Well, after many hours of travel, we reached Seattle yesterday afternoon where we will stop over for a few days. I remember this as a lovely scenic city and I’m keen to see some more of it.
I’m very impressed with the solid history of business organisations that are headquartered in the Seattle area. They include international names such as Amazon, Starbucks, Alaskan Airlines, Microsoft, Holland America Line and Cray Computer (who make some of the world’s most powerful computers). Other companies who were founded in Seattle, but are now headquartered in our places, include Boeing (of course), Costco, World Vision and UPS. It seems a very good place to work for career minded individuals who are looking for opportunities. It also offers a high quality of life, similar to Sydney and Melbourne
My first job today was to find a new watch. Before we left home, I noticed that my good watch was dramatically losing time so I decided to revert back to an old Swatch watch that I had kept from a previous time. Unfortunately, I found on the plane, that it was performing just as badly and with a need for punctuality with airlines, tours and trains over the next few weeks, i didn’t want to be let down by poor time keeping. I fixed this with the help a little money and the assistance of a nice lady at the watch counter at the local Macy’s Department Store.
Because of a measure of jet lag, we slept in this morning and totally missed the hotel breakfast time. Jill wasn’t feeling very well so she decided to relax in our hotel room while I went off to visit the Museum of Flight near the Boeing Aircraft facility. I asked the hotel concierge how to get there and she suggested the Route 124 bus.
I found the bus easily on 3rd Avenue and I realised once I found a seat on it that this was going to be an interesting trip. There seemed to be quire a number of intellectually disabled people on the bus who were apparently going home from whatever activity they had been involved in during the morning. One short guy stood at the front of the bus and, for most of the trip, proceeded to address everyone in a loud voice, giving a talk about his philosophy on life. As he alighted, he loudly endorsed a play at the local theatre, imploring all the passengers to buy tickets immediately. The bus driver actually waited for him to finish before driving off.
Another man was travelling with his girlfriend. She complained that she was feeling hot, so he walked along the entire length of the bus opening every window (including the skylight in the roof). A little while later, she companied that she was cold, so he went back along the bus closing everything up again. I thought that the man sitting next to me was pretty much OK but I suspect that he had some level of autism because everytime the bus stopped he would talk softly to himself asking “Why has the bus stopped? It should be moving! Why aren’t we going anywhere?” I haven’t been so well entertained for a long time.
I had expected to take a taxi to the museum which would have cost about $35 each way. The bus ride cost me the standard fare of $2.50 and because i returned win three hours, my trip back to downtown was free.
For anyone with an interest in aircraft, the museum is a ‘must see’ place. I think it easy stand up to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. It has some fantastic exhibits that range from historic Boeing aircraft to the Space Shuttle cabin training simulator. In a seperate exhibition hall there are planes from WW1 and WW2 and a number from the Vietnam war era. The centre piece was a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. This plane is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic stealth reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the United States Air Force. During aerial reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate and outfly the missile. It served with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. A total of 32 aircraft were built; 12 were lost in accidents and none lost to enemy action.
I chatted for a while to a local guy who was excited to see one of the aircraft types that he flew with the American Airforce in Vietnam. He must have been either very brave, or perhaps stupid, as he did three thirteen-month long tours in Vietnam and was shot down once and had to be medivaced out with quite serious injuries. I told him that as a truck driver, I just did a lot of low level flying!