A few final thoughts about Seattle: First, we've found that it is impossible to see even a respectable portion of a place like this in less than 30 days, so the short time we were here doesn't give much heft to my remarks. However, that doesn't stop me from giving you a few impressions.
Seattle is certainly located in a beautiful setting between mountain and ocean, and it is home to economic and technology powerhouses that cause it to be a very desirable place to live and work. This is obviously not a secret, as the area draws new residents like moths to a flame. There is a downside, however; the place is full! There are perhaps locales in the country that are equally crowded, but somehow they seem eventually to accommodate everyone with new and bigger roads or an efficient rapid transit system. Seattle cannot build new roads, because it would displace too many people, and the light rail system is still in its infancy.
As a result, the freeways are packed almost all the time, regardless of the time of day. Downtown is crowded with people, and Pike Street Market is almost impossible to navigate. Popular restaurants often have wait times of over an hour. I'm sure this will be alleviated somewhat in the off season, but we found it a real chore to get around.
It's also very expensive. Here's a sample of some jaw-dropping prices we paid for the items listed:
Lunch: Two BBQ sandwiches (a mistake outside of Texas, Memphis, Kansas City, etc.), a shared order of fries, an iced tea and a soda - $35.00, including tip.
Dinner: One order of fish and chips, two fish tacos and two soft drinks - $43.00, including tip.
Dry cleaning: Five pairs of slacks - $39.00
Bear in mind that these purchases were made from mom and pop-style establishments that were anything but upscale. I'm guessing the recent minimum wage hike to $15.00 per hour in Seattle had something to do with this, but I don't know many people for whom these prices wouldn't be a problem.
Anyway, we finally got the message and were more much more careful, checking prices before we bought things and doing more eating in. We just wanted you to be aware, in case you come this way.
We arrived at our current location near Portland after a traffic-choked drive southward on I-5 and, after setting up, went for a familiarization drive around Wilsonville, Tualatin and Tigard. This area is very pretty and well kept, with things definitely slower paced than we found in Seattle. We stopped at a little mom-and-pop Asian storefront restaurant and had a great meal for a great price--almost dirt cheap after Seattle! Can you imagine shrimp and vegetable tempura for only $8.95?
|Kung Pao Chicken|
|Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura|
You're probably seeing a pattern here. We like to eat out, and oriental food and seafood are among our favorites (there could be worse things, healthwise, I guess). We are always trying new local spots like this, and we almost never patronize a big chain restaurant. Sometimes it's a real find, like this one, and sometimes it isn't. Rice Time makes it onto our list of favorite restaurants.
The next post will review our visit to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville.
Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.