Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

How I Spent My Summer (2017) Vacation

I didn’t think much of it at the time. “Hey, the Pacific Science Center has an exhibit about the Terracotta Warriors.” “Oh, that sounds neat.”

Some days later: “You need to put in for three days off in early August.” “Why’s that?” “Remember that exhibit I told you about?” “Ah. Neat!”

So last Wednesday morning, we departed by train for Seattle.

Looking north from the railroad bridge over the Willamette toward the lovely St Johns Bridge

Business Class on the Amtrak Cascades is an improvement for several reasons. You deal with less passenger traffic in your car because the Coach cars are at the other end of the train from the Bistro and Lounge cars. The seats are wider, if not actually super comfy. Last but not least, you aren’t part of the line-up of people waiting for seat assignments before boarding; you get your assignments early and are the first to board. How nice!

Downtown Seattle has a lot going on. Too much, really, for this increasingly-addled little grey duck. But there is a “proper” Uwajimaya, wherein we procured snacks for the duration. We conked out for the night after scaring up a nice dinner in a very warm Kells. (“Air-conditioning, guys. You might wanna consider it.”)

Thursday was Adventure Day! First, finding a breakfast location. We ended up at the Bacco Cafe, sitting outside where it was a bit brisk but the food was quite tasty. Then… off to the Pacific Science Center.

By monorail, no less! It was like being in the MST3K short, “Century 21 Calling.”

While waiting for the PSC to open, I took the opportunity to snap some duck-on-stuff pictures. We made it into the Terracotta Warriors exhibit and had a good time. It was a historical exhibit, full of art-y-facts and info-graphics and such-like. I didn’t take many pictures because with the reduced lighting (and a strict no-flash-photography policy) the shots all came out kind of like… this:

“It’s only a flesh wound.”

But I did get one good pic of the bronze goose!

Looks surprisingly good considering how old it is.

Priorities, I guess.

At the end of the exhibit we took advantage of the obligatory exhibit-specific gift shop. I procured a mass-produced miniature Terracotta General. (I placed it on my desk once we got home… if you ask nicely I’ll see about taking a well-lit photograph of it.) We wandered the PSC a bit after that, even going through the butterfly house. (I got more creeped out than was really warranted. I guess bugs bug me, no matter how “pretty” they are.) Outside again, I decided to be a pure tourist for a moment:

The smoke in the sky from the Canadian wildfires lent a surreal quality to all the pics we took that day.

So, adventure complete, yes? NO! “We’re not done yet.” What’s next, I wondered…

Note: That’s not the ferry we boarded.

Oh. Yes indeed, the afternoon and early evening were taken up with a ferry ride out to Bainbridge Island. I boarded a very large watercraft and went out over very deep water and I only freaked out a little bit, occasionally. Several freak-out moments involved watching complete morons doing selfies at the railing. One false move or a good gust of wind and bye-bye, expensive phone! Yeesh.

Anyway. Bainbridge Island was neat, with nifty shops and a really nice Thai place where we ate more for dinner than was probably good for us. Then we caught the ferry back to the hustle-and-bustle through those super-hazy skies.

Probably the least-flattering Seattle skyline picture ever taken

Once back at the hotel we conked out yet again after an epic day of walking all over the place, up hill and down… hill. Adventure Day ended! Friday morning we took the train home, departing from the now-renovated King Street Station.

This place was a mess at the time of my previous visit. It’s much prettier now!

We spent most of the weekend afterward resting and recovering. A grand time, overall!



  1. You… you… didn’t go to Archie McPhee’s? You were in Seattle, and you didn’t go to the mecca of devil duckies?

    Or Ivars? How could you go to Seattle and not eat at Ivars? There used to be one quite near the ferry landing… I think it was the original one, in fact… where the seagulls would do their best Skua (dive bomber, not bird) imitation to get your french fries.

    I mean, it sounds like you had a great time, and I cannot WAIT to see the take-home terra-cotta warrior, for… reasons… but, well… gosh.

    • It was a bit out of our way. We were on foot and/or public transit, and only really had the one day to do All The Things. We ended up compiling a short list of “next time, we do THIS” items…

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