i have adventures (sometimes)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

More Vegetables, Less Scurvy

There's nothing like travelling to make my already temperamental back and neck seize up. Maybe if I travelled like a grown up instead of carrying a backpack and sleeping on tiny sofas it would be better, but I do like this way of travelling. Maybe one day I'll stay in hotels and have a suitcase, but right now it's just not me. I'm more comfortable when I'm less comfortable. Or something.

I am one with the tiny sofa. Partly because I can't turn my head enough to move.
I had a bad first night on the tiny sofa, which I think was more a problem of being in a new bed rather than that the bed in question was the tiny sofa, but either way I woke up sore and tired.

BUT I AM AN ADVENTURER. And today was my last full day in Seattle, and I'd set it aside for Downtown adventuring (which meant that I've had this song stuck in my head all day). The day got off to a good start when I found this garden and aggressive passive-aggressive note outside the apartment.

The angriest gardener?

My first destination was the Pike Street market, but when I got there there were three fire engines outside, so I assumed it was on fire and went to get coffee instead. The coffee shop also sold vegan cookies, so clearly it was fate. I did not argue with fate.*

By the time my coffee was ready, the market seemed to have stopped being on fire, and so I went to have a look at the expensive fruit and vegetables and curios. I considered buying a dinosaur hat, but they were made of wool, and I don't think they had one big enough for my head anyway. I should write to let them know they're missing out on the vegans-with-large-heads-and-big-hair market. Vegans with large heads and big hair need dinosaur hats too!

Even if we like brussels sprouts.
I saw one shop selling veal and foie gras, which made me wonder if there was ever a conversation that began "Well, it turns out we can't sell ground up poor children. What's the next most evil food we can sell?", and thus a brilliant business strategy was born. And by brilliant I mean evil.

I sampled things from less evil stalls, trying to look as though I were seriously considering buying massively expensive chocolate-covered cherries and six different types of jam, and ultimately succumbed to the need to buy a peach, since the most fruit I've had in the last few days has been the banana bits in my breakfast cereal. Fresh produce seems to be really expensive here - it's no wonder America's so famous for junk food. Paying $2 for a peach, even at a fancy market, seems a little bit ridiculous. But I don't think chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough counts towards my 5-a-Day or will stop me getting scurvy, so expensive fruit it has to be.

If I still get scurvy, I want my $2 back.

I made my way to the Pioneer Square area (after first making my way away from the Pioneer Square area, then turning the map the right way round), where I did not get to play Look Like This Guy with the bust of Chief Seattle, because I was all alone in the world.

The first Starbucks.
Monument to the Seattle Fire Department in Occidental Square.
Waterfall Park.
Ah... Art?
You'll notice there aren't many pictures of me today. That's because sometimes I get shy about asking people to take my picture, because this is what my face looks like in photos.

Anyway, next I headed for the Seattle Public Library, where I fell in love. With the Seattle Public Library. 10 storeys high, and beautiful and shiny and with helpful book recommendations, and floors and floors and floors of books. I wanted to move in there. Instead, I got some book recommendations and hung out to use their wifi until I got hungry and had to leave my new love in my quest for food (I promise that I am not this fickle in my human relationships. Well, not always).

I really liked Downtown Seattle. I felt more comfortable there than I have anywhere else on this trip so far. Maybe being hemmed in by tall buildings again was comforting (wide roads with low buildings on either side seem all wrong). Maybe it was just because I was finally in an area where I had a map and could walk from place to place instead of bussing about from one distant location to the next. It felt more familiar and less overwhelming than the city has up till now.

I ate lunch at In the Bowl, where I had possibly the best meal since I've been here, a green curry noodle bowl so abundant that I only managed half of it and took the rest away to eat for lunch today.

More vegetables, less scurvy!

They also had what might be the best bathroom ever, covered in plants and with peaceful rainforest sounds playing.

With the ever-present risk of low blood sugar averted and my soul soothed by the calls of rainforest birds, I set out to walk to Volunteer Park. On the way, I found a mini park on a street corner, with gnomes and wagons and bird feeders and a little fountain.

Complete with passive-aggressive warning note!
As I sat on the very comfortable bench, I found myself thinking "This is why I love Seattle."

Which was when I realised that I sort of love Seattle. I wouldn't want to live here, because I can't see myself voluntarily moving to a country so hostile towards my reproductive rights (and the rights of anyone who isn't a rich, white, hetero, cis, Christian male), but I do sort of love it. I love the parks and the friendly people and the vegan restaurants and the library. I've shaken my travel sadness, and I'm happy again.

I made it to Volunteer Park, where I played some solo LLTG with a very stern man and climbed the 100-odd steps to the top of the watertower to look out over the city.

Oh hey, the grass really is greener on the other side!
Solo LLTG is a lonely game.
Ooh... Art?
I nearly missed the watertower because it didn't look anything like the one in Animaniacs, but I found it because I asked some friendly strangers. I can talk to people!

This is not what watertowers look like! I know from tv!

After descending, I lay and read in the sun, then picked up some travel snacks at the grocery store, where I spent ages trying to choose the least expensive fruit. I am not a fan of this expensive produce thing. But I had a great chat with my Couchsurfing host about (no) kids, travel, and boardgames, and I managed to sort out my travel plans for tomorrow. All in all, I think it was the best day I spent in Seattle. I feel like I accomplished something. I'm not sure what that something is, but it might be seeing so many things, or walking all day without getting sore feet, or lying on the grass in the sun, or not getting scurvy, or finding my love for Seattle. Whatever it was, I accomplished it. And that feels good.

Next stop, Portland! Don't worry, mum and dad. I'm definitely not getting a lift with a man from the internet. I'm taking a bus. Or something.

*My budget keeps telling me to argue with fate more often. I try to tell it I am beyond such worldly concerns.


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