Sunday, June 11, 2006

Seattle...second installment

Downtown Seattle at the Pike Place Market was interesting. We got there and parked in a garage right at the market. It cost $11.00 for the maybe two hours we were there. It was worth it though, because the streets were narrow and crowded, and finding parking would have been no fun at all. The market itself was not as "grand" as I had pictured it, and in fact bore a certain resemblence to downtown Burlington, Vermont on farmer's market day. Seattle's tourist people should take a real hard look at the Pike Place area, because it seems to be peopled by three sorts. The obviously out-of-town tourist from some tourist factory in the midwest somewhere (where DO they get those same shirts and shorts that tourist wore in 1963?) who walk around faces agog taking in the bizarre sights of the crunchy-hippie-down-and-outs who make up the second group. Unfortunately the nearby park was occupied in one entire half by homeless men trying to catch a few winks wrapped up in their blankets, and bleary-eyed druggies who looked out at the tourists as if the visitors were the odd birds. The third group inhabiting the market is the vendors and the locals who go there to buy. A busy trade goes on, and there are jewelry stalls, art of various kinds, totebags, tee shirts and the like for the tourists, fresh herbs, flowers, seafood, and several eateries, soaps and herbal products, and more. All told a thriving, jostling vortex of humanity packed in like the fish on the displays.The fish market is as you would expect a fish market to be. That whole thing about throwing fish around is really over rated. It looks like guys throwing fish around. Well, I've seen the Fulton Fish Market in NYC, so maybe fish aren't a thrill like they are to some people.I got some lovely honey sticks at a really good price. Less than I could get them in the NorthEast. So that was a good days work.

The crowning glory of Pike Street Market are the flowers. The plethora of bloom was incredible. The variety of flowers was amazing, and the colors and groupings were truly wondrous. The prices for cut flowers were so low that if you could keep flowers for months it would pay to import them from Seattle. I have never seen such lush, large, colorful bouquets. Going rate was $15.00 for a large bouquet better than the local florist could make you for $40.00. Arrangements of these flowers was so professionally done, and so attuned to color and size that if I lived there I would always have fresh flowers and never have to grow any myself!

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