I won’t lie to you, nor cover up the truth on this. I look back at the last ten months and realized not much has happened. When I set out to accomplish this goal of… More
There is something very peaceful about a conservatory full of plants. A place where all the cares can be left outside the glass structure and take a breather for an hour. An old Victorian Conservatory, a Victorian water tower and seeing Seattle from the black side of the sun. All of this done before noon on a quiet overcast day in Volunteer Park.
Walking among the plants in a Victorian-era greenhouse structure is a step into a peaceful warm environment full of plants from all over. From one area to the other of the building was packed with flowers, trees, cactus, and other exotic plants blooming with color. I went right around the time the conservatory was opening for the day and I believe this is the best time of day to go when it is not crowded with people.
The Water Tower:
Walked all the way up to the top of this old Victorian water tower to great views of Seattle, Bellevue, and Lake Washington. From here through the tree top/branches there are glimpses of the old grand houses of Capital Hill. The very same houses that are well out of reach for anyone in this city unless you have a couple of million dollars extra sitting around. From the old style wrought iron bar windows you can see the landscape of the park below, and with the old pictures of the tower, some of the trees below have been growing since 1909!
Black Sun Of Seattle:
If you stand just right on the top of the stairs with the SAM behind you, you can get the Space Needle framed in the middle of the sculpture. I do not remember why it is called the Black Sun, but it has been part of the park since 1987.
I did not visit the Lake View Cemetery where famous Seattle people are buried (which is next door to the park) because there have been a people destroying grave sites in the Seattle area. So I could not see the final resting places of Bruce Lee. Maybe some other time.
The bluest skies you see are in Seattle! Perry Como had it right, when the sun shines in Seattle it is a beautiful sight to see. After the Terracotta Warriors and lunch, it was time to walk down to the Olympic Sculpture Park on the waterfront. To get to the park I walked 0.7 miles down Broad Street (a hill!) from the Seattle Center to the waterfront.
There was a lot of people hanging in the park soaking up the sunshine and the view of Elliott Bay. With space and art installations scattered around the park, one could easily find a spot for the afternoon or day and relax.
The head sculpture has the best view
Look at this beautiful view below! Pretty skies you see are in Seattle.
Right about the time of this picture, there was a train coming through on the track below. This is a constant reminder of how industrial Seattle still is at the core and the reason why some of the parks here are in existent because of the train tracks creating an open space for the public to enjoy along the water.
Also, there is another park the Olympic Sculpture park merges into and this is the Myrtle Edwards Park along the waterfront north of the cruise ship dock. Here there is plenty green grass to picnic on and a beach to view vast blue of Elliot Bay.
A little blurry in the picture of a ship unloading cargo and cruise ships parked at the mooring dock. Below is the famous PI globe atop the old Seattle PI newspaper building. This globe is not longer spins as it uses to and is slated just like the old Rainer Brewery R as a historical relic in the MOHI.
With the weather being so gorgeous and the temperature was in the lower 70s, this was a perfect day to spend in Seattle. Make the long wet winter a thing of the past. After spending a few hours soaking up the sights, I made a sweaty hike back up the hill to Seattle Center for one last snack at a food truck before going home.
Terracotta Warriors were in town for a limited engagement in two cities in the US. Seattle was lucky to have the traveling exhibition come to Seattle before heading back to China. While Nana was in town for our birthdays we went to see the exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. We happen to go on the same day of the Seattle University graduation at Key Arena and some festival at the Seattle Center park. Just think in another year this will be me walking around in my black cap and gown from Northwest University.
….back to the Terracotta Warriors…..
We got our timed tickets for the first group of the day so there was not a whole lot of people in the exhibit. The whole exhibits were in the making of these terracotta statues, the science behind preserving them, how the site was found, and the history of the Qin (Chin) Dynasty, the first emperor of China. The special thing about this exhibit is the fact you can get up close to the artifacts were at the excavation site in China you cannot.
