First Day of Rain

Cuteness of the day:

It was raining and we were sitting on the bus when a little girl and her mom come on. The mom stands at the front while the girl sits at the front next to a 50ish year old man who looks like pretty outdoorsy. He has a hat on and manly woodsy attire on. The little girl starts talking to him, saying stuff like “it’s raining out!” and he would always respond very nicely “yes, yes.” “Did you put on a jacket? You’re going to be cold! You’re not wearing boots! Aren’t your feet going to get wet? Did you bring an umbrella? You didn’t? But it’s raining out! I guess you have your hat on huh? Is that hat going to protect you from the rain? Look I’m sitting at the front, this is the best view, isn’t it? Can you see? Did you bring any perfume? You didn’t? Then you’re going to smell like rain later! You’ll have to find some perfume later” SO CUTE HAHA

Summer ended very abruptly up here. I was in the Vancouver hotel room when my mom comes back in and says “it’s raining outside!” I said “no, it was probably from the ACs” and she was like “I can tell the difference between AC and rain” but I didn’t believe her. I had a very terrible night of sleep and in the last half, I kept hearing the sound of rain and would half consciously think “omg is that rain? It can’t be … if it’s rain it must be pouring outside.”

Sure enough, it went from sunny days to complete overcast and non-stop rain in a snap. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest. Jaci told me that the rain today is basically what you see most days in Seattle. Considering this is my first day of actual rain in my month in Seattle, looks like I came and left at the perfect time!

How do people accomplish anything with this kind of weather? I think everyone can agree with me when I say that the smallest errand seems like the biggest hurdle when it’s raining outside. I need to go grocery shopping … but it’s raining … so I’ll eat some bread. I need to throw out the trash … but it’s raining … so I’ll just smash everything down. I need to do this life or death thing … but it’s raining … so I’ll lie in my bed covers. We got back into Seattle around evening rush hour, and while I love overcast weather and truly believe it brightens me up, rain does make the day feel more dreary.

Raining so hard bubbles were forming!

So Vancouver … since we barely saw Stanley Park in the light yesterday, we decided to go back today, even though it was raining. I only brought shorts, so I was THE ONLY person in Vancouver wearing shorts today, according to my observations. And believe me, I was looking. Actually, a few people who ran past us on our walk through Stanley park had exercise shorts as well. Now that’s a level of exercise committment I have not reached. Stanley Park was fun at first, but while my first visit was like “WOW this seawall is fabulous, oh no it’s coming to an end!” this trip was more like “good god when will this seawall end so we can leave this park?” If I don’t wake up sick tomorrow, I will be VERY surprised.

Stanley Park in the rain

I accidentally drove right past the US Duty Shop … oops. So scratch that off our to do list. I feel bad because my mom has never seen it, but I assured her that it’s only full of high priced goodies that we wouldn’t have wanted anyway. Alcohol, designer bags, makeup … that’s what I remember from last year. We did go to Seattle Premium Outlets on the way back, but the BR was not good. What is it about the Camarillo BR Outlet that makes it SO MAGICAL?!?! That is the place I look forward to most when I return home – absolute must before I head up to SJ.

Then we went to 99 Ranch to buy snacks for the road … AHHH. I have not planned out anything AT ALL. I fell asleep on the bed at 9:30 and woke up to shower and when I started writing this blog, I was extremely surprised to find that it was 10:00 and not 2:30am, which is how I feel it SHOULD be.

Tomorrow is more rain, then it stops in the afternoon. But by then, I will be in Portland! I have a weird hybrid mix of emotions since I’m essentially going on vacation and moving out at the same time. It hasn’t registered that I will not be returning to this house after tomorrow. I AM SO SAD. I have wanted to take pictures of Greenlake ever since I arrived, but planned to do it on my last day. And now it’s OVERCAST. This neighborhood is so gorgeous, it will be a shame that my photographic evidence is not representative of what I experienced. MIRACLE PLEASE – bring me sunlight!

Seattle oversights I must remedy next time: eating at Paseo, eating at Salumi

I am so busy lately that I have not only missed all new episodes of Jersey Shore, Mad Men, The Big C AND THE EMMYS, but I completely forgot they were on! Blasphemy.

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Vancouver Day Trip

I made it to Vancouver without my GPS! Which would be more amazing if it weren’t essentially three directions 1) go on the 5 north, 2) exit 41b at Marine Drive W 3) look out for hotel on right. I parked the car then got bus day passes, which is far smarter than attempting to park in Vancouver.

It’s surprising how much I remember about Vancouver from last summer. Maybe my long-term memory isn’t as bad as I thought! I recognized the suburban treesy part of Vancouver before crossing Granville Bridge into downtown Vancouver. I remembered the landmarks of Stanley Park and various stops during our bike tour. I remember driving through Granville Island, and I believe we gave up on looking for parking and just continued on with our day. And I remember walking on Beach St. after the fireworks show!

While that vacation was one of my favorites ever, this one is far from it. I realize now that I don’t mind taking my mom out around Seattle because it was like showing her around my new home. I enjoy hosting very much, but I get very annoyed if someone ruins my travel plans. I get SUPER angry when we travel together, because we are very incompatible travelers. Today I kept thinking about how I regret inviting her to come with me on my drive back to SoCal. My ipod is a better travel companion than my mom, for sure.

Raccoons in Stanley Park

To start off our trip, we went to McDonalds for breakfast. I had the Big Breakfast which I haven’t had in so long! I used to get them every weekend as a kid. There were very few people in the McDonalds because it was 8:30am. There was a very old man sitting at a table. During the last few bites of my meal, the cashier opens the kitchen door and leans her head out and says to the guy “just give us a minute, okay?” and goes back in the kitchen. A few seconds later, she and the store manager come out with three balloons and a giant rectangular cake with a Ronald McDonald frosting picture in the middle!!! It was the CUTESTTT thing ever!!! The employees said HAPPY BIRTHDAY! and the guy was surprised and was like “it’s my 90th birthday! I’m going to bring this home to my wife!” He was so happy afterward, in a calm, old man way. When we were leaving, I saw him getting into his small red car, carefully stuffing in the balloons and the cake. It was sooooo cute!!!

During my last trip to Vancouver, we had gone clubbing at night and passed a Costco. I wanted to go into the Costco, and the next day we drove there (I think Kristen said ‘ok, everyone who wants to go to Costco, get in the car and everyone else can rest in the hotel!’ Both guys stayed and all the girls went to Costco HAHA) but it was CLOSED. I remember the disappointment well. So since I get to plan everything, my itinerary for the day was 1) get to hotel 2) go to Granville Island 3) Costco 4) Stanley Park. HAHA So I FINALLY got to go into a Canadian Costco!

Granville Island Public Market

It was pretty cool! But I didn’t get ANY store pictures! I wanted one of the outside and the menu, but when we were leaving my mom and I got into an argument (probably the third of the day) so I was busy stalking off. BOO. But I DID buy a cardigan! The awesome thing about Costco is that if you pay in American dollars, they will automatically convert it to dollars, instead of doing it dollar for dollar as most places would. Also, SO MANY OUTERWEAR choices! Also, all the packaging have English and French sides! I love looking at the food packaging – the dry snack foods look so different!

