Sleepless in Seattle, quite literally

So it’s almost been my week anniversary of being in Canada, and it feels like I’ve been here about one-hundred years already. The last few days have been hectic: Australia Day, my birthday, Seattle, and now we’ve left Vancouver for Victoria.

We ventured over to Granville Island to check out the market on Saturday (it’s apparently Canada’s second biggest tourist attraction), and ended up watching a street performer for about an hour instead of doing much exploring. We also managed to time the visit to clash with a boat show, so we spent a while staring at cats and other lovely yachts, before wandering back to the hostel for the Australia Day countdown. I also witnessed my first Canadian car accident: someone reversed into a space with the passenger door open. Doesn’t result in anything too brilliant when there’s a car in the slot next to you.

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So yeah, then Australia Day happened, and the next 24 hours were a complete write-off. We were going to go to Vancouver’s Aquarium, but on hearing that the penguins weren’t there because it was too cold (yeah, don’t understand that either), we decided that it was too cold for us as well and sleep was a much better option.

Monday-slash-my birthday followed, and luckily we felt everso slightly more human, and hopped on the four-hour bus journey to Seattle. I ended up being the last person through customs, and was a bit concerned that I’d be telling people I spent my 23rd being kicked out of America… but fortunately we got in, and arrived at our hostel in Seattle not long after. Seeing as the majority of my birthdays at home have been spent in the Purple Turtle, it made complete sense to book in with a hostel called the Green Tortoise. Looking back, not such a great idea…

We were situated opposite Pike Place Market, one of Seattle’s biggest tourist attractions, and spent a while wandering aimlessly around the several floors and corridors that connects it. Not sure how we made it out, as the whole thing seemed to change layouts every time we ventured into it, but we did. The market was filled with bookstores: some with odd Russian guys serenading customers, others playing hip hop v. loudly. It was amazing, and Britain could learn a lot from Seattle in this respect: bookshops are cool.

Sophie took me out for dinner after that, and we went up the Space Needle. We had wobbled over whether to do it at night or during the day, but without doubt Seattle is way prettier with the lights off/city lights on. It looked incredible, and the view went on for miles.

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Now, I understand that when you’re staying in an 8-bed hostel room, it’s going to get annoying sometimes, but the rage I felt that night was unparalleled. Out of the eight of us, four or five were snoring. And not just normal snoring, but the sound a mother elephant makes when it’s calling to a lost baby elephant. AWFUL. At one point, an American guy woke up and ordered the main-snorer to turn over. This provided enough relief to fall asleep for two hours, but sadly it began again, and that was the end of sleeping for that night.

The next morning, Soph and I were only feeling a tiny bit murderous, and sat at breakfast feeling very sorry for ourselves. After food at the first ever Starbucks, and a real coffee we were ready to go, and made our way to the Experience Music Project, the EMP: Seattle’s best thing ever.

The EMP is a music, pop culture and sci-fi museum, and when we visited, was holding two main exhibitions on Nirvana and Hendrix. After wandering around these, staring at guitars, letters, lyrics and stage props, we were feeling incredibly loved up, and the rest of the museum didn’t disappoint. A giant self-playing guitar tower stood in the middle, a huge stage at the front and labs where we played with guitars, drums and mixing equipment turned our awful mood into something beautiful. The fantasy section was next, and we spent more time than normal taking photos of ourselves turning into fantasy creatures (these pictures have heartbreakingly disappeared somewhere). There were dragons, costumes from ‘Labyrinth’, ‘Wizard of Oz’ and ‘The Princess Bride’, and a few tunnels to go down.

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We left Seattle on much more of a high than we’d woken up in, and happily returned to our hostel in Vancouver, completely and utterly unaware of the Worst Roommate Ever that we were about to encounter.

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