Thursday, August 28, 2008

Am I the Tourist? Or the Local?

I have lived in 5 different states in my life. Some of them several times now. Like most states there is always some Something-or-Other that the state has to offer as an attraction that most tourists go there just to see or do. I tell myself every time I move somewhere new that I will do this or that or such and such while I am there, because that's what people do when they visit that place. Then I spend the next three years putting it off because I live there and will do it next weekend. I missed my chance to go to Tombstone or to see "The Thing" for those very reasons. But not this time! No Sir! This time I will do what every tourist goes to Washington to do!
I have already sampled the pleasures of the coast. You can drive right up to the water front here and park. Can anyone imagine a more perfect day at the beach? You load up a picnic, drive out to the beach, park 10 feet from the water, and let the family out to enjoy the day ahead of them. Then after ten minutes or so of splashing around in the frigid waters of Central Washington's finest ocean front, everyone piles back into the car to turn on the heater. On the plus side, there's no sand in your lunch, but on the down side, you don't get those rascally seagulls trying to sneak up and steal your food from you when you aren't looking. Did I mention the wind? No? Well, it was windy to boot! Definitely going to get the kites out and dust them off for the next trip.
I have also partaken in the ritual of paying to ride an elevator to the top of a building to look down at where I just came from. That's right. I went to the Space Needle. I still can't figure out why I would pay to get to the top of a building just to look down, but I did the same thing in New York. And I am likely to do it again in my lifetime. The Space Needle was cool, but it doesn't have what the empire state building has. In the historical photos, it absolutely Towers over everything. Now.... Not so much. Good thing it sits out so close to the harbor or it would be lost in the City Skyline. Still. I can say I went there. And I have the Space Noodles to prove it.
I went to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. It's nice. No Giraffes, but I like it anyway. It's a great way to spend an afternoon. It's not too big, and it has pressed penny machines. You can't go wrong with pressed penny machines.
Point Defiance also has a Train Museum with a real train ride. And it's not some dinky kid train either. It's a real locomotive. The whole place used to be a logging camp that has been turned into a working museum. It's a work in progress and my husband (an avid hobby train enthusiast at the moment) was told that any time he wanted to work on a full scale train he was welcome to dabble in the arts. It was like riding with a kid at Christmas on the Polar Express.
Mt Rainier is my favorite thing so far, though. It's massive. I see it every time I go to the store (unless the clouds are covering it, but it's not as often as you might think). I still get excited when I see it. It has some beautiful scenery on the trails. I am still trying to wrap my brain around being able to hike and play in the snow in July.
Admittedly, I have only done those things because someone was here with us. Too bad we didn't think of that sooner. Maybe next time we move we will invite a friend to come stay with us so we can take them to see the sights and then we will get to see them too!
There is a really cool place in Seattle that I want to go to called the Underground. Apparently the city built over itself after some major fire and they have unearthed a portion of it and give tours to those willing to part with their Benjamins to see what the 'old days' were like. I will let you know in three years if we ever got around to seeing it before we move again.
So, I guess for now, I am the Tourist.

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