DM and MM's USA and Canada 2004 Trip Diary

Day 17 - Seattle

Monday, 12 April, 2004

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We managed a small sleep in this morning as we were meeting Devin at 10:00, so we didn't need to leave the motel until 09:45 or so. Michelle had the last of the banana nut cereal with milk we bought last night, then I filled a bowl with the dregs of the box and some of the date and pecan cereal. Then we went down to the breakfast toom, where I had it with whole milk. I also had some eggs and sausage on toast. We were done and ready to go early, so we left a bit early and I took some photos of the Experience Music Project building - an amorphous mass of polished steel plates with coloured reflective surfaces that catch the light and shimmer interestingly. Then we went to the carousel where we'd arranged to meet Devin.

He and his wife Stephanie and their kids Treanna and Alaric met us shortly after 10:00 and we went in to the Pacific Science Centre, using discount coupons that Devin had got from a friend. The first thing we saw was the temporary Space exhibit, which was cool, but could have been much cooler. There was a guy dressed in Renaissance clothing and talking in an Italian accent, playing the role of Galileo's assistant and prompting us to look through a simulated telescope showing Jupiter and its moons. We also got to see a piece of Moon rock returned by one of the Apollo missions and to touch two meteorites, one originating from the Moon and one from Mars. There were a bunch of computer game-like things about space missions and a partial full-sized mock up of a Saturn V rocket (huge!) and displays on all sorts of NASA stuff.

Parabolic Mirror
Parabolic mirror, Pacific Science Centre

After that we wandered through the regular exhibits, many interactive displays involving all sorts of science phenomena: weird mirrors, lenses, water stuff, insects, a butterfly room full of warm, humid air and some amazing butterflies, a theremin (which I tried "playing" and found to be very tricky), resonating bowls, a rock climbing wall (set up to traverse just above the floor - I tried and only managed to get about a third of the way before falling off). Outside there were interactive water displays with an Archimedean screw, treadmill waterwheel, and waterjet guns with which you could fire at moving spinny things suspended over the ponds. There were also animatronic dinosaurs inside and two big bronze ones outside.

The power of... SCIENCE!
The Fly, Pacific Science Centre

Eventually we got hungry and left to go to Seattle Centre for lunch. I got my first hot dog of the trip, with onions and sauerkraut and relish and mustard - I just piled everything on - it was good and spicy. Michelle had a sandwich from Subway. After eating, we walked out to the International Fountain, which was a large, shallow pit with a silvered dome in the middle of the sunken centre, which shot jets of water in all different directions at random intervals and in random patterns. Children walked down to the floor of the pit and approached the down in quiescent periods, only to run of get drenched when the jets suddenly burst back in to life. It was incredibly amusing and we were cracking up laughing at some of the kids getting sprayed with water. We stayed there for close to an hour just watching the fountain and the kids - the best free entertainment I've seen for ages.

We wandered over to the Experience Music Project next, but unfortunately it was closed on Mondays. Since it was after 3pm. we let Devin and co. head home before the peak hour traffic and went back over to Belltown to check out the Macrina bakery that Michelle wanted to see. She got coffee and some Squash Harvest Bread - that was pumpkiny and nutty, and I got a lemon tart slice that was tangy and good.

Abbey Road Psychadelia
Outside wall of the Experience Music Project

After that we walked back to the Science Centre and went in again (they'd stamped our hands so we could re-enter). We checked a few of the displays we hadn't seen earlier and I tried the climbing wall again, more determined this time, but failed again. We used the free Internet access on some computers there to check e-mail, but only quickly before they closed the Science Centre at 5pm.

We were not hungry for dinner yet, so we walked back to the International Fountain and relaxed as we watched it again for another hour. Some time after 6pm we walked back down to Belltown and the Noodle Ranch for dinner. Michelle got tofu Pad Thai and I got chicken spicy ranch noodles, which was really spicy but yummy. We filled up and then walked back to the motel, stopping to buy milk for Michelle and some Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie for me.

Our last night in Seattle. Tomorrow we've decided to go see the Arboretum and its Japanese gardens if it isn't raining, and the Experience Music project if it is.

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