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Ping Underwhelmed In Seattle Underworld

May 9th, 2011 · Tags:Cities

Ha … I am in New Zealand, yet I have just now found time to jot down thoughts on my previous journey to Seattle.

I’ll be brief. Many of you know this travel blog is funded in part by my “Dirty Gigs” — disaster recovery jobs I do on the side. As I have said before, “Mother Nature” is my travel agent … I go to and write about places where she has had her way with the locals … businesses … infrastructure.

Most recently, the DGig was in Seattle at a major manufacturing firm. I was there only a couple of weeks before being called away to New Zealand and only had one day out on the town. I didn’t go back to the original Starbucks or see the famous troll statue under the bridge. I DID NOT see Curt Cobain’s grave. Nor did I pay my respects to Jimi Hendrix. But … I did work with a new friend — an Apache Native American named Chris from Arizona who visited the sacred burial grounds for both … LOL … He is a film buff and insisted my retro mutton chops make me a dead ringer for Peter Fonda in “Easy Rider.” I consider that a great compliment. (I also find this most ironic, since I just put Peter Fonda shots on this blog a few weeks back at The Dallas International Film Festival.)

I know … I digress … but one last Apache flick thought from Seattle … Chris was quite impressed that I had seen and photographed Robert Redford at Sundance Film Festival. My Apache brother from another mother owns 1000s of movies, and Redford’s “Jeremiah Johnson” is one of his favorites despite “all the Indians who were ‘killed’ in the making of the film.”

So back to Seattle …

Ha … the highlight of my tour was a $15 trip to the underworld. There is a tourist trail that takes you under the Seattle streets for a couple of hours … I mean, it is okay, but in retrospect i might have just Googled the history of Seattle sewers and been just as satisfied. In the underground, there is little to see, other than old brick walls, perhaps some dubious mold growth, and a trash heap or two. I don’t know what I was expecting … maybe a once rocking bordello or miserable sweat shop or anything, with furniture still in place covered in cobwebs??? Well, there was none of that.

The highlights or takeaways were that a pioneer who helped to solve Seattle sewage issues was named Crapper … seriously. And it was interesting, that the city fathers raised the original streets because of drainage issues, but left sidewalks down below. Back in the day, people had to climb a ladder to cross the street.

In addition, the tour guide told a tall tale about the totem in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.  Ha!  I’d Google that too:

Stolen Totem

I hope I am not too harsh toward the Underground Seattle tour, but I thought is was subpar. Keep in mind, this is coming from a guy who had just spent two days working in a manhole beneath the streets of a disaster site at the Dirty Gig (Ha … we called that the “man cave” assignment) … So, the grimy underside of the streets of Seattle was not all that fascinating.

Good honk … at least the tour could have had a “ghost” jump out of a dark corner to scare the wits out of the tourists … 2 pings.

Hoping to salvage the day, already having spent coin on the subterranean tour … My travel buddy Markus and I rushed out toward Mount Ranier, the peak we could easily see days at a time towering over our work site … while we worked … with the sun reflecting off the snowy peaks.

Ha … on this rainy, overcast day – our first day off … no matter how close we got to the mountain, we couldn’t even see it for the rain and clouds … Yes … we got the true Seattle treatment … rain, rain, rain yet no Rainier. In fact, the National Park was even closed, with no explanation, and we had to turn around.

In summary, my first trip to Seattle a few years back for my first Wi-Fi blog was fantastic. This time, not so much. I will have to try it again soon. Thank goodness I hooked up with an old college buddy. Bicycle Bob and I had a great meal at a French restaurant … talked of the old days, kayaking and of course bicycles — at a great place called Bastille. Check it out.

Know what I saying?