My main takeaways (big-picture ones, that weren’t already covered in previous blog posts):
- Seattle is surprisingly dynamically terraneous. It has a very diverse mixture of water, hills, vegetation, and man-made structures. Most cities have a “theme” to them, but Seattle feels like its theme is just having a little bit of everything.
- Cities near the ocean are usually unbearably humid for me, but for some reason, Seattle didn’t actually really seem that humid.
- It’s nice going places with a travel companion. If I hadn’t brought my assistant Monica along with me, I probably wouldn’t have had the motivation to explore the city as much as I did, and the trip definitely wouldn’t have been as fun.
- Even though I’ve seen all the hate towards law enforcement associated with the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests on the news, it was still extremely unsettling to see all the anti-police vandalism in-person in downtown Seattle at the former site of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.
- As an extension of my previous point, walking around Capitol Hill made me realize that maybe politics does actually matter, and that the proper political balance of a city might be something that is important to consider when picking a home. It was perplexing to me that, even two months after the reclamation of CHAZ, the city government still hasn’t properly cleaned it up.
I also have a handful of food photos that didn’t fit in other blog posts. Funny enough, I’m going to start off the “food photos” section with a photo of the Gum Wall (does the gum count as food?), which ended up being just as repulsive in-person as I assumed it was from others’ photos.
One of my first meals of Seattle was a chashu rice bowl from Menya Musashi Tsukemen & Ramen in the Pike/Pine corridor. It was actually cooked shockingly well—the meat had a deep, rich flavor; the egg was just the perfect amount of runny; and the vegetables added a subtle crisp to balance out the texture of the overall dish
The first meal we had together with the “full crew” after everyone flew in was at the Dreamland Bar & Diner in Fremont. When I go to a new restaurant, I like trying their “specialty” dish. One way to determine their signature dish is to see what’s named after the restaurant. I used this strategy for Dreamland and got the Dreamland burger. It wasn’t stellar, but it wasn’t bad, either.
The most expensive dish I had was some baked Alaskan halibut from Anthony’s Pier 66 & Bell Street Diner in Belltown. The fish was nice, but the portion size was disappointingly small, and at right around US$50 with tax and tip included, I definitely don’t think it was worth it.
And finally, I feel like this wouldn’t be a proper end-of-travel blog post anymore without a rental car review.
I usually book a pickup truck, but because I was the designated driver for our production crew, I got an SUV instead so we could transport all their gear in safety, as rental pickup trucks generally do not come with tonneau covers. I requested an American SUV, but unfortunately, they didn’t have any available, so I ended up driving away with a 2019 Hyundai Tucson.
The Tucson ended up having the same issue that I tend to have with most other Asian-manufactured vehicles with low-end engines, which is that the accelerator pedal and the brake pedal are completely off-parallel. What I mean by that is that you literally have to floor the accelerator in order to get the vehicle to show any semblance of movement, but even a slight tap on the brakes will make you feel like you’re a teenager learning how to drive with Brembos.
Even with me regularly flooring the accelerator, though, the crossover still managed to average 30 miles per gallon throughout my whole trip, which I found to be impressive (I imagine that if I drove my personal pickup truck like I did this SUV, I would probably be looking at something close to 14 MPG). I guess the high fuel economy is reasonable and expected, though—this is a relatively small vehicle that seemed to be designed for efficiency.
If you’re a patient individual who drives for utility rather than fun, and you’re looking for an affordable small crossover, then I think the Hyundai Tucson wouldn’t be bad, especially considering how reliable Hyundai’s vehicles have gotten lately. But if you’re looking for something capable, or are already used to the power and torque of a pickup truck … hard pass.
And with that trip, I add two additional states—Washington and Oregon—to my list of visited states, bringing my total up to 23 out of 50.