8-24-12 Journey to Oz:The Emerald City

Frozen Beauty

A celebratory annuity called for a pilgrimage. So it was that Seattle was chosen as the venue. With so many folks in one locale, they’re bound to find something entertaining to do with their time. Locals proved the maxim by making a good show of it.

With maps and schedules in hand, a route to Seattle Center was planned by way of MTA’s (Mason Transit Authority) Rte. 2 @ 6:50am in the nick of time and the stop on Wallace-Kneeland Blvd in front of Walmart. Yes, it can be caught by the Hwy 101 State salmon hatchery, but there’s no return trip as late as the 5:30-6:30pm Seattle-Bremerton ferry run to that more convenient point of embarkation. But MTA Rte. 1 *WILL* get you back to the Wal-Mart location shortly after 8:00pm. It works (except Sundays) as follows:

Rte. 1/Rte. 2 @ 6:50am to Belfair

Transfer to Rte. 3 @ 7:45am to Bremerton

Board 8:30am Bremerton-Seattle ferry

Board 9:45am Metro Rte. 16 @ Alaskan Way (ferry terminal) to Seattle Center (5th & Broad St.) for 7 hours of play time in Seattle.

Catch the 4:45pm Metro Rte. 16 @ 5th & Broad to ferry terminal. This will get you (maybe) to the ferry terminal by 5:05pm since this run keeps 20 minute intervals. The next one claims it would get you to the ferry terminal by 5:25pm, but this is cutting it a bit too close to catch the 5:30pm Seattle-Bremerton ferry since downtown traffic makes keeping the schedule difficult.

Since MTA Rte. 3 synchronizes its schedule with the ferry’s, it will be waiting for you @ 6:30pm when your ferry docks and you scurry to catch it before it leaves while you’re still walking in its direction upon  disembarking from the ship that delivered you. TIP: Call a couple of days ahead of time to MTA’s dispatch and insist they list you and your party’s name on a manifest the driver checks before leaving prematurely. The common sense epiphany of checking to see if passengers are BOARDING the newly arrived ferry before driving off seems lost on at least ONE MTA Rte. 3 driver. When she was asked what she would have done if the ferry had arrived 10 minutes late, she averred that had never happened and nobody had ever asked before. Nevertheless, on this date, the ferry indeed arrived 15 MINUTES late. The male driver on this date (exercising common sense) had not simply driven off leaving passengers stranded. This Rte. 3 run is the last of the day and changes its reader board to Rte. 1 on its arrival in Belfair. Staff at the MTA call center argued this would inconvenience passengers who MIGHT have an appointment, but everyone knows buses sometimes arrive a bit late–but that won’t make you nearly as tardy as missing the buss altogether. The male driver’s common sense, in this instance, trumped the call center’s potato head.

Finally, MTA Rte. 1 will deliver you back to the point (Walmart) where you caught Rte 2 earlier that morning. The transportation cost savings are enormous combined with the luxury of being able to sight see instead of gripping the steering wheel–not to mention the communal camaraderie often present on the bus. Besides, you already paid for this service through your county sales taxes. Use it! It’s free (inside Mason County) and only 50 cents for seniors going as far outside the County as Bremerton/Olympia.

Having covered the spectacular free (& huge: 27 stages, hundred of performances, 4 days of festivities) PNW Folkife Festival @ Seattle Center over the Memorial Day weekend, admittedly Seattle Center was a disappointment this day and seemed somewhat pedestrian. There was (for a king’s ransom) the King Tut exhibit at the Seattle Science Center, but even the glass art house display wanted plenty of do, re, mi. (Chihuly is nothing if not keenly aware of the commercial value of art.) Declining on the cost of membership/admission, a longer look at the various sculpture displays was in order. As it turned out, there were a number of buskers who proved as interesting, if not more so in the immediate sense, than King Tut.

In the process of arriving via Rte. 16, a rather comical incident between the driver and a young male passenger ensued. Apparently the driver had given the young man some instructions on how to get where he wanted to go. But he remained somewhat confused, asking for some clarification. “Did you listen to anything I said?” yelled the driver.  The young man’s mouth gaped. A few moments later, a woman asked how to get to the Pike Street Market. “I told you, they ALL stop by the Pike Street Market,” the Japanese looking driver fumed. The driver sounded very much like he might have been ‘over qualified’ for his job.

Robert, president of the Seattle Street Performer’s Guild
Busking for 35 years, likes his work, and names influential artists. He also speaks of the philosophy of his organization. (Street Arts & Buskers Advocates)

Ecuador’s Quichua Mashis play pan pipes, traditional Peruvian instruments. (1/3)

Ecuador’s Quichua Mashis play pan pipes, traditional Peruvian instruments. (2/3)

Ecuador’s Quichua Mashis play pan pipes, traditional Peruvian instruments. (3/3)

Amputee busker plays guitar, sings FLY AWAY

Amputee busker plays guitar, sings IMAGINE
(EMI Music Publishing claims videographer/he is violating their ‘copyright’)

Busker, Rick Fogel, plays Sculley’s Reel on the dulcimer (whamdiddle.com)

Busker, Rick Fogel, plays a blind Irish harper’s last tune written on his deathbed (whamdiddle.com)

Buskers Gregory Paul & his washboard sidekick play old time banjo tunes 1/3

Buskers Gregory Paul & his washboard sidekick play old time banjo tunes 2/3

Buskers Gregory Paul & his washboard sidekick play old time banjo tunes 3/3

Beautiful Statuesque Busking Mime wows the waterfront

My kind of gal and Ivers feeding the gulls

It was a great day to be alive. In the end, it wasn’t about the pay per view venues, it was about the people and the story each had to tell. The Emerald City had sprinkled fairy dust upon its children.

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