Teddy bears and peanut butter!

The menu had some sort of smoked meat sandwich instead of a chicken bake. There were a few other slight differences too, but that was the main one. I now wish I had been hungry enough for that 😦

We went to Stanley Park, but the sun was already setting so we just walked inside a little then on the seawall. At first I felt like the day went to crap because we didn’t do Stanley Park fully, but it ended up being very cool to be able to walk around the park after dark. As long as you’re on the seawall, it’s illuminated by surrounding city lights from across the bay. We walked down Denman St which was full of restaurants. Then down Granville St, which had a lot of closed shops and open clubs. I realized that downtown Vancouver is very much a night city, which is not how it seems to be advertised. I didn’t see much of the downtown at night last time, since we drove straight to the club and back, and then the other night we went to the fireworks show and walked straight back to the hotel. But there is an energetic atmospshere at nigh – lots of restaurants open, tons of people are walking around, on a Monday night no less! It’s far more fun than walking around during the day when you see how ugly many of the high rises are.

Vancouver is best seen at night

Once again I failed to eat poutin! But honestly, “french fries with brown gravy” does not sound like something I would enjoy. The sushi today was not as good as the one I had in Seattle or the sushi I had last time in Vancouver. In preparation for tomorrow, I have to look up a brunch place and a mountain/trail on the way back to Seattle. Vacationing with my mom is too much – I have to drive, plan, research, and keep her company. I can’t even leave her by herself because she is not capable of exploring alone. Exhausted!

omg I’m so tired that I lowered my glasses to apply eyedrops, and at the last second realized I was holding my open water bottle, not my eyedrops bottle. Narrowly averted disaster!

Seattle Day 26: The last day

This might have been titled “Vancouver” or “Roadtrip with mom: Day 1.” I haven’t decided how I will title them, but no matter, because instead of going to Vancouver today, we just did Seattle!

So… it turns out that my GPS does NOT have Canada maps programmed in. Which I discovered when we were already on the road and I wanted to put in the hotel address. I went to change the country and found out that I only have US, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Unexpected obstacle! So instead of going to Canada today, we just did all the Seattle stuff I wanted to do on Tuesday, and we’ll go to Vancouver tomorrow.

We were both really hungry so I decided we would go to the Ballard Farmers Market and get a crepe. Delicious! I got spinach and cheese again, but it wasn’t as good as last time. The batter was still good, but not the filling. I think the first crepe maker was more generous. We also got a dessert crepe with nectarines and blackberries, and they burned sugar onto it which made it so good. Then we walked around the shops and she wanted a croissant at Cupcake Royale so I was like PERFECT! I know the exact cafe to go to for croissants, so we walked to Cafe Besalu.

She did not like the croissant though – it was wayyy too buttery. I realized that I never agree with yelp reviews on desserts/pastries stores because the fattest ones get the best reviews and I feel really sick when I eat something with too much frosting, cream, butter, or sugar. I need bland desserts like the ones my mom makes, where she’ll cut the butter and sugar in half. And have zero frosting or cream.

Kite flying at Gasworks Park

Since this Seattle day trip was very much unexpected, I had to rack my brain for my favorite places, the logical order to do them, and nearby restaurants. I decided after Ballard, WA Park Arboretum, Gasworks Park, Paseo for sandwiches, then Greenlake. We did all the parks and my mom loved them, and I enjoyed being able to revisit them one last time. But I completely forgot Paseo is closed on Sundays, as was my backup, Mr Gyros. UGHHHH EFFFF YOUUUUU unreasonable restaurant hours! WHY would you not open on a weekend day?! They are too popular and don’t care about the weekend revenue I suppose. So guess what I found instead?

My delicious ramen

RAMEN. HA. I was going to go to Shawarma King in U-District but I was not in the mood to sit in a college town restaurant when I had been walking all day. So I found Aloha Ramen nearby in Greenwood. I was very apprenhensive because I am very incredulous about high reviews for Asian restaurants in Seattle, especially in such a non-Asian area like Greenwood. But it turned out to be really good! If they just added an “owned by Koreans” checkbox in yelp reviews, I would go to more new restaurants with less trepidation.

My mom picked the absolute worst blackberries. She didn't realize you have to pick the BLACK ones

Then we walked around Green Lake and now she is showering and I REALLY have to research Vancouver VERY thoroughly now, since I can’t rely on my GPS anymore. Let’s see how this trip ends … I hope I don’t end up in the middle of Canada.

Fun quotes:

me: I’m sorry today is not working out at all! You must be very hungry
mom: it’s ok! You’re taking me to eat crap!
me: what did you say?
mom: we’re going to eat crap now!
me: it’s pronounced crepe

mom: what a relief!
me: what?
mom: i pooed and I’m so relieved now! I lost a pound

I attempted to teach my mom how to take better pictures today. I thought that she took terrible pictures because she personally liked the way they turned out. I did not know she just DOES NOT KNOW how to take pictures. I kept saying “don’t take it of my leg! Only my upper half!” I later figured out that she takes long shots of me because she is so short. So I told her to just hold the camera higher.  I finally realized that when she adjusts the camera shot, she only moves it right or left and I said “WHAT ARE YOU DOING. You have to move it UP” and she went OHHHH. She blames me for getting mad at her for taking crappy pictures when I never taught her proper phototaking technique. But how am I supposed to know that she wouldn’t know how to move it UP?

Seattle Day 25: Mt Rainier Redux

I’m in the living room because my mom is sleeping in my room. I now have a glimpse into why it is so annoying to have parents visit your own home. I get SUPER annoyed whenever she tries to do something differently from the way I’ve grown accustomed. There are some habits I had to adapt to when I moved into this house (such as the way they dry dishes, clean countertops, etc) and it’s very bothersome when she goes “why don’t you have this or do this?” and will decide to do something her way when I tell her to do it another way. GAHHH

But my annoyance only started at night time. The daytime was a very pleasant time between my mom and me! We drove to Mt. Rainier and hiked the Skyline Trail! Not the whole Skyline Trail, we took the 1 mile shorter Golden Gate Trail on the way back. I’m glad, because then my route differed from the one I took with Caroline, so it wasn’t a complete repeat. The view today was worse because clouds formed when we arrived so we never saw a clear view of the glacier and Panoramic Point only had a few brief glimpses of clarity, and only in small windows. A lot of the flowers at the trailhead had already dried out, but at least there were a lot left around the second half of the trails. Although the views were nicer last time, this trip was still really fun and still incredibly gorgeous. We were standing in the middle of giant clouds, so it would feel like it was lightly raining, but it was just cloud moisture! Also, I saw lady elk and their babies!

Damn you cloud cover!

