How to get from SeaTac Airport to Downtown Seattle

I know several friends and people from twitter are coming to PAX from different parts of the country. Some have asked how to get from point a to b, and I'm here to write up a rough guide on how to do so while I wait for my boyfriend's flight to arrive. Keep in my mind I am writing this on my iPad without a keyboard, so it might come out weird. Here goes!

Your options:

Rental Car: honestly, this is a waste of damn money. Downtown Seattle is very walkable and you do yourself a disservice by renting. There are parking fees, gas, and a slew of other things that I would personally not want to deal with.

Taxi: I believe ALL the taxi services offer a simple fee of $32 (thanks to @jediguybob for the correction!) for a trip from the airport to downtown Seatte. I have ridden some taxis here and the guys are usually very friendly and nice. You'll get to downtown anywhere from 20 – 45 depending on traffic. Give or take more or less depending on the prior condition or who your driver is.

Light Rail: this is by far your cheapest option. You should only have to pay $2.75, takes 40 – 50 minutes and you don't have to really worry about transferring from one place to another. I highly recommend this option.

If you choose the later option, here are some tips and directions on riding:

– You MUST pay your fare before you board. If the security happens to do rounds when you are on and you are without a ticket? Your fine is $124. The ticket machine is usually in an area above or below the platform you are to board on. In SeaTac, it is on the floor before you ride up to the station itself.

– If you still have the ORCA card I gave you for Sakura Con, you can preload your card online. Look up ORCA card and follow the directions on their website. Remember to tap before and after boarding the the Light Rail! Failure to do so, and you can expect to pay the $124 fine as well.

– Don't be stupid. Seriously. Watch your phones and small devices. There might be cameras and the random security checks, but that doesn't stop people from being jerks and taking your shit.

How to get to the station from SeaTac: from baggage claim, head all the way to the end of the baggage claim (if you are at baggage claim 1, you are on the wrong end!) and head up the stairs. Cross the sky bridge and turn left. Walk alongside the path until you get to a clearing with a floor above you. This is where you will board the rail. Purchase your ticket making sure you select that you are getting off at the West Lake Center station. Head up, board when they are ready, and keep your ticket!

From here enjoy the scenery until you find yourself going underground sometime after the Beacon Hill station. The electronic ticker signs are plastered almost everywhere so you can't really miss what stop is what. But what you are looking for is West Lake Center station. It is the last station, so you CAN’T go wrong! Get off of here and go to the set of stairs that is on the furthest left side or whatever brings you to the Nordstrom side of the area. If you find yourself peeking at Macy's and then McDonalds then you are on the wrong side.

If you are staying at the Grand Hyatt, go left and up the street about two or three blocks. The hotel is on the corner to your right. If you are staying elsewhere… You are on your own unless you leave a comment of pester me on twitter with your hotel name and I will do my best to help you out.

Too Busy To Think

Since the arrival of my cousin, I’ve found myself increasingly busy. Not that its a bad thing; in fact quite the opposite! Because I am often busy trying to juggle several things at once or think of ways to entertain my guest, I’ve found that it has kept me from dwelling too much on things and succumb to depression. Too much thinking = depression or anxiety or what have you. Of course, the downside is sometimes not having enough down time for myself to do the things I need to do, but its something I am feeling quite content with. Probably the only constant thought that has been plaguing me is being unable to contribute enough financial resources, but I am going to hopefully be able to recoup the losses if I can land the part time jobs I’ve applied for. Here is hoping!

So far, everything has been going pretty smoothly. I say this because at times my temperamental sibling can often really drive a rift between parties with her anger management issues, and it has been the case during previous visits from my cousin. Thankfully it hasn’t scared her away 100% as is proofed by the fact she came to visit us again this year.

This year, we had even done something I never once thought I would do or enjoy doing: ride a duck. Now this might seem strange and you might be asking yourself, “Calaera, how on earth are you able to ride a duck!?” Easy! By riding one of these:

During my time working in Seattle, I had often seen these vehicles and the faces of the poor tourists who looked embarrassed to be sitting with people daring to sing, dance, clap, scream, and wave at nearby people who are either in their car or out or even on another duck vehicle. I swore that I would never ride one. It seemed silly and ridiculous and really weird. Then, of course, I was given an opportunity to ride one this month. Typically I would have said no but the choices left to me by saying no left me were less than desirable and I decided to ride without shame and even touting a loud and very annoying duck whistle. The ride itself was actually enjoyable. Silly? Yes. Embarrassing? Without a doubt! Fun? Most definitely! I actually learned more useless facts about Seattle, Sleepless in Seattle, and found other little areas that I had trouble finding on my own during previous excursions. Would I recommend it? Yes! But if you are in town and want to ride it, definitely take it from the West Lake center. They allow more time to float in the water and are able to talk about more interesting trivia info that you may not have otherwise heard on the Seattle Center location.

I also had experienced my first 3D movie at the Seattle Pacific Center IMAX theater and was sorely disappointed and also justified in my view point of the uselessness of 3D. We had seen the last Harry Potter movie a few days ago (Harry Pottery and the Deathly Hallows part 2), and I had suffered through too many cons to actually find the 3D experience worthwhile. They were:

1. Eye Fatigue
2. Lack of meaningful 3D moments. The instances they did use 3D was very short and few and far between.
3. Made me feel more tense because of the constant eye fatigue

Ok, so that was just three points I was able to make and I will make the concession that I realize that this movie in particular was probably not the best way to experience 3D for the first time. Yet even knowing this, I doubt I will really want to experience a 3D movie again. It is paying extra money for watching a movie that is often not originally shot in 3D and has the effects tacked onto there as an after thought. What do I get out of it? Eye fatigue, physical stress from trying to continually adjust to the glasses, and then the realization I paid a few extra bucks for an experience that leaves me walking out of the theater wishing I could have been able to watch the movie in 2D instead and without the feeling of wanting to gouge out my eyes. Whew.

Aside from the awful experience, the movie was great and has me feeling sad that the series has now come to an end film wise.

I would honestly like to write more at this point, but I know I should start heading to bed. The weekend will be kicking off to a Jazz concert at Benaroya Hall, a day of racquetball and maybe badminton, and a two day visit to Victoria, BC. Exciting, no?

Officially Unemployed

The title cannot be as straightforward as it is and is the primary reason for me being in Ellensburg since yesterday. As of Friday 22 July, 2011, I have been laid off due to the fact my school no longer has enough students to support the large staff. It is something I have very mixed feelings about considering I had:

a.) Knew that there was a strong chance I was going to be let go.

b.) I am not as passionate about teaching as I used to be.

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A Visit to Cow Land a.k.a. CWU

For personal reasons I’ll write about later, I have found myself traveling hours away from home to what my brother refers to as cow-land a.k.a. Central Washington University.

I am going to say this now, I have only been away from the coastlines once before this trip: when I visited Las Vegas, Nevada during the summer of 2000. I remember when my family, neighbors and I travelled through California and into Nevada, I thought I was going to lose my mind. It was either flat, boring, and hot or hilly, boring, and hot. I’ve grown to really like Washington state and the fact they have hills and mountains! It really makes you feel like you are moving and not necessarily staying stationary in one place. This is the main reason I was excited to go. It was an adventure to see what the rest of Washington state looked like and to see the passes that I had always heard about but never seen.

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