Thursday, May 26–Victoria BC & Seattle

Victoria Clipper to Seattle; Old Spaghetti Factory; Pacific Science Center Laser Dome

Hyatt House



Today was a pretty good day. I didn't wake up absurdly early like I did yesterday, or at least if I did I was able to fall back asleep until around 8. Because I had decided to wait and do my exercise walking in the exercise room here in my hotel in Seattle, I had a very leisurely morning. I had my last breakfast/meal replacement drink for breakfast in my room since I always try to have some available.

As I was packing to leave, I noticed to my surprise that I actually had enough room in one of my larger suitcases to fit my hat box in, which meant one less thing to carry between my hotel room and the Victoria Clipper dock, which turned out to be not too difficult to do.

I was checked in and had received my boarding pass around 10, well before the US Customs & Immigration personnel went on duty at 10:30. Because as usual I had one of my canes with me, the nice woman who helped me at the counter let me take advantage of preboarding.

The Clipper ships are quite nice, with lots of comfortable seating on two levels, although the only outside area accessible by passengers is on the top deck in the rear. If I had been on one of the much larger vehicle ferries as I've always been before, I'd have been outside up front on the top deck but since it was a much smaller vessel and they were predicting some choppy seas in the hour or so of open water, I decided to just find a seat in front in the downstairs passenger cabin although I had to wear my sweatshirt all the time since that's where the ship's AC vents.

It was grey and cloudy all day and all the way over. All the windows I could see were rather dirty and smudged, but that didn't prevent lots of people from taking pictures through them, especially when the captain slowed the ship down when some members of one of the local pods of killer whales were spotted.

They serve a limited menu of light meals, drinks and snacks aboard as well as having a duty free shop selling alcohol, perfume and cigarettes. Because it would be about 2 PM when we got into Seattle, I bought the pretty tasty fruit, cracker and cheese plate.

When we arrived in Seattle, those passengers without checked bags were allowed to go through first. The rest of us had to wait until our bags had been brought up and into the office, where we claimed them before going through US Customs.

The cab ride from the Clipper terminal to the hotel cost around $5.00, and I was checked in by 3, when I sent Tim & Michael a text message letting them know I had arrived and was checked in. I unpacked and was down in the hotel's very nice exercise room using one of the five treadmills for my exercise walking.

I'm staying at the Hyatt House here in Seattle, which is right across the street from the entrance to where the Space Needle is located. I'm on the third floor, so there's not much of a view at all, but that's OK with me. The guys on the desk when I checked in told me there's an observation deck up on the 8th floor, and while I was on the boat I bought a ticket to go up in the Space Needle sometime while I'm here. The hotel offers free breakfast, and a shuttle will drop off and pick up guests anywhere within about a mile of the hotel. There is a Wallgreen's within about a five minute walk, and they sell alcohol there as well so I bought a small bottle of rum and some juices, cookies, and snacks. I'm pretty sure it's the same Wallgreen's I went to the last time I was here in Seattle for Folklife two years ago, when I stayed an additional five minutes further on the other side of the Wallgreens.

After I dropped my stuff off back here in my hotel room, I had the shuttle drop me off at the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner, which was as good as I remember it's always been. Afterwards I called the hotel and had the shuttle pick me up to bring me back here, where I had time to use my own bathroom before heading across the street and over to the Pacific Science Center for the 9:15 show in the laser dome. The entrance to the laser dome, which is downstairs in the back of the lower courtyard, is as inconvenient as it's always been although this time we went down the ramp instead of the stairs.

The show was Laser EDM or electronic dance music, which isn't all that different from two ambient and atmospheric music podcasts I regularly listen to, except of course louder and with a heavier emphasis on the bass and rhythms. The show was excellent, extremely well programmed and performed optical trickery. When the lights are on you know you're looking at a flat surface but the effects make you believe you're seeing layers and depths you know aren't really there. And in this show they also used smoke to create my favorite effects, where the smoke really looked like it was rippling.

While I was waiting for us to be let in for the show, I bought a ticket for the 9:15 show on Sunday, Laser Zeppelin–again, not my favorite kind of music or band but it will do.

I picked up a copy of the schedule for Folklife while I was walking past one of the booths back towards the Space Needle. Before I go to bed, I need to take look and see what time things get going tomorrow. At the moment, I plan on probably doing my exercise walking before breakfast and, if I have time, having the hotel shuttle drop me off and pick me back up at the REI before going across the street to spend the rest of the day at Folklife./

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