I found a FREE shuttle that takes you from Ashford to Paradise, with stops at Longmire and Narada Falls and others. It is the greatest thing ever! It’s funded by the WA Park Fund and Boeing. I love the idea of it – seniors and poor drivers like me can avoid the stressful mountain driving, and the park gets less car pollution and traffic! Win win. It was great to be able to just let someone do the driving (which is actually what I already do, but now I don’t have to feel guilty!) and also just nap on the bus. Look into it! More parks should do this.

To liven up pics, my mom will just randomly throw out an arm

On the way back, there were only seniors on the bus with my mom and me. Like 65+, I would guess. Then, a man who looked even older than anyone else on the bus gets on and starts doing a headcount. I say to my mom in Chinese “omg is he our bus driver?” He was. He was exactly what I imagine the dad who supplies the quotes for twitter.com/shitmydadsays would be like.

I saw at least five elk

My mom would not stop talking today, but in a good way. I have no idea where she pulls all of her stories from, but she will end up telling two or three stories at once. One thing I did not know: apparently when I was five my family had an exercise bike, and I would bike on it while reading. HAHAHA When we were in the car, listening to my roadtrip mix (more for me than for her) she said “that song was pretty good, it makes me feel very relaxed” about Matt Pond PA – Brooklyn Stars. I was really surprised she had paid attention at all to the song, because 1) it’s English and 2) she is usually fully concentrating on driving. I felt pleased then a few seconds after she said that, the song ended and the beats of Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind started. I thought “oh god … this is the worst song to follow what she had said.” Indeed, a little bit into the song she goes “WHAT IS THIS? This is considered music?! What’s he saying, ‘PASTRY. NACHO.'” I thought about what she had said and replied, “HE SAID ‘EIGHTH STREET’. AND ‘NEW YORK.'” She later says “I don’t like that song. But I like Alicia Keys!” and I said “THAT WAS ALICIA KEYS. and how do you even know Alicia Keys?” Apparently when she drives my brother’s car, she can’t multi-task and change the station so she just lets his radio stations play, which is why she appears to know a few American pop songs.

Step one: glacier

Also, A COP pulled over my mom. THE SLOWEST DRIVER in the world. It was totally a speed trap. Coming off the mountain and going onto another state highway, apparently there’s a very short residential run. But we didn’t notice the speed limit signs at all, so we were going maybe 40 in a 25? But the cop let my mom go which led her to clap her hands in excitement and go “OH THANK YOU THANK YOU! I’ve lived 25 years in CA and never got a ticket! And I drove one day in WA and almost got a ticket!” I’m glad I wasn’t driving because I probably would have also been going just as fast, and I have a speeding record 😦

Step two: glacier melt

We got home and instead of eating out, we decided to heat up yesterday’s leftover Thai and then I had cauliflower and bok choy I had bought and intended to throw away, but my mom cooked it instead. How hilarious that she comes to Seattle and ends up cooking for me. Now I have to research Vancouver. Researching is a lot more annoying now because I barely have any time and I’m exhausted (woke up at 6:30, haven’t stopped doing stuff until now, when I finished showering). Normally I would just research in the morning, but I have to wake up and entertain my mom. SHE IS TOO MUCH. I can’t believe I am traveling with her until 9/6. I am going to need a break from her when this is all over. Unfortunately for me, I will be living at home for a month upon my return.

Result: wildflowers! (not factually checked)

I remembered I had written a blog post about my last visit to Vancouver and it’s a little scary how little I remember from it. Which means it’s a good thing I’ve been updating my blog daily!

Will update later with pics but I am too tired to sort through them… I hope you’re still able to read blocks of unbroken text. Like in the old days

Seattle Day 24: Arrival of the Mom

Today and Monday will essentially be Seattle: The Greatest Hits. I’m taking my mom to all the places I love and I think she’ll enjoy. I picked her up from the airport today, then took her to Kubota Gardens, which I’d never been to before but since it’s close to the airport, it seemed like a good place to go, at least logistically. It was pretty cool but we didn’t make it to the waterfalls area because  the trails are not marked and are confusingly windy. My mom said “it’s ok! This was the appetizer and we still have our main course ahead of us!”

There were a lot of sound bites today. As is usually the case when I spend time with my mom. The ones most repeated: “it’s so COLD here!” and “OH it’s SO PRETTY!” I also liked “there are so many trees! I feel so relaxed in Seattle!” (while driving down the 5) and “I’m like a model!” (while I’m taking her picture in the gardens).

We went back to my place so I could drop off the car and we could take the bus to downtown. I figured she hadn’t eaten much since 4am when she got up, so she must be starving and eager to eat. Instead she looks at me and says “I was thinking I could take a nap! Only twenty minutes.”

So off to Pike Place around 3pm. It was already wrapping up, definitely a lot left to see but like any farmers market, probably best if seen before 1pm. I took her to Piroshky Piroshky which she loved. I had to put something in my purse so I told her to hold onto our three pastry bags as we were walking to the nearby waterfront grassy area to eat. I look behind me and see my mom clutching the three piroshkys in her arms, with a very childlike look of wonder as she was taking in all of Pike Place. It looked REALLY hilarious. While we were eating it, she says “so this is from a Russian bakery?” and I say “yeah, how did you know?!” and there’s a beat of silence before she says somewhat abashedly “it says so on the bag.” And there it was, “Russian bakery. Since 1992.”

My mom has an even stronger sweet tooth than me, and if you’ve been with me when I’ve spotted a tasty looking dessert, you can only imagine how much she loves sweets. She would stop to look at all the desserts of every bakery. And she LOVED the flowers of course. She kept saying “LET ME BUY YOU FLOWERS!” and I’m pretty sure she just wanted to have the joy of buying a $5 beautiful bouquet.

I’m glad I’m taking her to places I’ve already been to. I am especially glad that Caroline went with me to Mt. Rainier, because if I had only ever gone with my mom, I would be so pissed at all the pictures she would have taken of me. My mom is the worst photographer ever. For instance, this is what I take of her:

My mom at the Public Market

She then insists on taking my picture as well.

me: NO. You take terrible pictures
mom: No I don’t! You need to have faith in your mom!
me: fine
mom: oh yeah! This picture is great!
me (surprised): really?
mom: yeah! I didn’t get the words though
me: you didn’t get the words? Then what were you taking a picture of?

Me at the Far

We then went walked around downtown until the library, but it was closed 😦 Then walked along the waterfront street to Olympic Sculpture Park and then turned right to Space Needle. A lottt of walking and it wasn’t until the end when I realized we could have gone for free bus rides in downtown. But she said she would rather have seen all the water views so as long as it was worth something. Then took the bus back to my place, then took another bus to U District for Thai Tom.

As we’re walking closer to the restaurant, I see a huge mass of people standing outside some store and think “oh god … I really hope that isn’t Thai Tom.” Of course it was. The good thing is that most of them were just waiting for to go orders. The bad thing is, as I said before, there is enough room in the restaurant for 16 people, and even after we got the table, we were still waiting for all the to go orders to be made. It came though and was delicious!

