We are here in beautiful and sunny Seattle. Locals have complained about an extremely long, dreary and wet winter and spring. It is goreous here this weekend, in fact, on Sunday morning at 8am, the sun was already out! We got very lucky wih the weather, as I had to buy a pair of Bermuda shorts yesterday, to wear today.
What is the most obvious thing about Seattle this weekend besides the sunny weather? It has turned blue, completely blue, and it is not even Seahawks season. The blue belongs to the Toronto Blue Jays MLB team, in town for a three games series with the hometown Mariners. Why so many Toronto fans?
Blue Jays fans outnumbered the Mariner fans last night by at east 2 to 1!!!! Why? It turns out most of these fans are from western Canada. It is a good 3,000 miles to Toronto, to support their only major league team, other than NHL hockey, which, BTW, has two teams from the US in the Stanley Cup finals. Talking to them, they all said it is cheaper, closer, and better to visit Seattle, than fly to Toronto.
I wondered why fans would fly all the way from Toronto for an away game here. Why not go to famous ballparks in bigger cities, like Fenway, Wrigley, and Yankee Stadium? Most Jays fans are from Vancouver, which now makes a lot of sense to me. Plus this must be a big pay day for Seattle merchants, hoteliers, and restaurateurs. Waves of Blue Jay blue have taken over the city!!!!
Moving on to bigger and better things, Seattle is having yet another building boom. It is not enough that Amazon has or will soon have, over a million square feet of office space in the fabulous downtown core. We killed some time yesterday at Macy’s, and found a huge transformation. They sold the top 4 floors (5, 6,,7,8) for office space earlier, and just recently sold two more floors! The Macy’s retail area will now be just 3 floors, a basement, and floors 1 and 2.
Another development is what the news calls “no frills rental units.” In a city with commonplace $2000 a month rents, with concierge services, high end appliances, and yoga rooms, this is a huge departure from the past. At least a thousand “workforce” apartments will be coming with affordable rents.
We see many of our old, and familiar buildings gone. We see streets and intersections torn up. We saw many sidewalks closed for either demolition or huge scale building projects. The skyline is changing rapidly. Even Frasier Crane would have a hard time affording his 5000 square feet city apartment. It is the “Amazon” effect, with another million square feet of office space, to join a recently completed million square feet on Sixth Avenue.
Many Seattle and Portland visitors are headed to Canada for asylum. Anywhere from 400 to 700 asylum seekers reach Canada each month. Most are foreigners, here legally or not, willing to take $300 taxi rides to Canada!!! The route goes something like this:
1. Leave Iraq for NYC.
2. Fly to Seattle.
3. Take taxi to Blaine, WA for $300.
4. Cross O Avenue a long, unfenced Canadian street along the border.
5. Vancouver has an $18 million Welcome Centre, subsidized by the government.
So, the question is, for Americans, could we, if we desired, do the same thing?
Seattle, and the entire state of Washington was deeply saddened by the death of local boy made good, Adam West, of nearby Walla Walla. His real name was William West Anderson. He graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, and spent two years in the Army. He changed his name to Adam West, went to Hollywood, and appeared in shows like Bonanza, Perry Mason, Bewitched, 77 Sunset Strip (I loved that show), Maverick, and Gunsmoke.
Curiously, an online search in the Sun Valley directory for Adam West results in a prompt to “See Wayne, Bruce” which results in “Please consult Crime Fighters” in the Yellow Pages, leading to “See Batman” leading back to Adam West. During his lifetime, he appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and later appeared on shows like Laverne and Shirley, and Fantasy Island. He will always be the real Batman to me.
Cannabis ads are rampant here in the newspaper. The one ad that I like is Uncle Ike’s. They sell a quarter ounce for $15. They have three locations, and FREE parking!
It never feels like a Sunday here in Seattle during a bright summer day. All the stores are open, people are out in gaggles, the mood is incredible, and we love it. We walked from downtown, out to Chinatown to our favorite mega grocery store, Japan style, Uwajimaya. We shopped, had a fabulous sushi lunch, and tried to find Sheri’s frozen durian. We found the fresh ones for $6 a pound, but $48 is too much to pay for the stinkiest fruit in the world.
We finally made it down to the flagship Nordstrom store downtown. Since I no longer work, I do not shop like I did before. But I like to look. Sheri, on the other hand, still shops like the retiree she has been for 17 years!!!! But I love this store, met some nice people there, who are still friends, even though she moved to NYC.
Today, June 11th, is our 22nd wedding anniversary. And how thankful I am that Sheri has put up with my antics over the years. She did such a wonderful job raising Sarah, when her own mother threw her out of the house. Sarah finally acknowledged what a great job Sheri did last Mother’s Day.
One thing for sure, we do not miss the frequency of sirens and alarms of city life. Downtown Seattle probably has more sirens per hour than NYC or Chicago. We are so thankful living in the quiet little bedroom community of Clovis. But, truth be known, I do miss some big city things, like the dining, shopping, professional sports, music, and dear friends. The homeless and pot smoking are everywhere in this city, taking away some of the charm that originally drew us here.
Well, it is almost nap time this afternoon. We have a big evening planned.
Dinner on Sunday at our favorite Seattle restaurant, Lola, then some music at Jazz Alley. Grammy nominee Jeffrey Osborne put on a great show, the last of his four concerts here. People were dancing and singing like a party was going on, and it was!
We had a tasty and tender octopus appetizer to start. We followed that with roast lamb, Greek spaghetti, and braised asparagus. We topped it off with Tom’s famous coconut cream pie! What a great anniversary dinner.
Monday had lots of options. After a huge breakfast at Lola, we decided to get some retail therapy in the downtown area. We bought these really strange objects made from paper. Some people call them books. I still love my travel guides in print, esp. When internet service is not available in 2nd world countries.
Sadly, our favorite car service owner and driver, Elias is out of town at a funeral. But for only a dollar each, we can ride the light rail from downtown to the airport in about 40 minutes.
We learned that some dear friends here were carjacked at gunpoint recently. They arrested the guy, who is now serving his sentence in jail. A druggie who steals cars or $$ for his habit. It turns out they need to steal a car every 5 days to maintain their habit. Speaking of, the stench or aroma of pot is everywhere here, all the time! You may remember our little Lexi swallowed a joint on the ground last month, and had to go to the pet ER!
Tonight (Monday), we are meeting an old friend for dinner, along with her son and her boyfriend, not sure which. Then, we have an early flight back home, to much warmer weather, I see. Our apartment here has worked out mostly for the good, with lots of space and a full kitchen. But in the heart of the tourist action, it is busy and noisy outside. But hotels have become so expensive, around $350 to $400 in the downtown areas.
But I can’t wait to get home and pick up Lexi from the pet resort. I had to show her photo to all of our friends here. Our hostess last night was also a Lexi. Onward and upward!