The transition from Georgetown to Seattle, notably during the sunny period in the early afternoon, is marvelous to behold; outside of the bus, the sight of the numerous loading freight and cranes transitioning into the tall spires of the Emerald City can be breathtaking in a way. My stay within Seattle had been strictly limited, at last it pains me to mark the days before my departure into Portland, Oregon. What little time I had left was spent exploring the city districts, turning to the parties that took place at night, and carefully watching my budget and expenses whenever I did.
How easy it is to forget taking photos of the cityscape, its neon signs, the sleaze of a strip bar open in the afternoon, its smoke shops purveying shelf-stocked tobacco and the croon of buskers out at the corners of the Seattle streets. In some of my entries previous, I name the heart of certain cities within North America (or South Canada, as I like to call it) places where the number of bystanders are constantly flocking. It pleases me to inform everyone that Vancouver’s Davie street is akin to Seattle’s own Capitol Hill, which is an area that from my own eyes is flocking with college students and sidewalk cafes serving liquor in the afternoon.
One of the many attractions referred to me by multiple deviants local to the Seattle scene is the Crypt. Photography is forbidden inside like any sensible sex store. Here, I decided to upgrade my miniature Leather Pride flag into a full-sized one. The attendants are fond of talking about the queer community which unfortunately I had not found the time to survey more. According to both them and locals within the scene, Seattle is a liberal city, and to this I can testify also in that the rainbow flags and gay couples striding together are prevalent throughout.
Admittedly the toys while decent in quality and fair priced proved tempting, but alas I had since been overloaded by both my travel necessities and other paraphernalia. It pains me to be forced to window shop for the time being. On the other hand, the Crypt features multiple informative brochures at the counter, each going into the basics of various fetishes such as the hankerchief code to the care and maintenance of corsets. I managed to snag a few for future reference.
My exploration of Capitol resulted in meeting the benevolent semi-sentient statue of the late Jimmy Hendrix who, contrary to popular belief, is in fact alive and well. I question him momentarily about his views on the fetish and alternative scene at large and am delighted to revel in his support of it.
Most of the places I passed by in Capitol Hill are tattoo shops, gas stations, and the occasional art stores. Mind you, my explorations of certain districts are kept mostly on a one-shot basis, though in the future I expect this being liable to change; the pedestrians along this area have a late Spring fashion to their dress code, carrying handbags in dark auburn colors and nylon leggings, converse and suede coated boots. The flyers posted on the streetlamps promote local indie bands and video game themed events, maybe a queer night or two.
Returning back to downtown Seattle, I make my way up the hill towards the Public Market Center, there to explore the fabled depths of its shopping center and take in the putrid smell of fresh fish on ice. Incidentally I was liable to race up a long flight of stairs which stop before the moving steel figure of the Hammer Man. Cranking up the loudest ear-bursting track reminiscent of Rocky, I made the attempt.
Halfway through, as a smoker, I realize what a terrible fucking idea that turned out to be. I stagger my way up the rest, saving the energy for when I actually hit the steps in Philadelphia. On a more positive note, I was offered free pizza samplings consisting of basil and pesto at a classy pizza joint nearby. Suppose you could say that was worth the effort.
The Public Market Center is as its name implies a fisherman’s market. The catch of the day is lively (no pun intended) and occasionally prompts the screaming of tourists whenever a trout or cod kicks up a face full of ice chunks. The air is reeking of fish and stretched alongside the area are numerous stalls selling a variety of clothing, trinkets, and native crafts.
It pleases me to say that amongst the many stalls is one in particular that sells leather based goods including a series of cuffs and wallets, all genuine leather, handmade. Guarding the stalls is a nameless little sailor who identifies within the community. He is more than happy to wave the flag momentarily while I snap his photo. It turns out he is in fact transgendered, that is having a successful sex change of the most advanced degree, going from female-to-male.
As a word of warning, do not wear smooth soled footwear in the marketplace – the slipperiness of the floor tiles, caked in cleaner solution and otherwise, makes for a treacherous slip. The rails alongside the stalls are placed there for a good reason.
Beneath the ground floor lies the basement area where I am immediately drawn to the many hobby stores such as miniature trains and hand-sized porcelain crafts. Classic pre-war and French cafe posters decorate the floor below. Most noticeable is a hall of oddities that sadly enough turned out to be closed that day. It would not surprise me that Seattle is a place where most people sleep at eleven and wake up at four in the morning – the shops close at around five or six at the market center.
In regards to food costs in Seattle, like I mentioned previously before, most of what you find are priced from average to above-average including taxes. On one such afternoon of walking the city streets, glancing at the newspaper stalls and taking in the smell of ‘fresh’ hotdogs, I make my way into Bruno’s which is a 35 year old Italian-Mexican fusion restaurant.
The owner of this establishment, the titular Bruno, is friendly and polite. While I may not be a food critic, the service is exceptional and most of all kink-friendly as well; after having mentioned only a bit of my travel purpose, I am provided with a complimentary salad alongside my alfredo-salmon course. The only exception to the unique blend of Italian and Mexican decor are the stereotypically loud banter of Italian housewives, perhaps even from New Jersey, that bicker and gossip loudly in the background.
Tipping generously after my meal, I depart Bruno’s and venture back towards the monorail station, wherein I have another fateful encounter that I reserve for my subsequent entry. Overall, however, Seattle is wondrous to explore in the daytime and I strongly encourage everyone to pay both Capitol Hill and downtown a visit.
Next Update: Abandoning Faith