Other fun things my mom did:

– Gets out of the car when we stop at Kubota Gardens and stands at the car trunk. When I ask “what? let’s go” she says “I need to get my hat!”
– We’re at my house and getting ready to leave for downtown after she unpacked a little. She’s sitting on the floor and starts taking out all of the snacks she brought and laying them out on the ground. She suddenly opens a bag of cookies and I say “what are you doing?! we’re going to eat soon!” and she says “oh my gosh! I’m like a child” and stuffs the cookies in her purse and gets ready to leave
– While waiting at Thai Tom, there was a single outside stool which she promptly sits on. She says to me “I’m the oldest person here, so I don’t feel bad sitting down!” There were two parents already in the restaurant, but indeed, everyone else was college age

Tomorrow, Mt. Rainier! Have to wake up early tomorrow. 😦 But I have to find out where to get food before I sleep! My life is just one big food quest

Seattle Day 23: University Village, etc.

Listening to: MGMT – I Found A Whistle

Today, Seattle did not fail me, I failed Seattle. The day was supposed to be packed with everything I wanted to do before I leave, but things just did not fall into place. I’m pretty sure that in a month I’ll have completely forgotten that the day didn’t go as planned, because that’s how my memory works. So I will just write as if everything went smoothly. You can tell by my very efficient itinerary of the day, which ended up being:

Northeast Library, University Village, U-District, home, University Village, U-District,  University Village, North Queen Anne, West Queen Anne, Fremont, home

One of many nice Queen Anne gardens

I FINALLY went to Ugly Mug Cafe in U-District. This has been on my list forever. Everyone loves their sandwiches, which are supposedly huge. Not the bulgogi sub, which is what I got, but it is still very much a meal-worthy size. It was soooooo good. The bulgogi was perfect and very well marinated. I would use my bread to soak up all the sauce that dripped out, even though it was mainly oil with just a little bit of sauce mixed in. Did not care. MUST CONSUME EVERY DROP OF SAUCE.

I knew University Village was a shopping area, but in my mind it consisted of a grocery store, maybe a Target, a cell phone service retailer, and other essential but unappealing suburban-type stores. Needless to say, I did not think it was worth going to. But then I got lost on my way to U-District and ended up in the parking lot entrance (University Village visit #1). From what I saw of the parking lot, not much to see. But then I had to go back to get something notarized (University Village visit #2), and when I parked my car, I was like OH WOW there are lots of stores! And they all look so inviting in their chain store glory! The second visit, I only went into one store called Ravenna Gardens, and saw LANTERNS!!! But NO TIME. I had to get to the post office stat. After the post office I was considering whether to go to Queen Anne, Madison Park, or back to University Village. It’s nice to have options in Seattle. I decided I HAD to go back to University Village for the lanterns (University Village visit #3).

Do not bring red or yellow umbrellas to Seattle: people will assume you stole them from the mall's complimentary bins

I realize now that I associated University Village of Seattle with Albany of NorCal. I saw the words “grad students” in the description of University Village and assumed the area’s main drawing point would be a Target, as it is for Albany. Instead, I found out that University Village is Seattle’s version of The Grove. An upscale outdoor mall promenade!!!

Such a nice shopping center

Ravenna Gardens was realllyyy cool. I FINALLY bought a lantern – the first one to my collection! I love it a lot even though it wasn’t on sale. I figure it’s the equivalent of a souvenir, and people totally spend $30ish on souvenirs right? It turns out Pottery Barn also has a lovely collection of lanterns, but mine doesn’t have that mass produced feeling.

At long last, a lantern that meets my standards

Another really cool store was Paint the Town, which sold ceramics that you paint and design yourself. The walls are shelves with unpainted ceramic objects, from light switch covers to dishes to vases to salt and pepper shakers to little ornaments. In the middle of the store are a bunch of small tables, where a ton of little kids were with their moms, decorating their pottery. It was suchhh a cute store and such a great idea. Perfect for upper middle class shopping centers!

First words to me: are you here to make something?

Next, Queen Anne. I had planned on going to Muse Cafe on 10th Ave which is where I wanted to begin my house tour. But I wasn’t in the mood for coffee at the time, and I wanted to go there to rest after my walk, so I just started walking. It turns out that the best houses of North Queen Anne are on 10th and 11th Ave, so I wasted some time going down 12th and 13th. Never go north of Dravus – the houses are still nice, but not AS nice.

I knew I was hungry when I started eating wild blackberries off the street

I think I can say I’ve walked a good 60-75% of all the streets in both North and West Queen Anne, which is pretty crazy. I headed back to Muse Cafe but AGHHH it had closed just 5 minutes before I got there! And THEN while taking a picture of a Queen Anne farmer’s market sign, I suddenly remembered the reason I had waited until Thursday to come here – there was a freaking farmer’s market today! I had completely forgotten since there was other stuff on my mind for most of the day. There was still an hour left, but I had other things planned, plus I know most vendors just go from farmers market to farmers market so I probably wouldn’t be seeing many new things. Sigh. Missed opportunity for a farmers market 😦

In Seattle, you have to look down for gardens, right and left for houses, and up for treehouses

Drove to West Queen Anne and parked on Highland Dr, which is where the ~mansions~ of Queen Anne are. I love looking at the mansions but I don’t really take pictures of them because they never come out on film the way they look in person. It kind of just cheapens the house when I take pictures of them. It was an awesome walk though, despite a few rain drops. Speaking of which, I was super excited that it would be overcast today, but then Seattle overdid it and there was rain until 1pm. The hardest rain so far! In the entire month, I’ve only had three days of rain: 2 light drizzles for only a few hours, and today, a light rain that wouldn’t even require windshield wipers on the lowest setting. There was a very nice chill around Queen Anne Hill though, which I loved. It was the kind of cold before a big storm in Berkeley, where your ears get cold and the air feels fresh. Love it.

A Queen Anne mansion. Does it look cheapened?

Since I was in Queen Anne and I have wanted a cup of freaking coffee for several days, but never got it, I decided to go back to El Diablo. I got the Cuban Toast this time! It was very buttery. It was definitely different from regular toast, but I can’t explain how. Got another cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate, because I can get mochas anywhere but how often do I get Mexican Hot Chocolates?! I think I am going to really miss Seattle coffee drinks when I return to CA. I was always a tea person and never thought much of the drinks I got in CA. I definitely tried a fair share in my CPA studying days back at Twiggs and other cafes. But Seattle coffee is definitely effing good coffee, and I don’t even have that much experience in it. It makes me want to try out a bunch of different cafes everywhere.

Then I drove to Fremont to eat at Paseo, the most yelped restaurant in Seattle. BUT UGHHH they ran out of bread! WHYYY SEATTLE. Or maybe I just eat far later for dinner when I’m on my own schedule? I’m debating getting a sandwich tomorrow before I pick my mom up from the airport, or just dragging her to eat Cuban sandwiches even though I don’t think she’ll like it that much.

