Monday, May 13, 2013

Seattle 2013 Day 4: Back to Pike Place Market

Seattle 2013 Day 4: Back to Pike Place Market

Already it's my last day of the trip to Seattle. What a great and chill trip. Still lots of fun stuff to do on the last day! I started by packing up most of my stuff.

Shirt and Panic Button from 826 Seattle
I then headed to the post office to mail back the helmet that I had rented with the bike from the bike store on Saturday. I'd forgotten to give it back in person, and didn't want to schlep all the way back up there, so I just mailed it back. That was actually a pretty fun and unexpected experience in itself. The guy selling supplies at the post office was very nice and had cute pictures of his family rotating on a really old computer monitor screen behind him. He spent a while picking me out the perfect box to fit the helmet, it was very funny. Waiting in line at the post office took a while, there were tons of people there. To pass the time, a nice older man behind me in line started to chat with me, and it turns out he served in the Presidio when it was a military base for 2 years after fighting in the Korean War?! Crazy huh. It was a nice chat and he was quite an interesting fellow. He thought it was cool I am from Canada and he said Vancouver and Victoria are very nice.

Then it was back to The Crumpet Place for a Pesto/English Cheese crumpet, and also the Maple Butter Crumpet. The maple butter one was an epic win, it tasted a lot like a maple glazed donut from Tim Hortons!! Amazing. I got the bottomless tea again and it was really great. While I was sitting there, a girl sat near me who was also sitting there on her own and seemed like a tourist as well. We started chatting and it turned out she was from Calgary, there on a Psych conference with a ton of other people. I told her about all the crazy biking I'd done and we shared some travel tips for Seattle. I love traveling!! So that was pretty fun and a tasty breakfast, then back to the hotel to pack up the remaining stuff.

Crumpets being made
I checked out, left my bags there, and then headed to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a lunch meeting with a contact there. It was amazing!! It was so cool to see inside and also to have lunch at their cafeteria. I got rice, potatoes and some awesome local cod.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
I was there to meet with a lady who runs a portion of the education initiative at the Gates Foundation, just to generally discuss my volunteer interests (826 Valencia, OLPC, Film Society, etc) and to learn more about their education strategy. It was just fascinating. She told me a lot about Ed-Tech "Education Technology" startups that were starting in the Bay Area, and how this is a new area of growth in Silicon Valley. She said that a lot of the great work that has been done to modernize other industries with technology hasn't really scratched the surface yet of what is possible for Education. Pretty interesting. After seeing the exhibit earlier in the weekend, I asked more questions about their data-driven style and rigor that they use to solve world problems innovatively... it feels a lot like they are using techniques I would use to solve programming problems, but applied with real-world issues like global health, environment, and education. Super amazing.

After this fun lunch and great discussion, I walked back downtown and checked out a few shops. I had coffee at the Seattle Coffee Works "slow bar". Another dude was at the slow bar, and we chatted a bunch. He was from Minneapolis, and had never tried this kind of fancy coffee before. He was psyched. I told him about a bunch of spots in San Francisco that I thought he'd probably be interested to visit.

Lots of coffee making equipment
Slow brew
And back to my favourite spot, Pike Place Market! :) I got a Peanut Butter Chocolate cheesecake and more Beecher's Market Spice cheese curds. I also got to see the cheese curds being made!

Cheese Curds being made at Beecher's Cheese

 Here's a video of the process too.

At Beecher's Cheese Curds in Seattle at Pike Place Market, I got to see cheese curds being made!! It was pretty crazy, the day before this entire tub was just liquid.

I also tried the Mac & Cheese at Beecher's which people had suggested I had to try. They were correct!! I then did a bit more wandering in the Pike Place Market and finally busted out my SLR camera to take a few quality photos of the market signs and tulips that were for sale. Also, I had to get a couple better photos of the original Starbucks while I was at it.

Tulips at the Pike Place Market
Public Market Center
I love this sign
Another pic of the sign
Flinging fish
Nice catch!
The other sign
The original Starbucks
Street musician outside the original Starbucks
Preparing crumpets at The Crumpet Place
Then back to the hotel, got my bags, and the girls at the desk were hilariously psyched that I had picked up some Beecher's Cheese Curds. From there, a quick walk back to University Station and then the Light rail back to the airport. I found Mom a nice gift at the airport and got a tasty Starbucks Refresher while waiting... those things are pretty good.

Back on the plane to SF, I had lots of time to think about the trip. It really was a great idea, a great plan to reconnect and re-energize. The trip was very outdoorsy, biking and also tons of walking... lots of exercise was also a brilliant strategy to refresh myself. I am coming back to my day-to-day with enlightened perspective, a clear mind, and an invigorated attitude. Brilliant!! "The Power of Time Off!" As I was on the Light rail, I noticed a quote from Chris Guillebeau, the awesome dude from The Art of Non-Conformity.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” -Terry Pratchett
That really hit the mood just right. Seattle was so awesome, and I'm so glad I went. What a perfect trip.

--Mike Jutan, 4/22/2013

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