The surprising thing I learned in this exhibit is the first man-made pigment was founded during this time called Huns Purple which is barium copper silicate. This pigment is stable enough to conduct electricity and is made of this compound it is found in many electronics such as a smartphone. A science nerd moment right there! This compound was found on terracotta warriors and pottery of the time period.
After the tour of the Terracotta Warriors, we headed over to McMenamin’s in lower Queen Anne for some lunch. The place was hopping since families of graduates from the university graduation where there the celebrate. The food was done pub style and the theme of the restaurant was done like an old pub in 60s England.
The rest of the day was spent walking around the Seattle Center area and going to the Olympic Sculpture Park on the waterfront.
Pacific Science Center Exhibits
Saying goodbye is hard. Saying goodbye to those who had an impact on you is even harder. As I made my way back to the airport to start the thirty six hour flight journey back to Seattle, I realized this maybe goodbye for sometime. As the van drove pass the by the same exact places I first saw Tanzania, I was knew I had come full circle. The sight of poverty no longer made me pity people, but motivated me to help them in one way or another as I return home.
The airport was packed with people boarding flights, and it took awhile to get my boarding passes for all my flight home. Going through immigration again was not as easy as the first time. I think the lady decided to put me thought all the international security checks out there. Full palm print, full hand print, full thumb print, full face scan, full fingers scan and asking about my naturalization status in the US (I’m a born US citizen). The whole time one of the professors could see the whole screen from where he was standing and could not understand why she kept going when the screen kept flashing “clear” for everything. Finally she let me go on to board my flight.
The flight from Tanzania to Ethiopia was uneventful and I was provided with dinner which was not as good as I remembered. Once at Addas Ababa Airport, we all had to go through security again before we were allowed in to the terminal area for our flight. All of us went through without much problems, and even flip flops had to be taken off. I found this funny. Once in the terminal to wait to board our flight (which was at 9 pm) I realized there was no way to get any water! So if you needed water (clean water) you had to filter it from the bathroom! Thank goodness for snack with some form of liquid in them. Once on the plane we all pretty much were packed in (nothing like United flight) but there was leg room! And entertainment that was free! Win!
Here is a little physics for your brain. Since the airport altitude causes issues with planes disembarking, the plane can only take off with half the fuel for flight. This means there has to be another stop for fuel some where. So where did the plane refueled? Dublin Ireland. I saw Ireland from the window of the plane, and it was early morning with rain. I have flown over Ireland before back in 2006 on my way to England. The view is similar to the country side of England when flying over (all that green fields and moisture). At this point I have flown over Egypt, Kenya, Sudan, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, England, and Wales. As I said in previous post, all those countries yet to be explored.
We touched down in Washington DC (Virginia) to yet another warm sunny day. Getting through Customs and Boarder Control was easy this time. The Washington DC airport has the new customs and boarder control kosaks which speedily moves all citizens and Canadians through the lines faster. The boarder control personnel just stamps your entrance stamp in the passport and make sure anything you declare is valid, then off you go to get your luggage. Then off through second TSA security check, which went off without a hitch this time! And then off to wait in the terminal for the flight to San Fransisco.
The flight the San Fransisco was on United and I go a window seat! The four hour flight from coast to coast was great. I saw from my window Virginia, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, and the Bay area before touching down at the airport. I only was in San Fransisco for forty-five minutes before boarding the flight to Seattle. I wish we could have had a little longer layover, but I can understand at this point we all just wanted to get home. The bay area was Cali sunny! To bad the Golden Gate Bridge was not seen from the airport or the plane ride. The flight to Seattle went off without incident, but I still dislike flying United Airlines! Still stuck in Y class (back of the plane where the toilets are), and no leg room what so ever. Two of the guys in our group had to trade people for aisle seats for their legs.
Once touche down in Seattle to a rainy cold welcome, we all made our way to the baggage claim where our families were waiting for us. My suitcase was one of the first ones off the plane (TSA checked it, so it was part of the last aboard) and off to the parking garage to drive home during rush hour traffic. My parents did get me Dick’s hamburger for dinner, and then I just crashed for a whole twelve hours to sleep and get rid of a cold that was forming while flying home.
