Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Grand Day Out Part I

In Wednesday's post I mentioned a recent day trip to Seattle. I went into town to fulfill a bucket list desire -- to see the exhibit of China's terra cotta warriors at the Pacific Science Center. I am old enough to remember when they were discovered, in 1974, while farmers were digging a well in a field and articles about them began appearing in magazines like National Geographic. I was in college at the time, and I was fascinated by the fact that they were life-size and there were thousands of them, and that they had been buried for thousands of years -- since the third century BCE in fact.

Images such as this one by Jean-Marie Hullot from the Wikipedia page about the terra cotta warriors filled me with awe

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I drove into town in the morning and parked under the building where Nigel works, because we get free parking there. It's centrally located, and I can walk to wherever I want to go from there.

Because I get to park for free I left the car at Fourth and Madison, the building where Nigel works
I walked from there to Pike Place Market because I was in the mood to be harassed by beggars and homeless people and I like being jostled by crowds of pushy tourists.


There are a lot more than fruit and flower vendors at the market, but most of them don't like having their wares photographed.

Washington state has great cherries

Sweet Sapphire grapes

I think these hairy fruits are either lychees or rambutans


I would have liked to buy a gorgeous bouquet, but didn't want to carry one around all day.



It's interesting to see the colors that attracted my lens. It gives me clues what to plant in my new cutting garden.

Dahlias in shades of deep burgundy red and pink, and one central bloom with the petals brushed with lavender-pink

Similar colors, with umbellifers, possibly Ammi, added

Cheerful yellow sunflowers and a tiny, bright blue flower that I don't recognize

Sunflowers, Dahlias and Zinnias

Various musicians perform on the sidewalks around the market.



Right about this point I realized many of the musicians who play at the market have signs saying "Tips for photos."  How about "Free publicity for photos," does that work for you?

Wednesday's post showed the bronze market pig statue, whose name is Rachel. She's very popular, people jostle around her to have their photos taken with her. Rachel is actually an enormous piggy bank. The coins deposited in her fund a variety of social services provided by the Market Foundation, including a day care and preschool, a senior center, an assisted living center, a food bank and a health care clinic. On the ground in front of her are piggy hoofprints that meander through the market. You can buy your own hoofprint by donating to the Market Foundation.


The market recently built a new annex, and installed a second pig named Billie, who is also a piggy bank. Billie was actually moved from her former spot on Western Avenue.

There were two women taking photos of Billie with this toy rabbit sitting on her nose. I surreptitiously took my own photo, or perhaps not so surreptitiously, because the second after this was taken, the poor little bunny was snatched away.


After a quick lunch of BBQ pork bao from one of the food vendors at the market, I walked to Westlake Center (an urban mall) to get on the monorail to go to the Seattle Center, where the Pacific Science Center is located. Seattle Center is also home to the Chihuly Glass Garden, the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly the Experience Music Project EMP Museum) and the Space Needle.


The Seattle Monorail goes from Westlake to Seattle Center every 10 minutes. It was built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair and is still used daily by city locals. It carries over 2 million passengers a year.

Here comes the monorail train!

A view of the Space Needle from the monorail window

On the monorail, an ad for the exhibit I'm going to see

And a view of the crane construction in South Lake Union -- how many can you see? I think I count seven, or maybe eight

The Space Needle from below as I disembark

There's a small colorful park/garden below the Space Needle.



These enormous flowers are an installation called Sonic Bloom
Sonic Bloom is a series of sculptures by Dan Corson that emit harmonic sounds as people approach.


Pacific Science Center arches

The Pacific Science Center's arches and the science center itself are another holdover from the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. The center was called the United States Science Pavilion during the fair and was designed by Seattle-born architect Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the World Trade Center's Twin Towers.


Dinosaurs cavort in the reflecting pools below the arches

My ticket for the terra cotta warriors specified a time of 2:00, and I had an hour to kill, so I decided to check out the butterfly room at the science center. I visited the butterfly room five years ago and posted about it here.

The butterfly room from outside -- I know from previous experience that it is very hot in there

A moment before there were several butterflies all over this crown of thorns -- and man, is that little girl giving me the stink-eye









How many butterflies can you see?

Well, this post has gotten long enough. I think I'll save the photos and probably boring exposition about China's terra cotta soldiers for another post.

10 comments:

  1. I loved this post, Alison! Despite having family on Vashon Island, I've only visited Seattle on business and have never had a real chance to explore the city. I love the Sonic Bloom exhibit and, of course, the butterfly exhibit. I look forward to seeing the terracotta soldiers - I remember the NatGeo coverage of their discovery too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a fun day (so far)! I visited Seattle a long time ago for a work related conference. I didn't get to see much, but did take a field trip to Mercer Slough Nature Park I believe. The Sonic Blooms were great! Can't wait to see the terracotta soldiers!

    ReplyDelete
  3. All of this is familiar to me, of course, but I have not seen the butterflies or the terra cotta soldiers. I look forward to your next post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You've just made me extremely "home" sick. Damn.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Seattle has so much to offer and it sounds like you had a great day visiting! Can't wait to see more. Haven't visited the market for a few years as last time we went (a weekend just before Christmas - what were we thinking?) the crowd was overwhelming. I kind of miss the funky shops downstairs that went away after the gentrification of the late 80's or early 90's.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think your mystery blue flower is Statice :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. There was a Nova about the Terra Cotta Warriors, apparently they are over 6 feet tall? I did not know that--even more impressive at that size.

    Enjoyed your visit. Too bad about those pesky tourists. Last time I was there it was cold and pouring rain and the tourists were limited. No butterflies, though.

    Those pigs are beautifully done, and the Dahlias, the cherries--almost enough to make the crowds bearable?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great trip; Sonic Bloom gets my vote with that blue sky, but then again the scale of the Terra Cotta Warriors might too. I still remember my 1st and only visit there 20 years ago to that market - very untouristy, chilly and wet, and I even saw the "Spoon Man" made famous by a Seattle rock group's song.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, so many beautiful sights! I was sighing over all those fruits. Gorgeous butterfly pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  10. It is a lot of fun for me to see my favorite places in Seattle through someone else camera lens. As many times as I've been to the 'Center', I didn't know there was a butterfly room; the butterflies shine in your photos. The hairy fruits must be rambutan: lychee I get at Uwajimaya is hairless.

    ReplyDelete

Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.