the bar with a G&T (I can definitely recommend one of the local gin's called Hedgetrimmer) before stuffing my face. I had taken along my postcards for amusement, and it didn't take long before an old guy at the bar started chatting away to me. When I say old guy, I mean old guy, so that was a shame! He knew all the staff from before they were poached from another local restaurant and was chatting away to all and sundry before exclaiming his delight that I could read and write, and was using postcards to communicate rather than emails. I didn't explain this was mainly because my nan still can't work a mobile phone after almost 10 years so never mind a computer, as that would have made me sound just like every other loser that can't function without modern technology. I ended the evening with a United States Department of Homeland Security business card in my pocket before one of the locals at the bar asked me to have a drink with him and his mates...I'm still trying to figure out why I refused that one...!
I actually really loved Seattle, the city just had a nice vibe and feeling about it, so I could have stayed much longer just hanging out and wandering around. I was concerned that this would result in an emergency dip into my non-travel savings though and so after another night I decided to head on up to my last destination. Turned out doubly wise as I might otherwise be on death row by now for strangling the kiwi in my dorm room. I don't know how he had time to breathe with the amount of shit spurting out of his mouth non stop, but I did have to chuckle when the American in the room pointed out that his masters thesis was fundamentally flawed - how can you investigate attitude to risk and gambling by studying subjects that are given pretend money?!?