Friday, 30 April 2010

Tempest toss'd town

I've been in Seattle for nearly a week now, and it's certainly living up to its reputation as the rainy city - the skies have been pretty uniformly grey, and any hint of blue disappears like a false dawn as soon as I get outside! Having said that, today the sun shone - and stayed shining - as I headed out to Bainbridge on the ferry. It was a glorious trip, with Seattle's skyline gradually disappearing behind us as this tiny island appeared ahead. The real highlight was getting out on the water, but I also enjoyed pottering about Winslow's bookshops and
cafes, and absolutely loved the city centre - three wooden buildings and a bizarre pod-like sculpture. Archetypal small-town America, right down to the picket fences.

Elsewhere, I've been mixing food for body and soul. Yesterday Helen and I went on a tour of Theo's Chocolate Factory in Fremont. It's a small place that makes Fair Trade and organic chocolate: we got the low-down on production from tree to tummy, and at the same time were given a bunch of free samples to concentrate the mind! Just to balance out all this indulgence, earlier in the day I'd been round the Seattle Art Museum, with some really interesting modern art (my favourites, a giant black mouse sitting on a man's chest, and a chainmail coat made out of 40,000 dog tags. What did they mean? Who knows? And who, really, cares? It's all about how they make you feel. There was a quote by Georgia O'Keeffe up on the wall that is possibly the best explanation for abstract expressionism (and modern art) I've ever seen: "Even if I could put down accurately certain things that I saw and enjoyed it would not give the observer the kind of feeling the object gave me - I had to create an environment for what I felt about what I was looking at - not copy it.").

Rather less high-mindedly, the previous day I'd been to the Seattle Center, photographed the Space Needle, and run amok in the Frank Gehry-designed Sci-Fi Museum (it also housed the Seattle Music Experience, but except for a rock photography exhibition, and some information on the grunge scene of the Nineties, this didn't interest me so much). But, oh, the books! The cyberpunk! The models of the Terminator! The original costumes and ray-guns from Star Trek! I admit it - I geeked out. Then I went on the monorail into town and felt like I was in Fahrenheit 451 - without the book-burning...

Anyway, I'd best head off and get some more coffee down me. Seattle being the home of the barista (yes, I've had a mocha in the original Starbucks - I couldn't resist), they have coffee shops every few steps here, just in case your caffeine levels fall dangerously low. By the time I leave here I may well be vibrating, but, oh, it's delicious! Bottoms up!

1 comment:

  1. David o' St. Cupcake-by-the-Hostel1 May 2010 at 01:46

    See, now, I knew leaving the Pacific Northwest, even for a short while, was gonna leave me bleeding envy at somebody. And here you go and unload both barrels: ferryboat rides (I live in a desert, remember) AND one of my personal unreached Meccas (and, if the Terminator's there, unreached mechas as well), the SF Museum.

    Sounds like you're having loads of fun, though--and those photos from your new camera are amazing!