At the end of one of my recent posts I mentioned that I had just gotten my first “real” camera – a Canon digital SLR. I’ve been amazed at the quality of the pictures it takes and how easy it is to use. However, sometimes when I am traveling light a big camera is not thing I want to haul around. I still have my trusty Power Shot point and shoot, but increasingly I find myself using my iPhone and the camera apps Instagram, Hipstamatic and Camera + for every day picture taking and sharing.
I remember some camera advice being “The best camera you have is the one that’s with you,” but I may also be remembering that advice incorrectly. In any event, on our recent long weekend trip to the west coast I made the most out of my iPhone to document the trip, including a short one up the Space Needle!
Though I lived in Portland, Oregon and have been through Seattle a few times I had never had time to explore it. While February is not the ideal time to go as a tourist and will remind anyone who has lived in and moved away from the Pacific Northwest precisely why they made that choice (persistent grey skies and cold rain), it’s still a fun and relaxed city. I discovered great food, excellent coffee, nice views, and a surprisingly stylish hair salon! I also only took off my sweater and wool scarf to change into wedding attire for a few hours. It may be green and non-icy, but Seattle is cold in the winter!
My first morning I met up with the groom’s side of the wedding party (the wedding being the reason for our weekend trip) at Pete’s Egg Nest for a post-bachelor party brunch. Pete’s is a quintessential greasy spoon that is crowded on weekends and dishes up huge servings of eggs and hash browns. That’s a way to beat the winter – drink more coffee and eat more eggs!
For a wedding weekend we had a surprisingly relaxed time and I even found a chance to get my hair cut. I can be lazy about making time for a trim and because my hair is so short I have to stay diligent about it or suddenly, before I’m even aware of it, about two months after my last cut, I look like a sheepdog. Fortunately A. (the groom) recommended Derby Salon, just north of the U District. I was unsure, but as soon as I walked in and saw the Bumble and Bumble and Dermotologica products for sale, the retro aesthetic, and the cool, friendly people working there I knew I had found the right place.
Just down the street from Derby is another den of pampering and temptation: The Trading Musician, a locally owned music equipment store that sells new and vintage equipment. SMH was late in meeting me, so I amused myself by playing around with Phaser pedals. You know when you are in a shoegaze band when you can always justify one more pedal (just like one more pair of shoes). After hemming and hawing about features, tone, uniqueness and analog vs. digital I came away with a simple, functional “Small Stone” El Nano pedal made right here in New York City by Electro Harmonix.
After checking out the sights it was time for the wedding. It was nice to have a chance to dress up and be celebratory amidst the rain and the fog of the northwest winter. It was also inspiring to be at a wedding that was so much a product of the bride and groom’s vision and valued their relationship, family and friendships above all. There was also some funny internet confusion because the bride’s first name is my last name. No, I’m not getting married yet.
The day following the wedding we decided to work off our post-party stupor by getting in our Seattle tourist fix. Now, let me explain that SMH is from the northwest, so any tourist activities were mostly for my benefit. I can also say that a lunch of fresh seafood at Elliott’s Oyster House was a great experience for all. They are committed to local and sustainable seafood and are extra sensitive to food allergies. Their dining room has a great view of the ferry dock, so you can watch the Washington State ferries come and go on their way to Bremmerton and other points in Puget Sound.
After I was satiated with fresh fish there was one more touristic thing we had to do. It really is THE touristic thing. Yes, the Space Needle. As a New York City resident for ten years I have proudly never gone to the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, or Rockefeller Center. But in another city, why not? I love idea of the past imagination of the future space age, and while the view was mostly of the shifting fog and clouds, it was completely worth the $19 is cost to ride the elevator 600 feet up in sixty seconds. Viewed from the sky I started to gain a better understanding of the city and it’s relationship to the water, sky, trees and mountains, which were well hidden behind winter’s clouds.
However, sometimes when you visit a popular tourist attraction, unfortunate things happen. I’ll leave you with this fetching image.