There's a storm coming Harry

So the best parts of the day (because even though it was maybe my worst day of Seattle, it was still by leaps and bounds a very good day in general):

– Effing awesome food: bulgogi sandwich at Ugly Mug, Mexican Hot Chocolate at El Diablo
– Bought a cute new lantern AND the Huskies shirt!
– Explored one new neighborhood and re-visited three other ones

I may have spent more on a UW shirt than I ever did on a Cal shirt *shame*

My mom is coming tomorrow. I’m thinking of going to a cafe tomorrow morning just so I can drink a mocha. I’m toying with the idea of eating at Shawarma King in U-District right now, just because they are open until 3am, but I’m not hungry at all. I’ve wanted to go for a long time because I LOVE shawarmas, and when you have a name like “shawarma king,” it just sounds like THE place to go.

UNFINISHED, MUST COMPLETE:
– Paseo in Fremont for Cuban sandwiches
– MORE coffee in cute stores! (will yelp tomorrow, drink my fill of mochas and eat a pastry for funsies)
– Salumi in Pioneer Square for sandwiches (unlikely to accomplish)

Seattle Day 22: Seward Park and WA Arboretum

Listening to: The Avett Brothers – Paranoia in B Flat Major

OMG. I CAN’T EVEN. This post was going to be all about how perfect my day unexpectedly became, but now all my excitement is focused on Lauren Conrad being in BERKELEY for her book tour!!! FREAK OUT. EEEEKKK! She’ll also be in The Grove but I will be in SJ by that time 😦 But I would much rather see her in Berkeley than the Grove because I think it’s more likely that the line will be longer in the Grove than in Berkeley. I need to rush out of my first day of work and make it to Berkeley STAT. Ok. I need to collect myself before I write about my day.

A preview of part of my day

So it would appear that in Seattle, I constantly find myself:

1. Driving onto the freeway at the worst possible times
2. Crossing a body of water, usually Lake Union, without realizing it until much later when I think “wait … am I on the other side of Seattle?”
3. Thinking I’ve seen the best of Seattle until the next day when I find something even cooler

Today turned out VERY WELL without my planning. Things just fell into place perfectly and I saw all the right things at the right time. I ended up not doing the latter half of what I planned, mainly because I ended up being in much more awesome places.

Once again, I left the house at noon. Tomorrow is my last day of solitary Seattle exploration, so I am going to attempt to plan everything tonight so I can start early tomorrow! I pretty much only have houses left. And perfectly enough, tomorrow is supposed to be overcast! Everything is working out so well

Views of Mercer Island and Mt. Rainier

My first stop today was Seward Park, which was once an island bought by Seattle but the water level lowered enough that now it just looks like a little awkward appendage sticking out of Seattle. You basically walk in a giant loop around the park and get very good views of Mercer Island and some views of the financial district. I was very disoriented when I parked my car, because north was not where I had thought north was. So when I found a park map, I was staring at it for a very long time when an older man with a chihuahua walked by and asked if I needed help. I said “oh, just looking to see where to go” and he said “would you like to join me and Dulce for a walk?” and I said ok.

So that’s how I met Paul, whose 5 year old dog is named Dulce as in sweet, not Dolce and Gabbana. He was super nice and is writing a book about who the real Shakespeare is and goes to a lot of Shakespeare plays. I felt very uneducated because he would ask if I knew so and so or some historical event and I would be like “please assume that I have absolutely no education in history.” We walked the whole loop together which worked out well because I don’t think there was much I wanted to explore in the middle of the park and his dog always stopped right when I would think “this would make a fantastic picture!” HAHA Paul also offered me a slice of cheese, which I took. Then I saw him let his dog lick the knife he had used to slice the cheese with, and I wondered if I had just eaten a little dog saliva.

We parted ways when we finished the Seward Park loop. Seward Park is cool and I saw a ton of jet skis. I have the impression that Lake Washington, which it borders, is just a playground for the rich. If I move to Seattle, I hope I will be at the point in my life when I can buy 1) a kayak and 2) a jet ski. Oh, and skis, for the winter.

Then I drove to Columbia City which was just a little further north. My plans were to eat at Tacos El Asadero, a highly rated taco truck, Columbian City Bakery, Empire Espresso and Full Tilt for ice cream. But I also knew of a highly rated Caribbean restaurant, and by the time I finished Seward Park, I was in the mood for some Caribbean. It’s called Island Soul Caribbean Cuisine and it just might be the best food I have had in Seattle! I ordered a coconut cornbread muffin and BBQ Ribs (two ribs with rice and red beans and salad). I arrived at 3:00, which was right after the lunch rush so they seemed very busy and at first the service was slow but whenever I asked for something, they would respond so brightly that all would be forgiven.

You MUST go to Island Soul Caribbean Cuisine

I got my food and it was AMAZING. The meat was so tender that it just fell right off the bone. The muffin was soooo good. Sauce MMMMMMM I want to slap that sauce onto everything I eat! At one point, one of the workers (who I later found out was one of the co-owners? named Theo) left a pitcher of water on my table, which was just fine for me because I drink so much water. I had my hand on the pitcher and was about to pour some more into my cup when he rushed over and was like “let me get that for you!” and I was like “oh no don’t worry about it” and he said “oh, have you done this before?” HAHA and then I don’t know who started the conversation but we started talking and I told him how I thought the lunch was probably the best I’ve had in Seattle.

In-effing-credible

I think he said that his father opened the restaurant and he did most of the cooking but then he met Bobby and was like “damn, I can cook but Bobby can REALLY cook” so Bobby came on and they compared notes and together created AMAZING recipes. Then I met Carla, who is the manager and she was a very bubbly and super friendly lady. She also called me “SKINNY!” *beams* She said “OOO look at how SKEEENY she is! You need to come back so we can put some meat on you!” She told me that Columbia City is the most diverse zip code in Seattle and you can definitely tell by the people you pass and how many different restaurants there are in the stretch of three blocks. And it’s not a run down area like most “ethnic areas” are – the store fronts are very welcoming and the streets are wide!

Theo then brings over complimentary curried goat and oxtail for me! The oxtail was SOOOO good. One lady and her daughter came in and asked if it was happy hour, but it wasn’t for another half hour. But Carla says “it’s ok, we’ll make it happy hour for you!” Then after a few minutes, the mom asks if she can look at a lunch menu and I hear Carla exclaim “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? You want both lunch AND happy hour?!” HAHA I heart Carla. Man, I want to come back here all the time! And my bill ended up being only $10.44 even though I had a huge plate of ribs and the corn muffin! Insane! I thought they made a mistake when I looked at the receipt. They have even more options for dinner – mmm. I’ve never enjoyed a plate of meat as much as I did here…

Columbia City Farmers Market

Also, it just so happens that Columbia City’s farmers markets are on Wednesday! I just keep running into farmers markets in Seattle! It was mainly produce – a little smaller than Ballard but it had all the essentials. It even had the crepes stand I love! But I was so full after Caribbean.

