Vancouver, et al.: Day 1: Traveling and Pike Place Market

Getting to my flight to Seattle was confusing. Though Di Yin and I took the bus I always take straight to the airport, we had trouble finding my flight. Apparently my domestic Virgin America flight was to depart from the international terminal! By the time we figured this out, it was too late for me to check our baggage; instead, Di Yin checked our bags for us. (She flew on a different flight which left slightly later.)

This was the first time I flew Virgin America. I enjoyed watching their safety announcement, done in the form of a wry cartoon. The flight itself was comfortable: the seats were leather; we each had a row to ourselves; every seat had a personal video screen.

Once Di Yin and I landed in Seattle and picked up our luggage and rental car, we drove to Pike Place Market. Seattle was overcast. On the way to the market, we got views of downtown. Also, we passed a harbor with many cranes that reminded me of hobby-horses and a literally countless number of shipping containers.

Once in Pike Place, I started taking pictures. Di Yin did too. The latter link goes to her first picture from this trip. When you see a picture of Di Yin with Hainanese chicken (picture #26), you're done with her pictures for the day. I'll link to the next day's pictures in the following post.

Pike Place itself was pretty impressive and similar to, though much larger than, I remembered. I like the plaques with old pictures of the market. I'd forgotten there were many additional stores underground. Admittedly, most of them sold clothing, or non-artisan and non-food products, so they interested me less than the part above ground. Incidentally, the area where we parked off a highway near the waterfront wasn't pleasant, but Pike Place is fairly insulated from the highway.

The fish-throwing stand was still there, exactly as I remembered. I spotted a variety of other neat items for sale at the market such as unusual vegetables like morel mushrooms and rhubarb. I also tried a variety of very good balsamic vinegars and vinegar-and-oil mixes from a place in Napa. Although I didn't buy any, partially because Di Yin thought the vinegars were too sweet and partially because I didn't want to buy a bottle of already mixed olive oil and vinegar, it got me in the mood to try more vinegars.

Done with Pike Place, we drove north on highway 5, heading to Canada. Highway 5 was often beautiful, driving between massive walls of pine trees. Because the area was so beautiful, we said, "we should find somewhere to stop and enjoy the sights." After the next bend in the road, we saw a sign for the Lake Padden recreation area and exited. It was nice. We walked around a bit. (See the pictures.)

Given the vast acres of forest we passed, I'm not sure what I think about the timber logging camps we saw at times on the drive.

The sun came out like blazes when we were a mile from the Canadian border. :) How's that for symbolism?

Once in Canada, we checked into our hotel, which was a traditional bed and breakfast (without breakfast). Located in a residential neighborhood, we stayed in a family's house (in their guest room) and paid in cash. Throughout the trip we always stayed in places like this. Not only was it cheaper than a regular hotel, we also had the added privilege of being able to use the fridge and utensils, handy for preparing for picnics.

We then had a pretty good dinner in Richmond at Top Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant, a restaurant I never heard mentioned during my previous reading about Vancouver. We were hungry.

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