Any trip to Seattle would not be complete without a lot of Nostalgic Visits to the Haunts of Our Youth, dear Author-friends, and so let us now drag you about with us whilst we point moonily at various landmarks and tell you how much better everything was when we were a wee tot!
The Pike Place Market has a very special place in our desiccated, ancient heart; although it is always (and has always been) awash in tourists, there is also something so ineradicably genuine about it, with its successive generations of identical smirky goth-girl vendors, its faint air of sordid shabbiness underneath the spit-polish, and that weird and magical warren of shops beneath the market, where one can still buy silver ankh pendants at the Egypt store or hokey trick tophats at the magic store. Seattle has changed tremendously in the last twenty years--and not necessarily for the better, unless you are a real fan of the condominium--but for us it will always be that scrappy dude on meth hitting you up for change at the bus stop. That grimy, shabby, hard-luck Seattle is the city that has our heart, and the market--which, despite many attempts to pretty it up, has changed very little--epitomizes its creepy, moldering magic. So bear with us, please, as we clutch your little Author-hands and wax rhapsodic about the glories of our youth.
Sam Kuo* has been chilling at this spot since possibly before we were born, keeping up a continuous, virtuosic sales pitch. We always like to pick things up and put them down again, which is no doubt very irritating to Mr. Kuo--how extraordinary! to think that we have been irritating Mr. Kuo for like twenty years!--but have never bought anything from him, if we remember correctly.
But on this visit we spotted a little silver snake ring--the EXACT SAME RING that we once had and loved as a teenager, and lost, and have been looking for ever since to no avail. THERE IT WAS. Its presence seemed almost like an omen, and so we abandoned prudence and bought it. Mr. Kuo was very pleased with us. Here it is, in its new environment (you will note the backdrop of wholesome kayakers and unpolluted waterways! Oh, Seattle!):
After that we wandered around, and ate humbow from the humbow stand, and made hateful faces at the very first Starbucks, from whence originated that plague upon all that is good and tasty in the world--although the original Starbucks still has the original logo, with the boobèd mermaid, at least--and let a charming young hippie talk us into buying some peaches. We get older and they sure stay the same age, don't they.
And although the Lusty Lady is gone, Déja Vu Showgirls still seems to be holding fast to its probably now-priceless corner of real estate, which we find strangely comforting--somebody has not forgotten the kind of city Seattle really is. The baristas at Bauhaus may look like sorority sisters now, and Paradiso closed years ago, and Minnie's on Broadway is some kind of tapas bar--but Déja Vu is still holding down the fort.
Tomorrow: TENZING MOMO!!!!!!
*WE TOTALLY ASKED IF WE COULD TAKE HIS PICTURE. Never fear. We are not a douche.