Monday, September 26, 2011

Sweetness in Seattle

Well, I’ve been pretty busy this last week or so. I did manage to get to see a good number of attractions in Seattle during my time there.

On my way there, I got a good view of Mt. Rainier from the airplane. Though I’ve been up higher mountains, this is a much more “mountainy” mountain, with its jagged ridges and glaciers covering the volcanic cone. I would love to do a climb there sometime, but would probably need to go with a guided group to keep my precious self safe {gollum, gollum…}.

One evening we went to dinner at a waterside restaurant with our trainers from University of Washington. The mountains across the sound on the Olympic Peninsula sure looked awesome with a beautiful sunset framing them. I really enjoyed that view, and will hopefully be able to recall it in the depths of winter in the south. It would have been great to go hiking there, but alas, it was not in the cards.

I got to lay hands on some starfish in a touching pool at the Seattle Aquarium. I wish I could have petted some of the (both sea and river) otters. The definitely seem to have more fun than most creatures, when they’re not asleep. I got a healthy dose of kids running rampant there, with lots of little people buzzing about and expressing their excitement at seeing such strange life forms.

A visit to Seattle without visiting its most famous structure would have been a shame, not to mention the fact I was staying just a couple minutes walk from it. The view from atop the Space Needle was fine, and Mt. Rainier could be discerned through all the miles of haze. Seattle, being a city on the water, reminded me of Wellington, NZ, but I suppose Wellington would remind me of Seattle if I had been there first.

An excellent museum complex at the base of the Space Needle houses the Experience Music Project (EMP) and Science Fiction Museum. The big exhibit in the music area right now was a look back at the great band Nirvana, with this being the 20th anniversary of their Nevermind album. They had a gallery of historic guitars, one of the coolest being Hendrix’s one he played at Woodstock. I spent a while playing instruments and singing in the booths provided to let people get acquainted with guitars, drums, keyboards, and singing. The exhibits about Avatar and Battlestar Galactica were interesting, too. The full-size fighters and mechanical suits were cool, but so were the Na’avi-sized boots. I definitely got my money’s worth in my hours spent here.

My last night in Seattle, I attended a screening of the new documentary “Pearl Jam 20”. It continued that interesting musical trip down memory lane started at the EMP, and was doubly interesting with the opportunity to see it where a lot of the “action” took place. The Seattle Sound, of which Pearl Jam was a large player, was hitting its stride in my youth, so it was interesting to finally visit this storied (musical) land. One person sitting near me talked about how their film from early in the band’s career together was hers. The Cinerama where I saw it still had the big curved screen, but only one of the three projectors was used for this film.

I’m now in Denver doing the latter half of the emergency response training. The group of prospective winter crewmembers seems to be very nice. It is a bit strange to be on more experienced end of the spectrum, but I suppose that is what I get for continuing to go down yonder. Following the medical training, there will be orientation briefings the last two days here this week. A lot of it will be review, but I suppose there will be some interesting new tidbits. There are a lot of unknowns with this season-seemingly more than usual-so maybe some of the blanks will be filled in.
“He who travels much comes to know more than he who lives long.”
~Eastern Saying