Coffee. Music. Food. Fashion.Natural beauty. Sport. What more could I ask for in a city? A Wizard perhaps?! Seattle has so much going for it. Unfortunately it is located in America, but so very close to Canada. I’m sure if the Canadians slowly snuck it across the border, no one would notice. I spent the better part of 6 days there and really enjoyed it. The weather is peak of the US Summer and this far in the North West means clear warm days in the mid-20’s with perfect lighting, great for indulging in all the Seattle sites.
First undertaking was the Seattle Centre, home to the Space Needle and Experience Music Project. The only way to get to an-ex World’s Fair site is via the Monorail. Monorails have a really 50’s vibe to them. This comes from an era who gave us cartoons like the Jetson’s that had us all living in Space and driving flying cars by the year 2000. Instead we find ourselves post-200, Googling our names and watching YouTube videos of Cats getting hit by Babies. Where are the flying cars? Where is my robo-maid?
There is something about Seattle that still isn’t quite post-2000. It seems to have held onto the best bits of the 90’s. As well it should! This area is the birthplace of Nirvana and Grunge music/fashion that accompanied them. The Northwest, which also includes Portland, is somewhat idealised by Hipsters in the US. It is an infectious type of cool that is idealistic yet understated at the same time like a flannel shirt you could actually wear with a tuxedo. Nothing better celebrates these Grunge credentials than the Experience Music Project- the best “museum” I have visited since MOMA in NY. I was completely stoked to be able to catch “Nirvana:Taking punk to the Masses” exhibition. It celebrates the 20 yr Anniversary of ‘Nevermind’ and was endlessly interesting. Old photos, recordings and memorabilia chart the rise of Nirvana and the local scene. A highlight for me was the Fender Cobain custom Jagstang and one of Kurt’s Cardigans. I am quite partial to a good Cardigan and for the informed cardi wearer, Kurt is King.
Seattle has an air of difference floating through it. The people seem more informed and eco aware than the rest of America. They know good food and coffee. I have had both here, and it wasn’t too hard to find. Stumptown offered up coffee that was equivalent to some of the best cafes in Australia, all in the same style environ. On Sunday night I checked out Mars Hill Church, regarded as one the more culturally relevant yet authentic churches in the world. My major theory is that America if full of cultural Christians. One’s that have distorted the true faith and bent it to suit their own culture and belief needs. Ironically,this form of distorted theology is not too dissimilar to the outlook of Muslim extremists the US seem fear so much. The Church was a cool setup. An old warehouse downtown done up in boutique bandroom style, indie rock band and cafe onsite. I could head to a place like that every Sunday.
On our night we took in the Baseball. I don’t think anything has given me a sense of American culture like this. It was great fun. Big hot dawgs, garlic fries, fat families in sports uniform fashion, summer nights and a game so slow it makes you want to tell old people with walking frames to slow down.
To return home we faced a 3 flight, 18+ hour trek. I enjoyed my time in Canada and the US , but can’t help but feel the world is getting smaller. There is no longer unique culture. Every town, thanks to the internet(if you haven’t heard of it Google it!) and globalisation, is just another version of the last. Someone told me recently we are now just broken up into different tribes, scattered around the globe. The idea being wherever you are, you should be able to link up with your tribe. I don’t know if I like this idea or not. Either way, travel is great for helping you realise how we are all not that different from each other. Just individual versions of the same.