April Update: Seattle Trip (and a little rant about PAMF)

A little late this time, but here’s my update for April.

April was a good month, I think. For the most part anyways. Aside from the usual Drawing Meats meetups and errands, I actually took a trip outside of California this time!

I went to Seattle for 4 days, an opportunity that I snatched up on short notice and then took advantage of by using the time to visit old friends and say hi to the people I miss.

I didn’t do much visiting of tourist sites since I’ve seen most of them multiple times from living there, which is one of the nice things for people living in Seattle. The tourist attractions aren’t just for tourists. Cultural festivals happen frequently by the Space Needle. Pike Place Market is an actual functioning marketplace frequented by locals for groceries, hip food stops, and random artsy finds in its lower floors (I’m personally a fan of Storyville Coffee. While not my favorite cup of brew in the whole of Seattle (that still goes to Caffe Ladro, and then that one special barista at Aura Bakery in Kirkland), I love the “secretiveness” of the shop itself, and the ambiance of the cafe’s interior. If you’re in Pike Place Market, a block outside of the main marketplace building, find the small circular sign of a boy playing with a toy airplane. The coffee shop is upstairs). You don’t need to drive or hike far to see those special natural scenic wonders (like waterfalls). Seattle is small enough that its tourist attractions are really just part of its daily life.

Now the downside to Seattle is its traffic. And perhaps its urban planning in general. If you ever do the underground tour, it helps to explain why the streets are so weird (urban planning seems to be summed up as a “oh… I guess we should have done it that way” afterthought and then a “let’s just build on top of it” solution). Seattle traffic is like LA traffic; What looks like a short distance on a map will take twice as long to get there due to street layout, road conditions, and backups. Seattle is a city that has grown far faster than its infrastructure can handle, and it seems its increase in population and urban planning needs still surprises its leadership every year. As a result, there’s always construction. Not to mention in spite of being in a climate that does see snow every year, they do not salt the roads, which leads to water expansion damage, so the roads are continuously in disrepair in spite of their heavy amount of construction zones (to be fair though, the non-salting of roads is due to their proximity to the large body of fresh water that is Lake Washington. Hey, at least Seattle is very conscious of its environmental impact). Construction plans seems random too, or uncoordinated. Random streets will be one-way or be split in two by a railway pillar, making it extremely dangerous to merge lanes. It’s a Seattle residential “thing” to have a circle with a tree planted in the middle of intersections, turning them in to mini round-abouts. Oh and the busses use the same tunnel as the light rail! Did I mention that their 2 busiest bridges actually have hours where they are down for boat crossing? And the 520 tends to be down for full weekends b/c they’ve spent the last 3+ years working on it to expand the bridge by 1 lane. The traffic in Seattle always reminds me why we pay income taxes in California. Highway 101 may be congested on most weekday commutes, but at least the culprit is singular (a lot of people) and the infrastructure tries to mitigate it.

Not that the Bay Area doesn’t have its commuting issues (like the Caltrain being above-ground and crosses roads in some pretty dangerous-looking intersections for a train system that’s so actively used), but I don’t know… perhaps it’s geography that colors my opinions of driving in these two different areas.

Anyways…

I stayed at the WAC this time (Washington Athletic Club). I didn’t know my hotel stay included access to the athletic club facilities… I think I would have liked to check out the women’s floor with the pool and hot tub (^_^!), but likely would not have had time. The hotel itself is very…. elitist? Not really my cup of tea. It felt like their luxury was based on a culture of exclusivity, not necessarily elegance. Oh well. Clean and quiet. That’s all I really need.

I did manage to visit the Starbucks Reserve, which has a convenient Serious Pie located inside! So good. 🙂 I didn’t drink any coffee (I can’t! The acid doesn’t play well with my stomach), but the aromas were awesome. And the atmosphere. And the pizza. 🙂

Otherwise, my entire time was visiting friends, grabbing food with them, and just catching up!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to really eat much in a lot of those cases. While in Seattle, my health problems jumped back up in intensity again, but with a pile of medications to dull the symptoms I was able to get through the weekend in relatively decent shape. So I bided my time and enjoyed the company until I got home to see my doctor. Which…

I feel like I could dedicate a whole post to the anger and hatred I feel for Palo Alto Medical Foundation, but I don’t want to turn this update in to a big rant. Just know that PAMF, in spite of its shiny buildings and centralized locations of doctors, labs, surgery centers, and specialists, is first and foremost… a business.

I found another facility that’s local to me with a relatively well-reviewed doctor. I’m going to be trying them soon.

In the meantime, recouping from the trip, getting back to my routine. Working. On to the next month!

Starbucks reserve exterior
Starbucks tasting room in Seattle. Very fancy inside.

Continue reading “April Update: Seattle Trip (and a little rant about PAMF)”