Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chewing gum with geeks in Seattle

This post is a couple of days out of date... but hopefully you wont mind...thats if anyone actually reads it!!

Ok, if you have ever met me than you may well know that I Iike numbers and counting. So it won’t surprise you that I have two statistics to tell you about from today....

Firstly my two flights today are the 220th and 221st flights I have taken in my lifetime (Not including helicopters, airkix wind tunnels or planes in which I have taken off in but not landed....Parachuting, just in case you are confused.) Secondly, I have been very lucky in my flight history – I have never, ever had a flight cancelled until today. This is a first for me and like the day when I got eaten by leeches, chased by a Rhino and attacked by a Crocodile in Nepal, I’m actually glad it happened because it’s strange and wonderful experiences like I have had today that teach you not to worry about too much and just go with the flow. (I take exception to this rule for dickheads with their pants hanging down showing their crap underwear and people who talk so loudly I can hear then from another continent – These things piss me off and it’s a good job I no longer carry a gun at any time.)


Still hungry?

Hawaiian woman - with huge sore on her face?

Hawaiian man - no trousers required

 After a long morning of waiting around and going slightly mad at Honolulu airport, I finally boarded my alternate flight just after 11am. It wasn’t a problem, I had a good hour spare so that I would be able to catch my connecting flight in San Francisco. But that all changed pretty quickly, as we were told the plane had a fault. The galley (Kitchen area where the food is stored) had a power problem and they were trying to repair it. But we were told it would only take 5 minutes. I personally didn’t give a shit as I had eaten two free meals with my vouchers for my earlier flight being cancelled. Surely it wasn’t that important? 

Just over half an hour later, we were still sitting waiting at the departure gate the Captain explained that they were going to re-boot the entire plane. Turn it all off and back on again! Honestly, what a crock of shit. Why didn’t they do it earlier? Anyway, this fixed the problem but took another 15 minutes, so we were now nearly an hour late taking off. We were then told that the tailwind was very light and we couldn’t make any time up so would be landing 2 minutes after my connecting flight was due to take off. 

Not to worry though – there’s nothing I could do, so I watched a movie and read a little before we arrived just as the pilot had said – 2 minutes after my flight should have left. I managed to get myself to the front of the plane and exited quickly just in case there was any chance of my flight still being there and guess bloody was!! 

The funny thing is that my next flight, to Seattle, had also developed a fault and they were finding a replacement plane to take over. They had just found one when I arrived at the gate – but then disaster, this too had a bloody fault!! (Are all United airlines planes broken? All of today’s have been knackered in some way – It’s like a meeting of all the old elephants as they make their way through the bush towards the elephant graveyard – they are all fucked!!) Anyway, after watching a dad steal his kids video game while the kid looked on obviously annoyed and one bloke try to argue with the stewardess, who got a round of applause for taking his shit and giving it back, we finally boarded the replaced and repaired plane an hour and a half after I should have been on my original re-booked flight. I have no idea anymore how long ago I should have boarded my original original cancelled flight!! 

All in all it’s been a hectic, but fun day.  I made it to Seattle, my bag made it too and its only just past midnight. I will get some sleep and then have two days to see the city....

Hmmm, this is now a little weird. I’m in the North West of the country and the weather is about 10 degrees. It’s a dull, cloudy grey day with a hint or damp in the air. Yep, what I’m trying to say is that this town feels like home...It feels like Manchester! It’s actually a nice city, although I’m staying in a hostel in a dodgy area and I have had a good look around in the time I have spent here. But what have I seen?
Inside Seattle library

and the outside

I obviously had to go and visit the Space Needle – the Icon of Seattle that overlooks the city. It’s a beautiful sculpture and as ever I had to go up and have a look at the views from the top. Even though it was a grey day, there were still great views down into the hearth of the city about a mile south of the tower as well as some really cool stuff just below. This is where the World’s Fair was held when the tower was built and now houses colourful gardens with glass almost Christmas like decorations as well as a music museum and one building with a painting on the roof that cleverly make it look like there are two huge mosquitoes sitting there.
There is a lot more to the city than just the Space Needle though – Pike Place market is how a market should be – colourful, fun and busy. You could but anything in there from fruit and veg to stones with quotes carved into them. I dint buy anything though as I was looking for a small tunnel just below the market where for no apparent reason, thousands of people have stuck chewing gum to every available space. It is called ‘Gum Alley’ and you can smell the gum as you get towards it. I actually think its brilliant – a piece of artwork grown out of what was probably someone’s habit on the way to work about 30 years ago. I will have to find out how it started, but it’s really colourful and a lot of fun – although a little bit disgusting -but that is also good!
More of the library

Seattle from the space needle

I have no idea what she was carrying


I visited the new football stadium and the baseball stadium beside it which has an industrial feel about it with its huge steel girders holding up the massive roof. I also took a walk down the famous Alaskan Way, down by the waterside where you get a great view of the city again and out across the bay, where there actually IS place called Manchester! 

The football stadium....

...nest door to the baseball stadium

Seattle from the waterfront

The Olympic sculpture park is interesting with its steel tree and in the city centre there is another small crop of trees that have been painted bright blue! Everywhere you look there is something interesting to see – this was made even more apparent when I followed a strangely dressed couple towards the Convention centre where ‘Comic Con’, started today. I then spent ages stood above the escalator and watched as thousands of geeks made their way in dressed as their favourite characters.  Han Solo, Princess Leia, Storm troopers, Bane, Batman and robots were all there. I actually felt a little left out as some of the costumes were brilliant!
One of my favourite parts of Seattle though was the library – Normally just basic buildings, this library is superb. Diamond shaped glass adorns the outside walls that veer off at odd angles. Then inside the open space is awesome. At times it’s like being in a lounge – with deep carpets and comfortable chairs - then you come across steel fencing and more glass that makes it feel industrial again. There is even a bright red corridor with smooth curvy walls that could be a spaceship in Hollywood movie. This is the only library I have even been in that has a ‘viewpoint’, 10 floors up where you can look down through an atrium at the people below and into the different levels. Even madder is the lime green colour in the lift – it’s a mad place, but brilliant too!

More Gum

even more gum

looking down from the space needle

cool buildings

I have had a great time in Seattle and could stay a lot longer, but tomorrow is the end of my latest trip. I fly back to Winnipeg, via Minneapolis and leave at 5am. I need a few weeks rest before I start planning my next journey.  

Nice hammer!

Han solo?


Not nice, but cool!

His eyes changed!

No idea!
 So that was the end of my latest trip. Im back in Winnipeg now and will update the world and its people with more stuff soon. I have some really good shit to show you!! Here are some more photos from Seattle for now....take a look near the end - Han Solo had his girlfriend dress up as Princess Leia and she doesnt look happy!!

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