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Day Eight: Seattle

Erp and I enjoyed our first night of full sleep, on comfortable, non-transient surfaces, and with no impending checkout. So we took our time getting ready to go. We got out the door at about 11:45am, and got downtown on the #4 at about 12:05pm. Our first order of business, that day, was to visit the most touristic place in Seattle: Pike Place Market.

I had never seen it before, in film or photograph, so I had quite a treat in store. The market is arrayed between First Avenue and an indeterminate point close to the waterfront, and is about a quarter of a mile long. Inside, visitors can find shops of almost anything they want: touristic souvenir crap, Laosian food, spicy jelly(I liked this very much!), row after row of exotic flower arrangements, priced at a fraction of what they'd cost anywhere else, and of course, fish markets.

The most famous of these fish markets(I'd had no idea) is one where the aproned employees all shout out orders at the same time, which are almost always some variety of salmon, and chuck the ordered fish forty feet into waiting hands. It was very entertaining.

We got some delicious Greek food for lunch, and hit the market. The whole thing is gorgeous. In addition to all the folks milling about, and all the shops and stands, there are also a lot of rogue street entertainers, making the whole thing a very impressive sensory experience.

The previous night, Renee at the 5-Spot ardently recommended that we visit the Jolly Roger taproom, a peasant-level interface to the Maritime Pacific Brewery, and gave us cryptic directions to get there on transit. The next day, the directions were absolutely unreadable. As we recalled, Renee had a new idea every four seconds, and would start writing anew in another direction on the back of the already tiny business card she was using. Eventually, I just called information to get their number, and it turned out it was closed on Sundays anyway.

We decided to head up to the Seattle Center and check out the Space Needle and Bumbershoot. Bumbershoot is a festival held in Seattle every Labor Day weekend, with carnival rides, live music, political activists handing out pamphlets, and hippies selling weed-smoking paraphernalia.

One of my favorite bands, the New Pornographers, was playing that night. The downshot was that it would cost us over $30 to get in, plus whatever we'd spend on overpriced event beers. Slightly depressed, we headed over to the Space Needle, with a mind to go up and get a World's Fair-eye view of the Emerald City. On the way, I spotted a tent with familiar logos all over it. We stepped inside, and saw that a Quake 4 deathmatch tournament was going on. We watched for a little bit, and soon Erp was a bit exasperated at how interested people could be in something like that. Different strokes, I guess.

The Space Needle costs $14, just to ride an elevator up and look around. e passed on that too, and opted instead, on Geoff's recommendation, for the Experience Music Project, a music museum ambitiously priced at $20 for admission. It was interesting, make no mistake, but I don't think it was worth what we paid. I would have loved to go to the adjacent Science Fiction Museum and seen Captain Kirk's command chair, but I think I geeked out a little too much watching the Quake tournament, and I think Erp was starting to think I was uncool.

After an hour or two more on our feet, we left the Experience Music Project footsore and ready for a bite and a nip. We found a pizza place nearby called Zeek's, got a slice and a pint, and were energized. We had no idea where we wanted to go, so we just picked a bus and got on. Turns out that bus(the #16) went to a northeast neighborhood called Wallingford. Erp spotted a sign near a turn in the route for a taproom for the Elysian Brewery, which enjoys the best name of any brewery. We pulled the stop cable, went inside, and had a couple pints. Among these was the delectable Avatar Jasmine IPA, which actually tasted like flowers.

We asked the bartenders what was a good place to go, in the neighborhood, and they recommended Die Bierstube, over at 61st and Roosevelt, about a twenty five minute walk away. We settled our tab, and went on our way. Die Bierstube was lovely, but wasn't really what we were looking for. We each had one beer, and walked back up the street to a hole in the wall called the Atlantic Point, which I kept calling the Atlantic Starr. I love the 80s.

From there, we stepped around the corner to a bar called Teddy's which is not repeat not, a lesbian bar. Erp annihilated me in darts, and we both decided that we were famished. We asked the bartender for a tip-off on 24-hour cuisine, and got an unequivocal order to go to Beth's Cafe on Aurora, in another part of town. Luckily, the cabbie knew where it was, and dropped us off there about eight dollars later.

Beth's is awesome. Almost all of their breakfast-any-time plates include all-you-can-eat hash browns. I was expecially intrigued by this while I was still hungry, but after polishing off my plate, I found that I couldn't eat another bite. We hailed another cab, and went to bed. In the cab on the way back, we learned from the radio that Steve Irwin, the Australian madman that bills himself as the Crocodile Hunter, had died. We spent the rest of the ride in silence.

12:40 PM, Sep 5, 2006

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