The next morning, Mich took me into Pike Place. Pike Place Market is a quaint tourist trap, with the fish throwing going on and the fresh donuts, although the fish are quite fresh and locals do come here for seafood regularily. Pike Place, like most of Seattle, does emit a different vibe from the rest of the continent. There is the first Starbucks here, a store that sells nothing but flavoured olive oils and the Pike and Western Wine Shop with its wacky wine descriptions, and Biringer’s, home of the best tea cookies and raspberry honey mustard I’ve ever tasted. Of interest is the Left Bank Bookstore, your source for all subversive, hippie literature and paraphernalia.
Today, Mich and I also visited the Museum of History and Industry, which chronicles Seattle’s fairly standard history. It shares many stories not dissimilar to other American cities; it started as a salmon canning town, kicked the non-whites (in Seattle’s case, the Chinese) out of town in 1886, and had its entire downtown district consumed by the Big Fire of 1889, and finally made its mark as being the site for the 1961 World’s Fair, the Boeing Company, and Microsoft Corporation. How funny that it took two Bills to put rainy, fishy Seattle on the map – Bill Boeing and Bill Gates.
We also got to see a special exhibit – a look at the actual Declaration of Independence! It looks like someone sneezed on it, and then folded it in quarters.
What was truly stunning was that MOHAI property includes a park on the coast of Lake Washington. Truly stunning views can be had.
In the evening, my dad came down from Vancouver to take us out to dinner in the International District, aka Seattle Chinatown. However, having been raised in Toronto, I have to say that this Chinatown was a mere shadow of Toronto’s Chinatown. Think Toronto’s Chinatown at Bathurst – fully of dingy “benevolent organizations”, bars on the windows, and fortune cookie serving restaurants. I guess they shouldn’t have kicked the Chinese out in 1886 after all. But we did acquaint ourselves with a good restaurant called Ho Ho Restaurant, and other than trying to decipher the cryptic one way streets, we faired fairly well.