I walked around there THREE times. Then I walked down Rainier Ave S, between Hudson and Edmunds, which is the main commercial area. They can really squish a lot into three blocks. There was a super awesome used bookstore called Bookworm Exchange. Pretty reasonably priced and a lot of good titles!

Surrounded by towering bookshelves

Then I went to Full Tilt Ice Cream and had a kid sized Mocha. Ice cream scoops in Seattle are WAY too big. The kid size was already too much for me. I didn’t loveee the ice cream though. I had hoped they would have coffee oreo, but I guess that’s not an everyday flavor. I think when the generic ice cream cone is the best part, that’s not a good sign. SO I HAVE DECIDED. EVERYONE BEAR WITNESS. I am from now on BANNING ice cream from my life! I have said it before – I always feel really gross after eating ice cream. The cream is just so heavy and it makes my pores feel yucky. It never leaves me with a good feeling and I’m not THAT happy when I eat it. The only exceptions will be: ice cream within ice cream cake and Ben and Jerry’s mint chocolate cookie. Actually, any mint ice cream is acceptable. Because the mint makes me feel fresh afterwards!

Sign in the ice cream shop. Not sure what it's asking for

So I didn’t eat at the taco stand (which is ok – I had Mexican two days ago) and I didn’t get any pastries (also ok – I’m not the hugest fan of pastries) and I didn’t get coffee at Empire Espresso (GRAVE ERROR! Soon I will no longer have access to Seattle coffee! I regret picking ice cream over coffee. BUT it was freaking 82 degrees today! Sweltering hot. I don’t like iced coffees so it seemed ridiculous to order a mocha with the weather). But the Caribbean tootttaalllyyy makes up for everything.

I finally left Columbia City about two hours later than I had planned. I really liked exploring that area. Who knew! I’m sure tourist books will never put Columbia City as a must see destination but I lurrrvveeddd it.

520 highway: The Evergreen FLOATING bridge

I had thought about exploring houses in Madrona and Madison Park (but not Leschi) but it was already 6 and since the sun was setting, I figured it would be a good time to walk around a park. So of course, RIGHT at the worst of rush hour, I get in the car and head onto the 5. It could not have been a worse moment or a worse place to drive on the freeway. I essentially went 2 miles, the section RIGHT after the financial district and before the suburbs. To make it worse, to exit, I had to go onto the 520 for about .7 miles, which, if you read yelp reviews, is often referred to as “the floating parking lot.” The 520 is really awesomely a floating bridge – but very unawesomely, the only route between Seattle and Bellevue/Kirkland.

Quack

So I finally arrived at Washington Park Arboretum. There were very few people there. Which is why I love exploring on the weekdays! When will I ever think “what a fantastic time to explore an arboretum! After a day of grueling work!” I walked around the arboretum but knew I would get bored quickly because there was no bodies of water around me. But I had read on yelp that there is a cool waterfront trail so I looked for that … and it was SOOO awesome. Most tourist books will tell you to go to the Japanese Garden in WA Arboretum but 1) you have to pay and 2) I’m pretty sure it couldn’t be better than the waterfront trail.

You can walk, drive, bike or canoe through WA Arboretum

This was another one of those times when I walked somewhere and then looked back and thought “wait … WTF did I just cross the bay?!” The waterfront trail starts north of the arboretum (so I guess the coolest part of WA Arboretum is not even in the arboretum?) and you cross under the 520, and it’s a wetlands area, so you don’t even realize you’ve crossed part of the bay! So then you end up on Foster Island, and then you cross freaking FLOATING WALKWAYSSS and then end up in Marsh Island, and then you cross a small bridge and end up in Montlake! And all the while I had really great views of the sun setting on Union Bay, with the Husky Stadium in the distance, boats, kayaks, and canoes floating past me. The coolest thing I can’t get over is FLOATINGGG WALKWAYSSS.

Have I mentioned the FLOATING WALKWAYS???

I walked back, walked around two blocks of Madison Park, determined that I should walk here again tomorrow night to see the houses, then drove home. Ate an apple and some cake. OK. It’s 12:40 … I think the most important thing is to decide what I will be eating tomorrow. Ugly Mug Cafe, of course. Paseo, of course. ANY MORE??? What coffee shop?! What about fish tacos?! And shawarmas?! And more sushi???

View of Husky Stadium

Seattle Day 22: Capitol Hill

I came home last night and just fell asleep on my bed so for once I’m doing a post the following day. I went to Capitol Hill yesterday which didn’t really have anything I was interested in but I felt like I had to cross it off my list anyway. It’s a very hipster area and it’s the kind of place you go at night for clubs and bars, rather than in the daytime like I did. It’s just east of downtown, so everything looks kind of old and Mission District SF-ey. You kind of have to already know where to go because none of the storefronts are very inviting. I didn’t realize that parking was limited to two hours. At first I was going to change up my schedule but in the end I just moved my car twice. Even if there is that annoying parking time limit, there is a lot of parking available so it ended up not being much of an issue.

Capitol Hill

I don’t know why whenever I go to somewhere with “hill” in the name, I am always really surprised to find out that the streets are on inclines. It’s surprising how aptly named streets and locations are. The main shopping areas are down Broadway E (N/S) and Pike (E/W). I wasn’t interested in any of the stores except Elliott Bay Books which is a huge bookstore that’s often listed in tourist destinations. It had a warehouse facade where the front wall was essentially just windows.  The interior had light wood paneling, so the light made the store look gorgeous. It’s the kind of place where you could let hours pass without realizing it. I really liked one book I found, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, but didn’t buy it. I have no idea when was the last time I bought a book unrelated to school – it was most likely Harry Potter.

I love how so many bookstores do recommendations

I also stopped in a Sonic Boom Records and UGH bought a CD that I just found downloadable online. Sadness. Well, the cover is nice so it’s not a complete waste. I got Colin Meloy Sings Live – who would have thought that a live cd would be easy to find online. I essentially paid $8 to get a live version of The Engine Driver, which is what I really wanted. (Although this youtube video is comparable.) I guess it’s mellow enough for my future SJ commutes. If I recall, SJ stations are really staticky so I will need to stock up on some “let’s make work exciting!” cds.

Cal Anderson Park randomness

I passed by Cal Anderson Park many times since my car was parked around there. It has the feel of a Berkeley park (read: homeless) but it’s well kept and there are interesting sculptures. The first time I passed, this guy was throwing a frisbee to his two dogs in the giant fountain. So cute!

Chasing a frisbee in the fountain

I ate a smoked salmon crepe at Saley which was good but a little too much sauce. I had planned on finding a coffee shop and reading for a little bit but by 6ish I didn’t want to walk any more than two blocks because I had been going in circles all day. Then Frances C’s dad called me (HAHA) because he is working in Seattle and I told him we should eat dinner together. So I drove to Lynnwood which is north of where I live, and we ate at an Italian restaurant. HAHA He claims he did not think his daughter’s friend from childhood inviting him to dinner was weird.

