Dusk at Elliott Bay. After a busy day, everything went back to be quiet and peaceful. The Great Wheel was still working, the ferries between waterfront and the Bainbridge Island still went in and out of the piers. But sailboats were coming back home. But tourists were saying goodbye to a whole day of wonderful trip. As it got darker gradually, what I saw was a Chinese painting, simple but far-reaching.
Taking a water taxi to the West Seattle and looking back to the waterfront skyline, it is another view. Here at West Seattle, a couple of parks are built along the Elliott Bay: In the Seacrest Park, men and women walk their dogs and chat casually; young couples sit under big trees and enjoy a different version of Seattle Skyline at Hamilton Viewpoint Park, and walk even further, you will enter the Aiki Beach Park with lots of people playing volleyballs, having picnic or simply relaxing on the beach. It happened to have an Aiki Arts Fair going on the day I visited, so as a bonus, I found something more interesting: silent auction, homemade artifacts sell and live music show. And if you walk all the way down to the corner point, here is the Aiki Point Lighthouse. This year is its 100th anniversary! Aiki Point Lighthouse 1913-2013!
The sunset cruise started from waterfront. After a closer look at those international shipping ports and a wonderful view of Mt. Rainier (yes, it is out for yet another day!) from Puget Sound, we finally went towards the famous Hiram Chittenden Locks and sailed in Lake Union. The lock connects the sea water from Puget Sound and the freshwater from Lake Union, and it functions pretty much like a water elevator, which reminds me of the Gezhouba Dam (葛洲壩) on the Yangtze River. There are quite some beautiful houses near the lake, and one of them was actually where Tom Hanks lived in the movie Sleepless in Seattle. Got to admit that with such a nice lake view and those lovely little houses, how can Seattle not be a romantic city!
As a coast city, ports are important parts of Seattle. Besides those piers on waterfront which function mostly for state ferries and tourists’ cruise, Seattle does have some “serious” piers serving for international shipping. In fact, the Port of Seattle is actually the first stop for most of the import/export between Asia and the US: the shipping line to Seattle is usually the shortest route between an Asian port and the US. Needless to say, quite a lot of products with labels reading “Made in China” enter the US market from here, no wonder there are a huge amount of containers here in Seattle with the words “China Shipping” on them.
Chihuly Garden and Glass is a museum located at Seattle Center which dedicates to showcasing Dale Chihuly’s work. Walking in the museum, I was truly stunned by all these gorgeous pieces of arts. One of the reasons that I love this museum is that every piece of arts seemed to have its own story. In one room you could see a collection of glass in the shape of different plants with shining colors, which seemed to explain to you the biodiversity of tropical rainforest, in another room you would find a boat full of treasures stopping in the still water, splendid yet peaceful. And standing in the glasshouse in a sunny day, looking up to the huge glass flowers and the lofty Space Needle, it’s just beautiful!
As probably the most lively tourist destination in this city, Pike Place Market is one of the must-go places in Seattle. And if you go there in the morning, bingo, you will just catch the best moment of it! Though not too different from a typical farmer’s market in the US, I am still impressed by the diversity of produce and the organization of a variety of different shops there. Right at the entrance is the famous “Pike Place Fish Co.”. Each time a customer buys fish, the fishmongers will shout it out and throw the fish to the cashier. A pretty interesting live show for the tourists who happen to pass by. And this is just a start! Flowers, fruits, vegetables, souvenirs, collectibles, antiques…you can almost find whatever you are searching for here! And guess what? The original Starbucks coffee shop is also here!
Kerry Park is the best place in the city to have a view of Seattle skyline. Though the way up to the mountain is pretty tough (it’s almost a 45 degree angle from the ground!), it’s absolutely worth it! I got quite some luck today as the weather is so good that I can see the outline of Mt. Rainier clearly (A relevant anecdote: if you met a Seattle native and the first sentence he/she says to you is “the mountain is out”, please look towards the southeast direction.). And of course another landmark of Seattle is the Space Needle. As a city, I feel that Seattle is similar to Beijing in many ways (and this year we got a movie which has a Chinese name of “Beijing meets Seattle”): it’s modern enough, but different from New York, it’s not all about skyscrapers. Like it!