HTT Part 1: Western and 1st Avenue

In an earlier post, I discussed my home turf tourist philosophy. My theory is simple. Paying attention to your city, getting away from the obvious, and peeling back the layers often reveals the most rewarding experiences.

Years ago, I realized that while on vacation, I'd stretch myself and wander off the beaten path, regularly. I am not an avid map I just incorporated 'wandering' as part of my plan.... But as luck would have it, I'd end up having the most amazing experiences.

And yet, I often wondered why didn't I have these incredible experiences back at home?

The simple truth was, I acted differently on vacation. I was prepared for an adventure, and while on vacation, I was determined to have one! At home, the mundane routine of day to day living suppressed that adventurous spirit.

When it finally dawned on me what the difference was, I made up my mind to change things. Now, even at home, I'm constantly on the hunt for a new experience--whether it's meeting new people, deliberately seeking out a new adventure, or exploring my city in a different way.

I'd like to share my Home Turf Tourist explorations with you. This is the first of what I hope to be many installments. Come along with me...

Mural on Western Avenue

Orcas are revered here. Three pods of Orca whales reside in the Pacific Northwest waters. One pod decidedly makes its home in Washington waters, another resides in Canadian waters off Vancouver Island. The remaining pod, lives between the two, straddling the waters of both US and Canada.

I've seen all three pods in unique circumstances far from the swarm of tourist boats. The Canadian pod, I saw on a scuba diving trip on the inside passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The Orcas were feeding. With fierce determination, the orcas were were chasing a group of Dahl's porpoises that had passed by our boat.

When I saw both the Washington and the more nomadic pod, I was out motoring with friends on a chartered boat. Converging right before us, the two pods came together and formed what is known as a "super pod". This, apparently is very rare. In total, we watched over 50 Orca frolic for hours. It was amazing watching them breech and then with a huge splash, crash into the water.

Mural on Western Avenue, same building on the east facing side

These are Dahl's porpoises. Occasionally they can be spotted from the ferries. They often play in the waters at the bow of boats. Although they are smaller than dolphins, their movements are the same.

Mural, Western Avenue

I love this picture. Behind the barbed wire and the "Danger: High Voltage" sign, there is an image of salmon. For me, this photo visually represents the Pacific Northwest salmon quandry. Is the fence corraling the salmon like big net? Or is it a source of protection...keeping external forces at bay?

Danger: High Voltage. The subject of salmon is a hot topic here. While salmon is still considered the quintessential Northwest delicacy, our wild salmon runs have declined to dangerously low levels--and some are in jeopardy of complete extinction.

The wild salmon population has been deeply impacted by a number of society-driven factors, including: damming, population growth, and pollution. And yet, there are currently over a hundred non-profit organizations attempting to preserve, if not restore, the salmon population.

Hammering Man at Seattle Art Museum, 1st Avenue

The Seattle Art Museum's Hammering Man is a major Seattle landmark and ordinarily, I wouldn't consider it HTT worthy. However, the museum is under construction and things look a little bit different with the Man.

According to the SAM website, Hammering Man is an artist's representation, celebrating the worker. Typically, the hammering arm strikes 4 times a minute, from 7am to 10pm. The mechanism is designed so the Man rests at night and during Labor Day.

While the museum has been undergoing renovations, Hammering Man has been bound and constricted, confined and without movement. Every time I pass this site, I wonder if that is not a more accurate representation of the working man....

"Pi in the Sky" at Harbor Steps, between 1st and Western

The blasted steel sculpture "Pi" is a curious piece. The title is a pun on the phrase "pie in the sky" -- an American expression for things lofty and unobtainable. It is situated next to Harbor Steps Apartments. When these apartments were first built, they were some of the most expensive in the city and they attracted residents including sports team players, the affluent, and the up and coming. Harbor Steps was THE place to live downtown.

A friend of mine lived at Harbor Steps in a microscopic apartment with dead on view of hammering man's arm, striking....4 times a minute...14 hours a day....And she paid a ghastly premium! She couldn't really afford to live there...but she was chasing the pie in the sky life...or was it...pi in the sky?

On a lighter note...I'll leave you with this...

Oriental Lilly, Pike Place Market flower stall