I was going to drive home but had an insane craving for a mocha so I drove to U-District around 10pm. Without the use of my GPS, amazing! Although, as long as you can count street numbers, you can figure out how to get anywhere in the U District. I felt oddly comfortable walking down University Ave, like I could recognize the stores and have a sense for what was coming up. Unfortunately I struck out – THREE TIMES. All three cafes I knew of were closed and nothing else seemed open. Cafe Solstice 😦 Starlight on the Oasis 😦 and Ugly Mug Cafe 😦 So I just drove back home and sure enough, when I woke up my sweet craving was gone. So I guess I saved myself a hundred or so calories.

I had to stick this in here: I love this Laurie's handwriting

Ok now I have to look up where to eat near Seward Park! I wake up at 9am usually but I never plan to leave until noon so I’m always amazed that after watching tv and doing nothing, I still have so much time left in the day.

Seattle Day 21: West Seattle

Listening to: Ingrid Michaelson – You and I

I think my body is beginning to reject the endless exploration regime I’ve been putting it through. This body just wants to sit around and watch tv, damn it! Or maybe today’s adventures were just not exactly what I love. Actually, I think the more likely explanation is that it was a little warmer today (75, good god!) so I was not in the mood to walk around aimlessly.

I’m already very tired. I got home around 7:30 after leaving at noon and fell asleep on my bed at 8:30. Woke up to shower and now I’m very slowly putting together a blog entry even though I just want to sleep. I wish I had the energy to read when I come home, but I can barely stay awake as is.

You can see the Olympic Mts poking out of the clouds

The plan today was: Lincoln Park, Schmitz Preserve, Alki Beach. Lincoln Park is another part-beach part-forest park. It’s located in Fauntleroy, which is where you would go to catch the ferry to Vashon Island, one of Seattle’s island day trip destinations. Lincoln Park has the only public saltwater pool in Seattle. I wanted to take more pictures of the pool, which looked Olympic sized, but did not want to look like a pedophile. The water here is extremely blue and there is essentially no sand at the shore, just a lot of rocks. And, lots of seaweed!

Very clear day today

Maybe if I had come to this park earlier, I would have really loved it. But I’m starting to have hit almost all the major Seattle parks, so by now I’m kind of like meh. It would be cool if I lived here and spaced it out, but since I’m going to parks every other day and never spending any time trapped in an office or my room, the greenery and water seem mundane. Oh, the problems of a vacationer.

Do they have pools on the beach in CA?

I ate very little for breakfast, so I was really hungry. I had yelped places in W. Seattle, but there wasn’t as much to choose from as other neighborhoods. But there was a very highly rated Bakery Nouveau, famous for their croissants. I am not a big fan of croissants so I wasn’t set on going, but by 3pm, I was super hungry. I’m glad I went because I had the most delicious pear danish EVER. I was choosing between this and a twice baked almond croissant, but chose the pear danish for the illusion of eating fruit. mmm soooo good – there was a little custard under the pear so it wasn’t as dry as croissants normally are. Seattle bakeries are very good.

Bakery Nouveau's pear danish

The highlights of my day were the food that I ate. If only I could jump from restaurant to restaurant and magically empty out my stomach and the calories and just eat everything. I wish I had someone to go to Mashiko with – I don’t think I could justify eating there if I went alone

More selections from Bakery Nouveau

I stopped by Easy Street Records again, which is officially the only place I have gone to twice in Seattle. Out of all the parks, restaurants, cafes and stores, of course it would be this one! I didn’t find anything I really wanted though. I feel like I need to expand my music collection again – walking around listening to my ipod all day very quickly wears out the songs I like.

Continued my drive to Schmitz Preserve, which is the only old growth forest in Seattle. 53 acres of hiking trails! Fun for some people, but I am not one to enjoy being surrounded by conifers. All the trails were unmarked, so I was really scared of getting lost. My first tactic was to always go left, but then it started getting more and more elevated and I thought to myself “well … I can exert all this energy and probably just see the same old trees. Or I could turn back.” I turned back and tried a few different trails and luckily kept a fairly good sense of where I was. I don’t know if there was anything particularly cool that I missed, but I DID see an alligator!

An unexpected find in the Pacific NW

Then I went to Belvedere Viewpoint, which is supposedly where you get a great view of Seattle. Alki is the closest to Downtown Seattle without being in Downtown Seattle, so the financial district buildings look much larger than from any other general viewing point. But Belvedere Viewpoint has a ton of trees that obstruct the views so it wasn’t the greatest place to go. The houses on 37th Ave SW have a much better view than what you could get on the hill. There are very good views of the massive container ship loading area though

Filled with China's exports?

It was now 4pm and rather warm and I was not in the mood to walk around Alki Beach. I realized that I had already done it and the reason I wanted to redo it was to see more Alki houses, but after seeing Queen Anne houses, I would rather walk around Queen Anne. I already took photos of Seattle from Alki’s perspective, and there aren’t any particularly good restaurants in Alki so I decided to go to Ballard instead. This decision comes after a very long internal debate, as many of my decisions do. So I drove up to Ballard, thankfully I decided before rush hour really hit since I was driving past the financial district. I went to the Hiram Chittenden Locks, which is … well … I didn’t really pay attention to the displays. It’s some sort of civil engineering creation that allows ships to pass and has something to do with salmon migrating. You can wikipedia it if you’re that interested.

Pretty much as exciting as it gets

The locks are more touristy than worthwhile amusement. They advertise a botanical garden but it’s not much. I think I would have really enjoyed this during salmon migration season but now is not that time, unfortunately.

Very steep stair-shaped grassy hill

Then, the real reason I went back to Ballard – La Carta de Oaxaca! I sat at the counter – the only person at the counter 😦 It was the first time I felt a little lonely in Seattle! Although I think 75% of my loneliness is from PMS, not actual loneliness. I just had to avoid making awkward eye contact with the lady handmaking tortillas in front of me. I ordered molotes and it was DAMNNNN delicious. While I was eating them, I kept looking at the menu and debating what else I could order. If I lived in Seattle longer, I would probably try everything on the menu at least once

Potatoes, beef sausage, guac, cheese, and hot sauce wrapped in tortilla

It was intensely good.

Tomorrow … well I was going to do Seward Park but maybe I need to break up the parks with some Capitol Hill. I will decide tomorrow when I wake up…

Seattle Day 20: Ballard and Fremont

Watching: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Obvious tip #1: a very smart thing to do before you embark on a journey is check when things open and close. The Ballard farmers market ends at 3, the Fremont market at 5 – good thing I caught this, otherwise I would have gone to Fremont first and probably missed the Ballard one. I left the house at noon, which is timely for any other day except farmers market days! You have to go to farmers markets fairly early to take in the full “I’m surrounded by vegetables and people!” experience.

