My first stop on the Northwest Coast of North America was Seattle, Washington. Several global companies were founded here including: Starbucks, Costco, Boeing and in a nearby city, Microsoft was founded. The first thing that made an impression on me flying in was the amount of large, green trees I could see surrounding the city in the suburbs with the dark blue of the Puget Sound contrasting with it. Downtown Seattle reminded me slightly of Sydney with the Space needle, the size and area that the skyscrapers took up and the jagged coastline of the Sound. What wasn't like Sydney was the white capped mountains of the Rockies in the distance.
Something that will definitely stick in my mind will be that the train running from the airport to downtown, twice the distance of the one in Sydney, was one fourteenth of the cost. My hostel in Seattle was located near the Pike Place Market, one of the oldest continuously running farmer's markets in the US. The market was quite good with a lot of touristy shops and boutiques mixed in with the food produce.
On one of the days I was there I took a free tour around Seattle which was quite interesting and had a funny story about one of the totem poles presented in the city. Originally the totem pole was one that had been stolen from a tribe near Alaska and turned out to be a funeral pole, one of the most coveted poles by the tribe. The tribe sued the city for the pole back but the court ruled in favour of the non-natives. The pole eventually burnt down and the people of Seattle sent back the ashes to back to the tribe. The tribe then sent back another totem pole for the city which the settlers thought was a token of their thanks but thanks to modern analysis people now believe the pole is a 'shame' pole. This pole is effectively the equivalent of a native American 'curse' on the people of Seattle and the pole is still on display in the heart of the city.
Taking the Seattle monorail, which only goes to and from one place with no stops inbetween, takes you to the Space needle and the surrounding attractions. The space needle was a bit of anti-climax as it was actually quite small. There was a really interesting museum here though called the 'EMP' which had displays about Jimi Hendrix, who was born in Seattle and Nirvana who started the 'grunge' movement in Washington state. It also had several other interesting exhibits including a horror movie one and a sci-fi exhibit that had the prop Darth Vader actually used as a lightsaber and a dalek. After this I went to Kerry park, which had a very impressive view of Seattle making the space needle actually looking big in the foreground.