Sunday, July 28, 2013

A trip to Bainbridge Island

One of my friends was really gung-ho on visiting Bainbridge Island this weekend. I wasn't really sure about the idea, as I wasn't sure there would be a whole lot to do, but seeing as I didn't have any other Saturday plans and I didn't want to let her down I decided to go.

And, the trip started out not too spectacularly as I missed the bus I wanted to take to the downtown ferry terminal. I wasn't entirely sure where the bus stop was and I wasn't there when it stopped. Oops. Of course the buses at the other stop near my apartment were all late. So then I decide to just get on the next bus (the 13, for reference) because I thought it would stop close to the ferry.

Yeah, kind of. I realized I wasn't going in the right direction when the next stop was on 4th Ave and not 3rd (for my East Coast readers, 1st is the closest to the water). I then booked it to the ferry terminal and was able to procure a ticket in time. My friend was also pretty late because her bus was delayed and she didn't immediately realize you have to walk up to a second level to board the ferry. Did I mention that public transit is hard?

Anyways, we take the ferry over and end up eating lunch on the island. Like everything else here, it's a pretty picturesque place. There's really only about 4 blocks to the town, with lots of small shops that line the street. It reminded me a lot of the small beach shops on the NC Coast... which makes sense when I think about it. A little bit expensive for what I'm shopping for, but still nice to look around.

I did have the ice cream at Mora Iced Creamery, which was pretty delicious. Apparently it's a pretty popular place, as there was a significant line out the door when we went. My friend chose Green Tea, I chose the Dark Chocolate Mint and Maraschino Cherry Cream - all very good flavors, and I feel like you couldn't go wrong there.

After we peruse all the shops on the main drag we got back on the ferry to Seattle. A lot of the reviews for the Island said that the trip on the ferry was a big highlight of the trip. I didn't believe them, as I didn't think it would be that thrilling to be on a commuter ferry. Then you see Mt. Rainier off one side of the boat and the cityscape slowly approach you and you realize that the reviews weren't lying at all.

All-in-all it was a pretty good use of a relaxing summer afternoon. Being able to chat and spend the day with a friend AND get a beautiful view was worth the $7.70 ferry ride.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

More exploring

So it's been a few days since my last post, but I've been a little busy, what with working an actual job and all. Most of my days have been navigating my new job and things related to that - figuring out what food trucks to eat at in South Lake Union may take some time.

But even though I've been working, I haven't stopped exploring the city! The weather here is absolutely beautiful, and I'm finally understanding what others have told me about Seattle having a perfect summer. It's sunny all the time, and the temperatures are in the comfortable mid 70s to mid 80s range - and there's not really any humidity, which is definitely a new thing for this NC girl. All of this means that I'm spending a bunch of time wandering around and enjoying the outdoors.

One of the places I meandered to was Discovery Park, which is a large park in the Magnolia neighborhood and a pretty quick bus ride from my apartment. I think it's something like 550 acres, and it is criss-crossed with different trails, both paved and unpaved. I went down to the beach (which is a beach in the sense that it abuts the ocean, not in the sense that it has sand, as it was full of pebbles and larger rocks) and saw the lighthouse. The lighthouse was moderately disappointing, as I was imagining something closer to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse than a house with a light in it. But I still took a picture of it, because that's what I do.

So after Discovery Park, I then traveled a short distance to the Ballard Locks. That's the giant thing of machinery and water that allows boats to go up and down - apparently it's a big attraction, but I kind of didn't get it. However, I did enjoy looking at the copious amounts of salmon taking advantage of the fish ladder - definitely going to have to cook some one of these days.

Another day this week I took a walk along the waterfront and ended up at the Olympic Sculpture Park. It's exactly what it sounds like - a green area with a bunch of art just chillin' in the open. Definitely entertaining to go with a friend and mock the pretentious quotes included on the plaques naming the pieces. Not that I would know, as art is a Very Serious Thing and not to be laughed at.

Then, finally, I live somewhat close to the Seattle Center, and I'm finding it very enjoyable to explore that part of the city on a near-daily basis. There's a bunch of fountains in different places and there always seems to be something different going on. Yesterday was the Polish Festival, which I was super excited about considering my Polish heritage. And, yes, I did chow down on some pierogies.

So good.
And that's about it for my second-ish week of being in the city! I might create a post about my progress in meeting people in the city... but then again, I might wait a bit to have slightly more material. For now, you readers will just have to be envious of my pierogies.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Birthday America! (And fun times on the C Line)

I was slightly worried that I'd have no plans this Fourth of July, seeing as I've been on my own in the city for all of five days, which is a little bit of a stretch to meet someone willing to invite you to their shindig.

Well, turns out I'm just a lucky chick. At my company's n00b orientation, I met another college grad who very kindly invited me out to his family's place on the Sound. Seeing as my only other option was to go to a party that I saw an invite for on Reddit, I decided to take him up on the invite, figuring that going to a random place I've never been before with someone I've seen before is much better than going to a random place I've never been with people I've only read about on the Internet.

