Goodbye Seattle

After a week in Seattle, I am finally back home in Las Vegas.

Flying out of Seattle–Tacoma International Airport

Flying out of Seattle–Tacoma International Airport

Flying out of Seattle–Tacoma International Airport

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.

Gum Wall in Seattle, WA

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

Chashu rice bowl

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.

Dreamland Burger from Seattle, WA

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.

Baked halibut

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.

Adam Parkzer's travel map (Updated September 7, 2020)

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.

 

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Hello Seattle, feat. Gas Works Park

After our production crew wrapped up filming with our game development crew for a documentary for The Bazaar for the past few days, we spent today, our last day in Seattle, grabbing some final b-roll footage of Seattle. Our director’s site of choice was Gas Works Park, a public park on the site of the former Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant.

Gas Works Park

From the Gas Works Park

From the Gas Works Park

From the Gas Works Park

From the Gas Works Park

Once we got everything we needed, we stopped by a Mexican restaurant called Pablo y Pablo in the Northlake neighborhood of Seattle for our final lunch of the trip.

Chilaquiles from Pablo y Pablo in Seattle

I got chilaquiles, labeled on the menu as the “best hangover cure ever” (no, I did not have a hangover). I’d say it was passable at best.

 

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Hello Seattle, feat. Woodland Park Zoo

Our fourth and final activity included in our Seattle City Pass—after the Seattle Aquarium, Space Needle, and Chihuly Garden and Glass—was a trip to the Woodland Park Zoo.

I’m a big fan of animals, and I enjoyed the aquarium, so I thought the zoo would be one of my favorite attractions of the trip, but unfortunately, it was massively underwhelming.

A lot of it probably had to do with the fact that it seemed like over half of the zoo was closed due to COVID-19. There were signs everywhere directing human traffic in one-way directions so people wouldn’t have to walk in close proximity of one another. On top of that, for the exhibits that were open, it seemed like the animals just wanted to spend the day hiding out today.

Apparently the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is frequently rated as one of the best zoos in the country, so I imagine that I would have to come back some other time if I’m ever in Seattle again after the pandemic, but for now, based on the very limited zoo experiences I’ve had, I’d say that the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha was much, much better.

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA

Monica and I spent a total of over three hours at the zoo, and towards the end, I was getting a bit discouraged and started taking random photos of signs, placards, and empty habitats because there was seemingly nothing else to photograph. I think the following picture captures the core sentiment of what I felt like I got out of this experience:

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA

 

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Hello Portland

Setting the record for what I believe is the most I’ve ever driven in a single day, Monica and I set off this morning for Portland, Oregon, a three-hour drive down south from where we’re staying in Seattle. Unfortunately, our Seattle trip isn’t long enough for us to be able to spend more time in Portland, so we were only able to allocate a single day for the cause, and did the reverse three-hour drive straight back to Seattle upon nightfall.

Our former PUBG Coach and Manager, and current Acquisitions Assistant, lives out in the Portland suburbs, so we stopped by to visit him while we were in the Pacific Northwest. We grabbed some dinner together with him at a Korean barbecue restaurant, during which we proceeded to literally somehow start a grease fire at our table. After that gem of an experience, we grabbed some boba tea and went sightseeing around Portland.

Portland, OR

Portland, OR

Portland, OR

Portland, OR

Portland, OR

Portland was nowhere near as interesting as I thought it would be, but at the very least, I can now check off Oregon in my list of states that I’ve visited.

 

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Hello Seattle, feat. Chihuly Garden and Glass

After our visit to the Seattle Aquarium and the Space Needle, our final stop of the day was at Chihuly Garden and Glass, a museum and exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s glasswork.

I adore animals, so out of today’s three attractions, the aquarium was my favorite, but the glass museum came in a close second. I had never seen any­thing like this before, and it was interesting seeing something seemingly as plain and boring as glass be sculpted into such interesting art pieces.

Similar to the aquarium, the glass museum also had both an indoor and outdoor portion. The outdoor segment had glass art pieces mixed in with the gar­den, and it was interesting not only to see man-made art mixed in with nature, but to see the reflections of surrounding attractions on the glass.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

 

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Hello Seattle, feat. views from the Space Needle

After our trip to the Seattle Aquarium, our next stop was the Space Needle, a spire and observation deck in Seattle Center.

