Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 8: Seattle fun

From: Seattle, WA, USA
To: Vancouver, BC, Canada

After a lovely night’s sleep at the Day’s Inn, we got up, had breakfast and headed into downtown Seattle. Landry had warned us about the ridiculous cost of parking, so as we were leaving the hotel we asked the lady at the front desk about parking and if she knew of any good spots. She directed us to the one parking deck near Pike Place Market that offered free parking. After driving around for half an hour trying to get situated in downtown Seattle, we finally found the deck. However, as luck would have it, Jayne was too tall to clear the entrance because of the height restriction…uhg. So we found a lot a little closer to the market with average prices. We paid a whopping $17 to park for about 5 hours! Wow it would have cost only a couple of dollars in downtown Asheville. Oh well, big city.

We got the puppies situated and headed to the first point of interest for the day, Pike Place Market. It is a public market that was quite large and offered anything from crafts and jewelry to groceries, fresh fish and flowers. It was a very busy place with lots of hustle and bustle.
We soon met up with Landry and Carrie who had driven up from Olympia, WA to meet us for lunch. We wandered around for a while until we found a little sandwich shop completely open to the street called Three Sisters (which was funny because it was ran by two dudes). We ended up sitting and talking for several hours just catching up on each other’s adventures. We had the best time!

After lunch we walked down the street until coming upon a cinnamon shop that was selling sticky buns, cookies and other baked goods. It took all of a half a second to decide it smelled too good to pass up. After purchasing our terribly delicious, amazingly unhealthy treats, we went a little further down the street to the original Starbucks. We had not previously known that Seattle was home to the original shop and of course we had to stop so that Heather could get a pumpkin spice misto. Mmm…yummy.
Following all of our fun eating and drinking coffee, we walked back to the truck to let the pups out to pee and love on Landry and Carrie. Dakota was not fond of the noise of the big city and it made her timid, she is really more of a quiet country girl. Lola didn’t seem to take much notice to the big city, although, we are not sure how much she ever really notices.
To wrap up our fun with our awesome friends we went up to a small grassy park with a view of the bay to take some pictures. Landry and Carrie we loved seeing you and had the best time bumming around Pike Place with you.
From Pike Place it was off to the Seattle Space Needle, which was awesome! We could see the whole city from the top. It was still daylight when we went up, but the sun soon set and we watched the whole city come alive with lights. It was beautiful. From the Space Needle we had a great view of Mount Rainier (Washington’s highest mountain and an active volcano) and the Olympic Mountains: all very gorgeous.

We spent about 1.5 hours up in the Needle taking in the city view. But, eventually it was time to move on, head’em up, move’em out (raw hide) toward that foreign land we often refer to as Canada. It was about a 2 hour drive to the border after we stopped to make sandwiches and buy a few supplies at Wally-world. 
 At the border, everything went smoothly. However, Nathan did have to dig out the gun case from the very back of the camper which took more than a little effort and struggle. Twenty minutes later, we were entering Vancouver, a city about which we have lots of excitement.
Finding a hotel, though, was difficult. We stopped at one that didn’t take dogs, but the attendant gave us easy sounding directions to one Best Western, which gladly took pets. Nathan is still not sure whether the fault in our not finding the Best Western lies with bogus directions, too thick of an accent or simply poor direction following. So we drove around some area of town for 10 minutes till we saw another hotel. They didn’t take dogs either, but recommended a nice Best Western that did. Nathan confirmed with the receptionist that he’d heard the same and asked how to navigate there. Again, we ran into the problem of shotty directions or faulty interpretation of said directions, because 10 minutes later: no Best Western.

Third time must be a charm. We stopped at a third hotel which clearly from it’s outside appearance would not house pets, but Nathan inquired once more about the mysterious Best Western (Did it actually exist? Was it a mirage? Or was this a common joke Canadians play on southerners?) Leaving the third hotel Nathan could do nothing but laugh at the attempt at directions he had received from the greeter. More confused, he had no idea how to reach the coveted pet-friendly lodging but he did finally obtain an address. The Best Western was on a road we had seen a number of times in our wanderings. About 1.5 seconds after getting in the car from the third hotel we had arrived at a beautiful hotel with a sign outside which read: Best Western. FINALLY. The conclusion and lesson of this story is: Canadians are horrible at giving directions. (We’re gonna need some comment/input from our Canadian friend, Cynthia, on this one).

We had the opportunity of quickly meeting three interesting people today.

We had found a place to park near the Space Needle and I was walking to the little kiosk for which to pay $10 dollars for two hours of parking (unbelievable), when I was approached by a man telling me not to put in any money. This man was no stranger to the streets. He told me that there’s a free parking place on the street just next to us. “Show me,” I said, so we walked to the sign, which in fact indicated that parking places on the street side were no charge on Sundays. The deal, for some reason, still seemed shady (also indicated by the concerned look on Heather’s face as she walked across the parking lot toward us). “Come on man, don’t wanna miss it, free parking, I’jus’ saved you som’money,” he said. My rational mind said that the deal seemed solid, though I was skeptical as I imagine most people would be having been solicited by strangers off the street. “I tell you what, I get this space, I’ll hook you up,” I said to him as he smiled and made his way to stand in the road blocking anyone else from taking our spot. Now that’s service, I thought to myself. Here’s a guy just trying to make a few dollars and he wasn’t just asking for free money like most whom I’ve come across. My heart went out to him and congratulated him on finding an inventive way of making some cash. Upon parking, he asked for five bucks, which I gladly gave him. He brightened up so much, asked me my name and then started calling me Nate Dog. This made me smile. I thanked him and told him to take care of himself. We shook hands, completing our business deal, and I said, “Keep an eye on it for me." “I gotchu brother,” he replied as we parted ways.

Pulling away from a gas station, which didn’t take credit cards, we stopped at a stoplight. The car next to us honked and the man motioned to roll down the window. “Your gas cover is open,” he said. “Oh, thanks,” we responded knowing it wasn’t a big deal as we were turning then into a better (credit card accepting) fuel station. “What part of North Carolina are you from?” he asked. “Asheville,” we both yelled back with enthusiasm. The light turned green and the man smiled. “Greenville,” he said before hitting the gas and driving on with a wave.

And lastly, as we were paying Canada Customs $25 for a temporary gun permit, the cashier, a young twenty something like myself, looked at my driver license address and said, “Wow, you are from Chapel Hill!” Heather responded, “Yep. We both graduated from there.” “I hate Duke,” responded the Candian Carolina fan.” “And I’m liking you more and more,” said Nathan, both us with a grin on our faces. Some how, all of the sudden, I didn’t feel like I was in another country anymore. I felt right at home.


Audrey said...

Best Western really is the best! They also always seem to have free wireless internet everywhere we've been. (Don't know if that was the case in Canada).

Heather said...

It never ceases to amaze me that you can find a Carolina fan anywhere you go in the world. When I traveled briefly in Europe, I was always seeing UNC hats and t-shirts.

Alle Photography said...

How in the world did you manage to run into probably the ONLY person from Greenville there?!?