Ballard Farmers Market, Sundays on Ballard Ave NW

Ballard’s farmers market is realllyyyy cool. It’s mainly produce and flowers, a few stands here and there selling crafts, jewelery, meats, breads, and more. They put it on Ballard Ave, so you have cutesy shops and restaurants surrounding the long row of stands. The street musicians were really good too – I heard an accordionist play Ratatat! That was a highlight.

If you fear getting baby fever, do not go to a farmers market. If you’re feeling lonely and unloved do not go to a farmers market. But if you want to people watch and overhear conversations and observe cute and casual fashion, farmers markets are the way to go. Farmers markets seem to be primarily frequented by couples, couples with kids, and pregnant ladies. And lots of dogs. I actually turned off my ipod and went for an hour and a half without music, which is unheard of. It was really pleasant to hear street musicians, pleasant chatter and vendor talk. Behind Pike Place, this may be my favorite farmers market!

Giant veggies!

I walked around the booths three times. All three times very slowly. The first two, I was like “wowww I have to make sure I soak this in” and the third time I was like “now I have to walk reverse to make sure I caught all the great angles!” The stands here are overflowing with flowers and vegetables. I really wish I had a giant camera so I could take pictures of people and it would be artistic, rather than creepy with my point and shoot.

I had planned on going to La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard and Paseo in Fremont for my meals – they are two very highly yelped restaurants. Paseo has the most yelp reviews in Seattle and STILL maintains a 4.5 star rating. Unfortunately, I found out before I left (again, good thing to check!) that they are both closed on Sunday! UGH. Now I have to somehow squish in another two meals into my already tight schedule. Right now, it seems like Thursday is going to be my Misc. Seattle day, where I attempt to do everything I told myself I had to redo, or failed to do. Anyway, since those restaurants weren’t open, I figured I’d just grab something at the farmers market.

This may look gross but it was AMAZING

And I ended up eating THE BEST CREPE EVER. I like crepes enough – they are basically a great excuse to eat cheese for meals – but I’ve never thought they were that special. But I got one from a stand and it was amazzzinggg. Spinach, mozerrella cheese, feta cheese, and an egg. The batter was perfect, not too buttery, light but just the perfect thickness. Cheese in every bite! omggg … thinking about it now, I want another one!!! I never appreciated a good crepe batter until I had an insanely good one. I ate the crepe very slowly while sitting on the curb because I was people watching. I love observing people’s fashions. From today, I’ve decided that if I’m going to continue wearing sneakers, I’m going to have to buy tight black yoga pants so it’s fashionably acceptable. So the next time you see me, I may be wearing yoga pants!

Seattle women have the best collection of boots and cardigans. Now I’m in the mood to go shopping. But there is no time! I loved so many outfits that I saw.

I've gone to so many music stores, bookstores and parks in Seattle

I finally left the farmers market when I felt satisfied that I had soaked up as much of the atmosphere as possible. Then I walked down NW Market St (between 20th and 24th) which has a ton of shops and restaurants. Then I went to the Ballard Public Library which is much prettier than the Greenlake one, got two memoirs, and then drove off to Fremont! (So I guess I was able to get books from other branches after all!)

Fremont is the type of area where the attractions are things you can see for twenty seconds and be done with it. Mainly art stuff that you see on the streets. The farmers market was more antiques and crafts, which is not really what I like. It was fun to walk around, but I didn’t buy anything. I am forever on the lookout for lanterns and postcards though. There was also food here, including The Ebelskiver Lady who sells Danish pastries. From what I could tell, they looked like pancake balls that can be filled with anything – nutella, bacon, jam, lox, honey… The fillings sound delicious but I could tell I would feel really guilty if I ate them so I didn’t get anything.

Fremont Farmers Market on 34th Ave

Then I walked around the Fremont shopping area, which is mainly Fremont Ave between 34th and 36th street. I only intended to find the Fremont Troll, but I ended up seeing all of the Fremont landmarks. There’s the Lenin statue, the center of the universe sign, the Fremont Troll, and my favorite, Waiting for the Interurban

Waiting for the Interurban

It’s five statues waiting underneath a fake bus stop. People will dress them up and put things on them, sometimes to announce a birthday, wedding, etc, or just for fun. I wish I could take a picture of it every day and see how it changes over time.

I walked two bridges today – the Fremont bridge which is a drawbridge, and the Aurora 99, aka “Suicide Bridge.”

Fremont bridge: shorter, cuter, quieter

Burke-Gilman trail is a 27mi trail that starts in Ballard and goes along the bottom of North Seattle, and finally ends in Kenmore. From the parts I’ve seen, and the fact that it’s 27mi one way, it’s mainly used as a bike path for commuters and weekend recreation. I feel like since I’ve taken a few steps on the trail, yesterday and today, I can cross this off my list!

Fremont Bridge being drawn

Aurora 99 is a faster way of getting to Downtown Seattle. The other option is the 5. It’s called Suicide Bridge since you’re allowed to walk on it, unlike the 5, and it’s high enough that you can throw yourself into the waters below. They are putting fences up right now to prevent any more suicide attempts on the bridge. I know because the better side (east side) of the bridge was closed! It’s better because that side has the views of downtown. But I got good pictures of Queen Anne I suppose. Also, below the 99 is where the Troll lives.

The Fremont Troll claims another

After I walked the bridge, it was only 7pm which is fairly early. I went home and was really hungry and wanted to drive to U District and buy a gyro or something, but I have a ton of vegetables that have been in the fridge for a while. I really regret buying groceries – I have so many restaurants I have to try! I can’t believe I spent the first few days in Seattle thinking they had nothing to offer here. Imagine how much more sushi I could have eaten!!! I ate two heads of broccoli and half an onion for dinner. COOKED, of course.

Fremont from the 99

But then I was deciding between going to U District to read at Cafe Solstice and get ice cream at Full Tilt, or go to Wallingford for Molly Moon’s. I finally decided that I would feel really full if I had ice cream and a coffee – plus, I only want to go to Cafe Solstice to listen to their music, which is a somewhat lame reason to spend $4. So I drove to Molly Moon’s – WITHOUT my GPS! AMAZING. Yes, there were only two turns, but still! I am so dependent on my GPS, this is a huge victory.

Molly Moon had a line just as long as Ici’s. I waited twenty five minutes to get my cone. But it was REALLY good. I sampled sweet basil (not as good as I thought Ici’s was) and bumbleberry (to celebrate Bumbleshoot) but ended up getting a waffle cone of scout mint, which is peppermint and Thin Mints. I love anything minty! I loved the flavor … and the cone was AWESOME. They make their own cones – the register person has to multitask between money duties and putting batter on three waffle irons. I’d say the cones are on par with Ici’s, except Ici’s are more decadent with the chocolate filling.

So that was my day. Getting ice cream alone is kind of lonely. Oh well. AH four more days! I feel like I need another two weeks here. I really want to just sit in cafes and read! Seattle is the most read city in the nation, apparently. Most books bought and most books checked out. Probably because of the weather. Everything is because of the weather here.

The separation between Queen Anne and Fremont is a watery one