So to get over to the Sound from where I live, I have to take a bus wayyyyyy south and then take a ferry over. All in all the trip time was just under 2 hours - this is an important fact for later in my story, so tuck it away in your mind Rolodex.

Anyways, I met up with my friend at the ferry terminal, and we went across the Sound - the first time I've been on a commuter ferry - I couldn't imagine doing that as a commuter every day. Once we got to the house, I met all of his extended family, which was really awkward to do for someone you just met 2 days ago. But, luckily for me, everyone was super nice and personable. This isn't really the entertaining part of the story, but I'm kind of super proud that I'm doing things that are way the hell out of my comfort zone.

We then went out on the Sound in kayaks, which I've also never done. Somehow that was far less frightening than meeting random people. It was actually pretty easy to pick up (really, I feel like you can't mess up paddling that badly), and we went all the way out to Blake Island. It was probably close to a mile out to the island and my upper body is in pain today - but it was totally worth it!

So after we were done kayaking, it was time for the cookout and fireworks, because this is America and America is all about food and lighting things on fire. And, man, I was not prepared for the fireworks. Back in North Carolina, pretty much anything that launches off the ground is illegal and if you want it you have to go all the way to South Carolina to get it. Well, I don't know if it's illegal here, or just easier to get, but everyone on the shore was launching these giant mortars into the air. Once it got towards dusk, every direction you looked there was exploding color in the sky.

Oh, and the sunset looked like this:
Yeah. It was pretty glorious. I can't get over how beautiful this area looks all the time.

Sunset here is also close to 10pm, so in order for us to stick around to help launch the finale of 6 mortars at once, we had to take the 11:05 ferry back. Remember that 2 hour trip length? Yep, that means we'd be riding back on the bus after midnight, which is always an interesting prospect.

So we sit down on the bus and begin idle chatter when this slightly disoriented woman asks us if we were still in West Seattle. We responded yes, and the conversation then... got interesting.

"You know, can I tell you guys something? You guys are like, Couple of the Year. You look so good together." She then turned to my male friend and stated, "She is such a catch. You better propose to her." This was greeted by plentiful nervous laughter from us, and the woman went on, "But, you know, she's probably too smart for that. You're going to have to catch her in a moment of weakness - but I don't mean that kind of moment of weakness."

After that statement my nervous laughter turned into actual laughter and then the woman turned around to adjust what apparently was some sort of lingerie under the jacket she was wearing. She eventually turned around and asked us how old we were. We responded and she said, "Oh, wow you guys are so young! I thought you were older... not because of how you look, but because you look so mature together." She then began to discuss our wedding and how exactly he should propose to me. Luckily, after that, she began to tell us about her family and I was spared talking about the details of marrying a guy I had known for less than 72 hours.

But, hey, at least I was called smart and mature, right? And talking to her was a lot more comfortable than watching the crack/meth/bath salts addict twitch awkwardly and then repeatedly try and yank the bus doors open three blocks before his actual stop.

Is public transit always that interesting?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Oh, mornings...

So today was kind of a mess of a morning.

There really wasn't a good reason why I was so out of it. I actually set my alarm earlier than the first day on the job, as today I was not promised bagels to start off the morning.

Everything was going really well - makeup went on at a decent pace, I wasn't rushing to throw together a crappy PB&J like I was the day before. Then I had to get everything into my bag.

The bag my company gave me is a laptop backpack. It's pretty nice, with padded straps and a padded back, not too heavy. It's kind of strange, though, because it doesn't have a laptop pouch, just a removable laptop sleeve. The oddest part is this little flap down zipper pouch that's attached by a buckle. Actually, why the heck am I describing this? Here it is, go look at it. The design is super weird. Why is that pocket connected by a buckle? There's nothing that can be buckled in?

Anyways, I had to figure out how to shove my lunch in. The sandwich ended up going in one of the side pockets and the Cheez-its in the other. There's no water bottle pocket, so I ended up shoving that behind the CD sleeve in the main pocket. Yeah, I didn't like putting liquid by the laptop. but what are you going to do?

So I then leave my apartment and shove the keys in that weird buckle pocket. Even with the bag rearranging, I left right on time.

Then, about two blocks away, I realized... I didn't put my phone & wallet anywhere in this stupid bag.

So I quickly walk back to my building, up the staircase, put the key in the lock. And the stupid key isn't working. It goes in the lock fine, but isn't turning at all. I've had slight trouble fitting the key in before, so I just kept trying and retrying to turn the stupid key.

Then I looked up.

It wasn't my apartment.

Yes, I essentially tried to break into someone else's apartment this morning. I can only hope they didn't hear me fumbling at the lock. My excuse is that I took a different staircase up than I did going down, so I thought I was at my apartment... yeah, that's all I got.

Oh, and then I realized I walked the mile to work with the main portion of the bag unzipped. Yep. The only positive is that it wasn't raining.

Needless to say, I'm using a different bag tomorrow.