I was super excited for this as this was my first trip to US, which I have been wanting for quite a while now. We had to fly via Korea due to last day change of plans and my port of entry was New York. We had to wait for over about 4 hrs in the JFK airport. Hardly awake, the first thing I see is a beautiful morning sunrise and flights taking off and this is the photo I could get on my first morning. When I looked back at it on my laptop, I told myself, ‘boy… this is going to be an exciting time for me to get photographs.’
Me and my colleague landed in Seattle and on our way to hotel, the only thing I could think of is the way roads are structured clean, wide and as if someone has taken time to stick wallpapers all along the roads. I could actually recollect all the time I spent on the NFS (most wanted version…I feel other versions did not do justification to the graphics.) the tunnels, the curves and the massive trucks…it was the closest animation could get to reality. I decided that in my stay of couple of months and to get at least 5 photographs that I would feel happy about by the end of the trip with my Nikon d3100, arguably the most basic DSLR out there in the market.
5 days later, on the first weekend we headed to a place called Lake Chelan, a beautiful lake about 200 miles from Seattle. It was the first time I got to see the country side of US. I saw a lot of bikers on road trips, mostly Harley Davidson bikes, big beasts that would drive you crazy. There were big green trees all along the drive which looked like Christmas trees but they were actually called Evergreen trees and may be that is the reason Washington is rightfully called the Evergreen state. I observed a lot of private businesses and even houses had the US national flag in front of them which certainly is a rare thing in India.
The place where my hotel was situated was a business park with very few places for fun, but I liked the place a lot. There were clearly laid jogging tracks all along the roads, lush green and well organized. I have seen people not breaking the traffic signal at 12 o’ clock in the night even when the roads were empty. I couldn’t help but admire the fact that people were so friendly, at the hotel, at the office and even on the roads. Everyone smiles or nods their head down or says hello. Everyone holds the door for the person who followed. It actually happened a few times to me that a 60 year old lady held the door.
The next weekend we’ve been to Downtown Seattle and the waterfront. It was a holiday destination in summers and this summer, Seattle was actually voted for the best summer place this year. There are lot of places that are of tourist attraction. The Space Needle is an observation tower and a landmark since 1962 standing 600 ft tall and certainly everyone who visited Seattle would go. The view from the top is spectacular, the backwaters, the high rise buildings, the cruises and ferries. Seattle is famous for seafood and salmons especially. You’ve got to see the Pike place market where there is lot of action going on. Loads of fresh fish are brought everyday for sale. It has some beautiful flower shops and restaurants with fresh sea food. Crab cakes and salmons that we tried were yummy. There were few artists who did street painting, magic tricks and singing. It was the liveliest place in all of waterfront.
Very close to the Pike place market is the World’s first Starbucks coffee shop. The coffee though tasted exactly what it would in other shops. A lot of tourists visit this shop just for the fun of being at the world’s first Starbucks and to get some pictures.
The waterfront has some amazing views some you could see with naked eye, but some only with a camera. The sunset at the sculpture park was dramatic and certainly worth the entire walk. There were some gorgeous girls dancing to the music and few tourists getting pictures and one of them came to me and gave her card and I sent her this picture of hers back J
I was lucky to have few friends in Seattle who took me to few exciting places.
After a month into the trip, just when I was kind of getting bored with the place and food, my roommate told me that there was a cute Panjabi girl who also came on a business trip and will be staying in the same hotel for a month. He also told her about me and that it was my first time in US and I was very excited to go places. The next day I got a call from her and she asked me if we could go to Seattle downtown. I enjoyed being her guide all along. I knew the places to go to and the bus to get into when and where. We went to all of the places in downtown from space needle to Sculpture Park. For me the more exciting part was that I could get more pictures of the place and this time we were going to places that I would like to spend more time on J
The next evening she wanted to go out for a walk. We went to the closest Starbucks and I remember telling her that I would write about her and how dramatic it was to walk along with an umbrella when it was slightly raining in the evening to a coffee shop in an exotic location like Seattle. I would have enjoyed the moment more if not for a massive headache as she did most of the talking. I was surprised how quick we became friends and I enjoyed her company. It was fun going out on dinners and break fasts with her.
After a month and a half, the summers came to an end and it was the start of fall season. I used to push her for the morning jogs on weekends to enjoy the fall colors all along the tracks. Looking at those amazing views I used to feel that it was worth the wait. We used to go the same coffee shop, have the tasty hot White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream and a chocolate cake.
She made me Poha once which was kind of ok, not that good…She’d kill me after reading this. Her friend took us to the Alki beach which had some amazing views of the city downtown. But I still did not get my dream shot of that view. I know I will need a wide angle lens, a tripod and a trigger to get it. I will wait for a chance again.
The Friday night before the last weekend I got a message from her saying, ‘its our last weekend in Seattle, lets have a blast’. But the Saturday turned out to be the most depressing one as most of the day she was stuck with office work, the same old production issues. But we did go to Walmart and got some of my photographs printed. It was raining for most of the weekend and Saturday was effectively a depressing one. It was raining on Sunday too, but we did go out to downtown Kirkland and the waterfront there. We went into most of the shops and she was trying out all possible hats but finally dint get one as I expected.
For all our trips we used to call an African cab driver Eyob, who had a peculiar accent which goes…this hotel is ridiculous mannnnn nothing near to this…. They were some really fun conversations with him. He said, Americans… only restaurants and sex man, like animal… no heart. Indians, I like a lot.. more like African. The last day he made us wait for more than an hour and finally came all the way from one end of the city and refused to take the fare for the delay. I realized African is not so Indian. But we did pay him and give him a tip as well.
The day I left, we went to the same Starbucks at 7 AM, had the usual and on our way back to the hotel, we saw the Seattle Times office from which we passed a lot of times but at the moment it occurred to me that the title of my blog should be “The Seattle times”. Apart from all the fun, good memories and photographs, an amazing September, I also got a good friend in Seattle. She said she will invite me to her marriage and so did I. I also made her an offer for a free couple shoot anytime she comes to Hyderabad. There would be really few moments in life when someone hugs you and tells you they are going to miss you and that was one of the few I had