Seattle: The Emerald City

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The trip to Seattle was a planned, yet felt like a spontaneous getaway because the date snuck up on me. Seattle is known as the Emerald City because even during winter, it is surrounded by greenery due to the abundant evergreen trees. I went with Megan, one of my closest friends. We met in college and when she moved to Portland to pursue her masters degree, I made consistent plans to visit. In that moment, what we had in common was a strong need for break.

It was our habit to keep up with current events and discuss them. About a week prior to the trip, I was overwhelmed in the wake of seemingly endless shootings instigated by white supremacists and stories of ICE separating children from their parents. A feeling of great shame began to bud in my heart in light of what was going on. When ICE arrested six hundred undocumented immigrants while working in factories and left hundreds of kids at school crying in their hands, something in me snapped. For a moment it felt as if I was consumed by sadness, anger, and frustration. Traveling always reminds me to stay hopeful because it shows us all of the beautiful things we make for each other. Megan, being extremely educated in matters of social justice, helped me put things in perspective as well.

Seattle seems to always be changing in gradual, yet radical, ways, as if it were in a state of evolution. It is one of the most influential urban centers in the world, especially influential in industries such as engineering, economics, and technology. In 1851, the first colonies inhabited Alki Point, which is in West Seattle area and then shifted to Elliott Bay, where downtown Seattle is today. As the 1800s were coming to an end, two events altered the budding city’s destiny forever: the construction of the Great Northern Railroad and the learning of gold in Alaska’s Klondike territory. These fortunate moments in history propelled Seattle forward and upward in to a new era of prosperity.

Transportation around Puget Sound, which surrounds the city, was needed before the regular ferry service had started operation. The nickname “Mosquito Fleet” was coined for individual vessels that made quick trips along the water to provide transportation between towns and islands.

Seattle’s first skyscraper is Smith’s Tower, a white arrow pointing at the sky, opened in 1914. When it was first built, it was regarded as a “monster structure” and was the tallest building west of the Mississippi for many years. It is a symbol of the city’s early expansion in to an urban metropolis.

Ah, Pike Place Market – a foodie’s dream come true. For more than a century, farmers have sold fresh and local ingredients to city dwellers.

The gum wall is very cool and also a little disgusting. In the afternoon heat, the stench of slightly old sweet bubble gum smell wafts through the air.

The Chihuly Garden and Glass was an exhibit located in the Seattle Center that I was looking forward to seeing for months. I couldn’t believe the pictures of extravagant and colorful figures were glass. To work with such a delicate and temperamental material and to create such calculated chaos in his works was astounding to me. Seeing these artworks in person was even more rewarding because I got to witness the amount of detail Chihuly puts in to his work, including subtle similarities and themes each piece has. Apparently, his work is spread out across the globe. I will always be looking with a keen eye while I’m traveling!

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