With a name like “Space Needle,” I thought this would be an astronomically tall structure with explosive views in every direction. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed, as it was actually only 605 feet tall.

To put that into perspective, the condominium I live at in Las Vegas stands just shy of 500 feet tall, and the Stratosphere nearby on the Strip stands nearly double the height of the Space Needle, at 1,149 feet. I had actually also recently dined in at the Top of the World restaurant on the 106th floor of the Strat. Considering that, coupled with the fact that the view of my balcony is about the same height as the Space Needle, and you can imagine that I’m pretty desensitized to heights.

With that being said, it was still a nice view, and I think anyone who doesn’t already live the high-rise life would definitely appreciate it.

Space Needle in Seattle, WA

These are photos of Seattle from the observation deck, going counter-clockwise.

View from Space Needle in Seattle, WA

View from Space Needle in Seattle, WA

View from Space Needle in Seattle, WA

View from Space Needle in Seattle, WA

View from Space Needle in Seattle, WA

I still haven’t managed to figure out which mountain is which, and every time I ask, I usually get the answer of “I think that’s Mt. St. Helens, but I’m not sure” … so here is a picture of downtown Seattle with a mountain in the background, and I think that’s Mt. St. Helens, but I’m not sure.

View from Space Needle in Seattle, WA

And here’s Monica. I’m definitely sure that this is Monica.

Space Needle in Seattle, WA

 

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Hello Seattle, feat. the Seattle Aquarium

I tasked Monica (Tempo‘s mobile esports manager) to build us a fun itinerary for our stay in Seattle, so she got us some city tourism passes that lets us see a handful of different attractions for a discounted price. Our first stop was the Seattle Aquarium.

I had my first aquarium visit over three years ago at the Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (this was back when I still lived in Southern California). Then about a year ago, I went with Monica and one of my former co-workers to the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE. Today, Monica joined me again for my third aquarium visit.

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

This aquarium was an interesting hybrid of a multi-building indoor/outdoor aquarium. I don’t recall the Shark Reef Aquarium too well, and the aquar­ium in Omaha was mixed in with a zoo, so I’d say that this aquarium in Seattle was the most memorable aquarium experience I had. I have a lot more photos from the visit, but as you’d imagine, it was pretty dim inside the aquar­ium, so not too many of my photos came out nice and crisp.

Out of the three attractions we visited today, I’d say that this one was my favorite one.

 

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Hello SeaTac

I flew into Seattle–Tacoma International Airport today to visit some friends, do some exploring, and work on a project with Tempo‘s game development crew. I’ll be sticking around for a day shy of a week.

Mt. St. Helens, I think?

Western Washington state was one of the most interesting places I’ve flown into because of the unique and dynamic terrain. The first notable thing I saw in Washington was Mt. St. Helens… which I’m not actually entirely sure if it actually was Mt. St. Helens, because I’m not familiar with the area. It could have possibly been Mt. Adams or Mt. Rainier, or maybe the mountain in the background of that first photo was Mt. Adams or Mt. Rainier.

Flying into Seattle–Tacoma

In order to align ourselves properly to land on the runways at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, we did a little loop up by Seattle and got pretty close to downtown. My window wasn’t very clean so the photos didn’t end up as crisp as I would’ve hoped, but I think they’re still pretty decent shots.

Seattle

Seattle

I think Delta Airlines is the best domestic U.S. airline when it comes to COVID-19 response. Back when I flew back home to Las Vegas from Orlando, I intentionally took an inefficient flight path through Minneapolis–Saint Paul just so I could fly Delta Airlines instead of American Airlines, because I trust Delta far more than American. (I flew American outbound to Dallas–Fort Worth, and it seemed like American wasn’t even blocking off middle seats anymore.)

Delta recently made it into the news because it had an incident where it literally brought a plane back to the gate to eject two passengers because they refused to wear face coverings. I was already committed to flying Delta whenever possible before that, but with that news, I knew that Delta would be the best choice.

It seems like Delta is continuing to emphasize their customers-first attitude, because after I woke up from a one-hour nap during my flight, I found this handwritten thank you note sitting on my arm rest.

A postcard from Delta Airlines

 

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