A week was not long enough in Tanzania, and leaving was hard. For the whole week I was disconnected and cut off from the outside world. My phone on airplane mode the whole time, and used as a camera only. A unintended digital detox. For once in a very long time I was focus only in the present moments, and in my surroundings. I really didn’t care what was happening clear across the world in US, and I didn’t care what was happening at home in Washington either. As one of my friends said it was like a paradigm shift had happened in that short week of being in the Tanzania. When I came back from Tanzania I no longer wanted to hear the political crap spewing from the news every time it news was on. Finding the strength to tell a professor they were interfering with God’s plan for me, and needed to step back when it came to my career path.
Why Tanzania? Well….
That is why Tanzania!
Asante sana kwa ajili ya kusoma adventure yangu katika Tanzania. Natumaini msomaji watapata Afrika kwa ajili yako mwenyewe siku moja. Asante!
(Thank you very much for reading my adventure in Tanzania. I hope you reader will experience Africa for yourself one day. Thank you!)
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Previous Post: The Bells Toll and Shopping
Since it was a long drive back to Arusha from Ngorngoro, our team checked in to the Karatu Hotel run by the Lutheran Church of Tanzania in the town of Karatu. I would not exactly call it a hotel, but more like a hostel. The rooms are clean, there is a shower and bathroom, but the room I was assigned would have things left over from the last person who occupied it. The beds all have mosquito nets which hint at the fact there was a rather large hole in the screen of the windows in which these nasty insects could come in. For the first time on the trip I had to use DEET spray for the bed sheets, and put on my insect lotion before bed. At this point all those anti malaria pills I have been taking all this time better be effective since I did get two mosquito bites during the night (as of this writing I DO NOT have malaria!).
After checking into the room, I found myself along with the rest of the group eating dinner communal style with the other guests in the large dining hall. Being college students we have no problem with this concept, but the other guests may have not. Dinner consists of a potato chicken broth soup with rolls, some Tanzanian pilau, cucumber salad and some Tanzanian dessert I don’t recall the name of. With dinner done, I headed back to my room and crashed.
My room-mate got the scare of her life in the middle of the night when she walked into the bathroom to discover a moth flying into her face and a rather large spider hanging out on the wall near the toilet. Earlier on the same day I too had a rather large insect attach itself onto me. I have never seen a grasshopper as big as the one who flew into the jeep window while at Ngorogoro crater. And it was black too!
Morning was a real treat! I awoke to the sound of church bells clanging (it was Sunday after all) and the call to prayer from the local masque all blending together. The Lutheran church across the road treated us to a spectacular sounds of singing that when you listen to the recording of it, the sound is surreal. Breakfast was again communal style with the menu of toast, more Tanzanian pilau, omelet, and juice. After breakfast we all gathered our things, and headed for Arusha to do some shopping before leaving Tanzania.
Once in Arusha we were let loose on the Maasai market in town looking for whatever we wanted. I will say being American, bartering is not something we do much, and thus I am not very good at. The thing is it does turn me off when you have store owners trying to get you to buy something you do not want at all. It is considered to be rude in African culture to not buy something after viewing someone’s shop. I committed this offense and it was exhausting after all that shopping. I only got a few things for people, like a carved wooden giraffe, chonga for myself, African tea and coffee, and a shuka (Maasai wrap). One US dollar equals $2,000 Tanzanian shillings. So $10,000 shillings equals roughly $5.00 USD. So there was a lot of things we could buy with our American money, but mostly it was transactions in shillings since shop keepers would make a huge profit off you if dollars were exchanged. Also at one point all the street vendors gathered around one store waiting for us to come out so they could hawk their wears. A crazy adventure in itself trying to get back to the van.
I would say shopping in Tanzania was a learning experience, and I wish I could have bought more, but when you have to keep in mind the weight and size of the suitcase, it just could not all fit in there. I really wanted to bring back a floor standing wooden giraffe, but it was not going to happen. Maybe next time I come back.
Karatu Lutheran Hotel