边境以南 (西雅图周未游)

    许多住在温哥华的人都喜欢南下过境到西雅图渡周末。只须要两个小时简单的车程,便可越过边境,从温哥华直达西雅图市中心。因为我有 Nexus 卡在手,可以驶过非 Nexus 汽车排队过境的车龙,使用 Nexus 卡专用通道,过关只须等候 5分钟。回答关员几个问题后,便可以在 I-5 号公路长驱直往西雅图。 途中有很多特卖商场和赌场,要中途不停车是一件非常困难的事。如果我在任何一个特卖场停车,恐怕会乐不思蜀,大概没有可能抵达西雅图了。

    在温哥华住了廿多年才惊觉我从来没有去过波音公司,或说得正确点,从未去过该公司的未来飞行中心 (Future of Flight Aviation Centre)。该中心在华盛顿州的 Mukilteo 市,位于西雅图以北 25 英哩。在一个又湿又大风的一天,我去了参观这个被健力士世界记录大全收录为全球体积最大,合计4亿7200万立方英呎的巨型建筑物。我参加了他们的 90分钟导赏团,认识了波音公司的历史。经过一轮安检,确定我们没有携带任何手袋、背包、相机和手机后,我们一行人上了一辆巴士,驶过停机坪到达世界最大的飞机库。


    我可以看到一架飞机由开始到结束的整个组装过程。以前所有部件是在这家工厂制造和安装。现在为了精简组装飞机的工序,飞机的各部份包括引擎在內,获安排在其他美国城市不同的工厂制造。做好的飞机部份会由一架特别改装的波音 787 梦幻客机 (Dreamliner) 运载到波音公司位于 Everett 的工厂。组装一架设备完整的飞机只需短短 3星期。全日 24小时有 3组人员轮流值班。导赏团结束后旅游巴士把我们带回未来飞行中心。该中心內有一个观景廊让参观者拍照留念。那里有各种飞机部件,由引擎到座位,一应俱全。能够亲身看到幕后如何制造这些雄伟的飞行机器确是引人入胜,令人难忘。


    Then it was time for lunch.  A friend recommended I check out a local favourite called Ivar's.  There are several restaurants under this company serving mainly seafood.  I headed to the one near the ferry in Mukilteo Landing.  It was a bit odd to drive past all the cars lined up for the ferry in Mukilteo heading for Clinton and other locations.  It was a chilly day and many of the passengers had the same idea and headed to Ivar's on the pier for some clam chowder.  The clam chowder was creamy and delicious. It came in cups, bowls or tankard size.  You could order the red or white clam chowder.  I also ordered some deep fried scallops and some deep fried clams to go with my chowder.  Everything was tasty and I can see why it's so popular with the locals.


    Scallops in the back and fried clams in the front with a bowl of seafood chowder.




    It's a busy Saturday at Seattle's Public Market.


    Then it was back on the road heading towards downtown Seattle.  It has been quite a few years since I last visited Seattle's Public Market.  I have mixed feelings about downtown Seattle.  Parking spaces are few and parking fees are expensive.  I found a parking spot which cost  $5 a half hour.  Pretty steep for a bit of grocery shopping.  It's very busy down at the market.  There were stalls inside and outside the market as well shops along the roads leading up to the market.  You could find all manner of arts and crafts at the various stalls.  Handcrafted jewellery and ornaments as well as unique gift items were on display everywhere.  Definitely a few good ideas for Christmas gift giving.  It was very busy the day I was there and I had to negotiate the throngs of people to make my way through the market.  I made my way towards the famous seafood stalls.  One in particular drew throngs of people standing around.  The fishmongers toss the seafood to each other and it looks like the fish are literally flying.  Everyone was hanging around waiting around for the next fish 'fling' which prompted an irate fishmonger to say, "you're supposed to buy it not look at it!"  I have to say there really was a huge array of seafood to purchase.  It will have to be another time for me to purchase seafood. 

    I was more interested in the many flower stalls.  There were many beautiful Fall flower arrangements.   Little pumpkins were carved out and used as vases.  Very adorable!  I also liked the colourful pepper wreaths.  I'm not sure whether you're supposed to eat them or leave them as an ornament. 


    Gorgeous Pepper displays.  Are you supposed to eat them?

    Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.              Amazing array of seafood.                          Cute idea to use Pumpkins as a vase.


    I was in Seattle a few days before Halloween and saw quite a few people already dressed up and walking about.  One of the more popular costumes I kept seeing was the Steampunk look.  I thought it was for Halloween but no, the people dress this way every day.  Seattle has a very large community of Steampunk fans and followers that it even made a mention on one of famed food writer and television host , Anthony Bourdain's show.  Steampunk is where people wear clothing from the 19th Century's British Victorian era or the American 'Wild West' with an added futuristic twist.


    It was a wet, cold and grey weekend in Seattle.


    There's so much more to Seattle and you really do need more than a couple of days to do it some justice.  In the meantime, I'm thinking maybe I should attempt to make some chowder.  It'll never be as good as Ivar's  but it'll be good enough for me. Shall it be red or white?