From the 29th of April to the 5th of May I shall not be in England, instead I shall be getting a suntan in Seattle.

What do you mean Seattle is full of rain and rarely has sunshine?  Bugger it!

I shall be spending some time with Jeannie Cool (from the #joiito and #suwcharman on IRC channels I sometimes frequent) exploring Seattle, chilling out, and getting fingerprinted just for daring to enter the country.

So, what should I go and see while I am over there?  Are there any ambulance people who I can talk to over there about their astounding cardiac arrest survival rate (the best in the world)?  Will I fulfill my dream of worshipping at the altar of Microsoft? (I see the book Microserfs as an aspirational lifestyle, and I don’t see why Apple advocates should have all the fun).  Will I be able to resist going up a ridiculously high tourist trap as I did when I visited Toronto?  And can I be sneaky and buy a Mac Mini while over there with my strong Pound Sterling?

I’d love to meet up with other bloggers in the area, and while Jeannie is arranging some stuff for me, surely she can’t know everyone?  Knowing Jeannie, it wouldn’t surprise me if she did, indeed, know every blogger in the area.

So…any bright ideas folks?

Later tonight I have the first of two nightshifts, and if you behave yourselves I might even give you the URL for the two (admittedly rough, but hopefully soon to improve) Podcasts I’m doing.

19 thoughts on “Travel”

  1. The Experience Music Project is an awesome visit. It's easy to spend a whole day in there making plinky-plinky noises with all their instruments.There's also a simulator thing that I didn't get to go on because of the strobe lighting. It was quite amusing sitting in the 'too ill to have fun' seats outside the ride. Me and the old lady in the wheelchair.

    Directions available here but you won't need it. It's not easy to miss and it's right next to the needle.

    Ithika in the broken hut

  2. There's a nice little park w/a view of downtown, the space needle and mt. rainier. Ahh, just found it: Kerry ParkThen there's Archie McPhee's, whose catalogs you may have seen. Purveyors of unusual, strange, and otherwise fascinating items, it's a blast to visit their store.

    If you drink coffee and can't get Peet's, Tulley's from Seattle isn't bad.

    We chronicled our 30th anniversary trip up there last year; you may find some of it interesting or useful.

  3. In my experience, the whole “it always rains in Seattle” is just proof that the Seattle marketing department have never visited Manchester πŸ™‚ although I don't know if I've visited this early in the year. Summer and autumn seemed to provide generally better weather than I'd expect in North-West England.The Experience Music Project would be my must-do in Seattle – really well done history of the electric guitar exhibition, and lots of music stuff to play with: try your hand at mixing; sing your heart out in a soundproof booth; pretend to be in a band at a stadium gig… we assumed a couple of hours would be plenty of time but only left because the place was closing for the night!

    Pioneer Square was quite a good area for restaurants and night-life, plenty of bars/restaurants with live music, that sort of thing (although I haven't been to Seattle since I left Microsoft in 2002, so things may have changed…)

    The Microsoft campus is in Redmond, the other side of Lake Washington. There's not much else over in Redmond really, but there are quite a few buildings for MS. None that really stand out as worth visiting, as I recall… I guess you might want to pop into the company store (if you can get in, I don't know if it's employee-only or not) and get a Microsoft pen, or t-shirt… πŸ˜‰ The visitor center is probably the main tourist attraction, and if you can get access (again, I don't know how easy it is, or whether it's part of the visitor centre) then the Microsoft Home smart home tour is a fairly interesting glimpse of a possible future for our houses.

    Whatever you end up doing, I'm sure you'll have fun. Seattle is a really nice place to visit!

  4. Just so as you're not taken by surprise better watch Sleepless in Seatle again .. you haven't watched it yet? Then you must. I don't think it rained even once in the movie so you'll be fine!

  5. There are some really beautiful islands off the coast of Seattle which are worth a trip. My other tip is to buy as much technical gear as poss seeing as the dollar is nearly 2 to the pound. I've just recently come back from the States and it really is SO cheap!!

  6. The company store is employees only (plus their guests) which is a shame as a couple of years ago I picked up Office Developer for $80. The museum on the flor below is worth a couple of hours (also needs an employee to take you in) – it is a bit 'Bill through the ages' but there is a bank of simulators to play with and a webcam to email your Microsoft Museum postcards to all your friends.Nick

  7. Try breakfast at the Salish Lodge, 15 miles east of Seattle. 9 courses, and if you are still up to it you can walk down to the foot of the falls afterwards.You can hire canoes from the University of Washington waterfront activities center and take them on the edge of lake Washington. The Hiram Chittenden locks are also worth a visit, particularly on Sunday afternoons when all of Seattle returns from a weekend on the Puget Sound. Finally, there is a cycle track (the Burke-Gilman trail) which runs from Fremont (look out for the troll) along the edge of lake Washington to Kenmore. You can hire bikes.


  8. I believe that it is possible to get the fingerprinting etc done at American Embassies- and seeings as you live in a city with an american embassy, it might be worth checking this out. I'm told that otherwise it currently takes about five hours to get through customs in America, but if you're already on file it is much quicker.I don't have many memories of Seattle, as my visit there was somewhat inhibited by the fact that I'd a fracture to my right ischial ramus (pelvis!) and so couldn't do walking in a big way at all. However, I too would recommend the Experience Music Project, and go further to recommend the fried green tomato cakes in the cafe there. I would also recommend the monorail- connects the Needle and Experience Music Project to another part of Seattle, possibly 'down town'? If you're the kind of person who gets excited at the mention of Docklands Light Railway (haven't linked as site didn't look that great, but for those not in the know it's a bit of the London Underground that goes over ground too) then it's def worth checking out. We sat in the very front seats and felt dead Jetsons-like as we zoomed above the city at high speeds.

    And I remember gorgeous sun in Seattle, which out of no where turned to heavy rain…and then back to sun. A lot like Glasgow, although the rain was heavier. However, unlike Glasgow, the bits between the rain were hot and pleasing. I was there mid April 01.

  9. Hey, I'm an ex-pat living in the the Seattle area, Kirkland actually, small city across the bridge from Seattle. If you'd like to meet up with a brit for a few beers, drop me a line. Contact details are on my website,


  10. Assuming our intrepid paramedic will be going into the US on the Visa Waiver form it'll take just as long as it normally does to get past the INS queues. Getting your first set of dabs and iris scan was really quick last time I went through (my first time since the changes). I think it added about five mins at most. If it takes 5hrs then there's other problems. Apart from the scans – it's the normal queue for INS which can be really quick or really slow – but not 5 hrs. Seatac is busy but not that busy…

  11. It doesn't take five hours to clear customs inless you are transporting something illegal or suss about your person. You get the visa waiver form on the plane and they fingerprint both index fingers and take a photo of you at the same time. Apart from a few usual questions like what do you do/where are you staying/how long are you here for – that's about it. Roughly 10-30 mins depending on how busy it is.

  12. Gosh, well my parents will be glad to hear that, they're heading out there later on this year. Two women in my lab had independently had several hour-long waits to get through- sounded a lot like during foot and mouth when they were searching everything. They must have just gotten unlucky, gone through an airport on the same day as someone important or something. They both said they were just queuing for ever….glad to hear that's not the norm!

  13. Cheers Luc, I was getting a bit worried as I'm flying into Huston first, and an hour later flying out to Seattle. I was worried that if I went through immigration there I'd miss my connecting flight.I can now sleep soundly tonight…assuming I don't get too many calls to go to.

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