I’ve been to Seattle a bunch in the last decade and I’ve never written about it.
What the hell?
Guess it slipped my mind. So I’ll wrap up all of them in one post, like magic.
First off, this is a must hit city. One that I enjoy on business trips, and more often than not, turn those trips into mini vacations. Lot of cool stuff to do there. Lot of weirdness to laugh at.
Let’s start off with the flights.
My home airport is DFW, a huge hub. Most of the airlines, save Southwest, use a hub-and-spoke system. If you are in a hub, life is good. If a spoke, you’re sort of doomed. Spokes tend to have crap schedules, crap planes, and airlines will cancel flights at the drop of a hat if they aren’t full enough.
If you are in a spoke, or traveling to spoke from a spoke you’ll suffer.
An example. Flying from the DFW chump terminal – United, Spirit, Delta, etc. You’ll have no choice but to connect for the most part. Now, Southwest you may have a connection, but it’s usually on the way and you may or may not have to get off the plane. Delta, United, USAir (before merger) et al will route you through some weird city – Atlanta, St Louis, Pittsburgh, guaranteeing you a soul sucking day of travel.
Seattle is what I call a money flight. Like DC, Chicago, and others, you can tell a money flight on American Air by who boards and when they board. You see, American fosters a caste system that makes the entire country of India pale by comparison. By the time you get to group one boarding, you’ve watched 4-5 groups of the entitled board.
I call the group three plus “The wretched ones”
On a Seattle flight from DFW, half the plane is boarded before groups are called. They are so up front that they’ll say straight up that if you are one of the wretched, there’s no prayer of carry one space so you may as well gate check.
From what I’ve seen, money flights never, ever are late, delayed , canceled. There are many each day to and from. Good times.
SeaTac is a pretty decent airport. Lots of good restaurants, one of which was featured on an Anthony Bourdain show. Layovers, I think. Lately, they moved the rental cars from the convenient on premise lots to practically another city. Not as bad as some, but still an irritation.
I always rent from Avis there. I’ve always rented something like a Ford Focus, and almost always get a cool upgrade. I’ve gotten minivans – no big upgrade for me, but also usually slick ones like Mitsubishi Eclipse convertibles. Last fall, I rented a ford, got a VW beetle. It was way cool. Last trip, however, I rented a Focus. And you know what I got? A Focus. What the hell!
I don’t know why those Top Gear guys chirp about the Ford Focus. Seattle and it’s surrounding burbs are hilly. And the Focus I got had slightly more power than a lawn tractor. It seemed to sigh and give up on hills.
For touristy stuff, you can’t beat the Pike Street Market. And this is a foodie town, you can hit any number of awesome restaurants, usually within a few miles of there you are. I’d been coming here for years and never realized there were wineries. Some quite good, and with entertaining tours.
For me, people watching is a sport. And for that sport, there’s no better place than Seattle. It was the epicenter of the grunge movement, and I’m pretty sure it was patient zero in today’s hipster epidemic.
Like any large metro area, you’ll see people all colors, shapes, and sizes. Maybe a little more so. The ones that crack me up the most, though, are the younger, white crowd. Nearly every twenties white guy there is wandering around like the spent the night camping. Wrinkled REI style clothing, half a beard, backpack. The women look similar, or sometimes retro-hippie.
I was working in an office up there one day and a guy walked in, dressed in long baggie shorts, hoodie, full beard. Like a bigfoot in gangstawear. His reaction to me was hilarious. You see, I dress well, usually in business casual – an oxford shirt (sometimes logo-wear), sharp black or khaki dress pants, and cowboy boots. Our eyes met, and the look I got was, “I don’t know who that is, but he looks important. I better amble on”.
No clue who he was or what his role was. Could have been an executive there, for all I know.
So for a host of reasons, Seattle is a must hit place.