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201. Beautiful Seattle

October 16, 2012

In the 10 months of 2012 I have visited 10 cities outside of Chicago and I have tried to write a blog on each of them.  Those are in addition to my New York work trip in 2010 and visits to Miami and San Fransisco in 2011. The 10 include Washington DC, St Louis, Gatlinburg, Wilmot, Detroit, Buffalo, Boston, Indianapolis, Springfield and Minneapolis – the best way I remember is through fridge magnets that I pick up at these cities.

Most cities visited were for tourism or visiting family but the mid-October tour to Seattle was special as it was planned for a different purpose but ended up being a great time meeting 3 friends and one college professor. Staying with Niyati and Abhijit was the highlight. Niyati and I go back a long way when we were college mates in Pune and took an instant liking towards each other so much that for almost 6 of the last 9 years Niyati has tried sending me a handwritten letter and a Rakhi every year.

So a weekend in Seattle was keenly awaited with much excitement and anticipation and it came and went in a jiffy. I reached Seattle Tacoma airport after quite a pleasant 4 hour flight from Chicago and was driven home by my hosts for the weekend to savour some home made Chicken Kheema before catching up and calling it a day. the next day was going to be packed with meeting the other connections and a special factory visit.

Post a decent night’s sleep and yum, hot breakfast we rushed to make it to a 11 am appointment of a very special place. Flying has always fascinated me and several of us. To see fist hand where some of these mean birds are assembled was inspiring and insightful. We were at the Future of Flight Center at Everett where Boeing is based to take an awesome 90 minute tour inside the world’s largest factory of its kind.

After a great tour and some souvenir shopping it was time to fill our stomachs and Olive Garden was a great choice for the feast. A sumptuous lunch later it was time to meet two connections at the Flying Apron Cafe – one a former colleague and the other the man who taught me the theory of my profession a decade ago and I was meting him after 5 years in Redmond of all the places. Sujay Madhok’s wife Rebecca works with Microsoft an that’s how they are currently based there.

Next we were on our way to the area where the world’s richest man lives and though we could not spot the exact house we were in Medina to get a feel of what it feels like to be in the neighbourhood that is home to bill and Melinda Gates. A little stroll at the waterfront was a nice way to get a feel of the night lights across Lake Washington. We were then off to Bellvue to retire for the day.

Sunday was devoted for downtown Seattle and its many attractions. After a quick visit to St Louise Church in the area we were all set to explore Pike Place Market and everything it has to offer including the first outlet of the iconic Starbucks followed by meting another friend and her husband with whom we hung out at the bar in EMP and took a monorail ride as well.

This done we were back home to feast on some authentic German Bratwursts we had picked up at Pike Place and a very cool Butter Chicken Pizza which is a specialty of Seattle. In 48 hours much had been experienced and a lot had been exchanged. It was a blast that came and went.

Monday morning was working out of Seattle office, a couple of meetings and a quick visit to the Space Needle which was worth a  visit thank to a few hours of good sun. All good things come to an end but I’m going to visit this city again which is the home to four things many of us cannot live without – coffee, flights, e commerce and Windows: Well, to be the home of Microsoft, Boeing, amazon and Starbucks speaks volumes of the city’s character.

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