Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I loved Seattle..

Seattle is eerily like Toronto. The downtown Public Market on Pike mimicks St Lawrence Market, the ferry port, our own and the Space Needle our CN Tower. The highway going downtown is tree lined like the Don Valley Parkway. I have to admit though that the scenery is more lush, the trees taller, the estuary more expansive, and connected to the Pacific Ocean, and the burbs more affluent. The weather here can be a damper I am told, but we had glorious sunshine over our 4 day stay earlier this month. We were at the Snoqualmie waterfall, just half an hour outside the city, and the vegetation surrounding those 500 metre high falls just took our breath away. We made a day trip to Mount St. Helens, three hours away, the site of that volcano which erupted on a fateful morning in May 1980, destroying in its wake centuries old forests over 264 square miles. Here, the signs of renewal, 3 decades later, with plants, insects, small animals and birds milling about, symbolizing the rise of nature from the ashes, moved me to tears. We were in Bellevue and Redmond, world headquarters of Microsoft, a block away from the first ever iconic Starbucks store and within vicinity of global companies old and new, Boeing, Amazon and Expedia to name just a few. The Boeing plant which is located over the single largest factory space in the world reminded me of the grandiosity that made America the super power it has been. Its interesting how these large companies have managed to draw an entire world of talent to the city more than the bounty of nature - hiking trails, mountains and the ocean. A hub for start ups and upstarts alike, this city has a cool vibe that neighbouring Tacoma lacks. There is a buzz of a breakthrough about to happen, a promise of creative disruption to the world as we know it. I did not take the ferry ride on its famed waterways, go up to the Space needle or even pick up coffee at the first ever Starbucks. But I sensed this is a place young people will enjoy living in. This fact was corroborated by my daughter who generally prefers all things European. Several of her bright young friends are making their careers here!

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