Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mount Rainier.

We got on this...

To see this! (Cue Edvard Grieg's "Morning") I promise these aren't scanned from postcards or ripped off the internet. I took these pictures myself!

I strike my best "explorer" pose, though you can easily see that I am not one at all, what with the black sport socks worn on my hands (that I had to buy from a supermarket by the highway on the way to the mountain) because I was SO COLD.

See? I wasn't lying.

Despite the temperature, Paradise was indeed paradise. (Oh the place was named especially for a whole legacy of puns!)
Paradise is but one tiny spot in a mountainous region - as shown in this miniature model inside the visitor hall.

The other buildings around the visitor hall have cool shaped roofs - I'm guessing they are so steep so that snow doesn't pile on top.

Here's the ranger's house.

AFTER our hike, we chanced upon THIS notice! *gulp!*
We also read instructions on what to do should we come face to face with a mountain lion. And we're not talking about the new OS system for Apple.

Signs stuck on the rubbish tip provide a stark reminder of the area that we were in!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Panama Hotel, 605 1/2 South Main Street.

Back to my adventures in the US!

Early early early early on a chilly chilly chilly chilly dawn, we took a cab to the Panama Hotel to wait for a pick up that would take us on a tour of Mount Rainier. Before I go on about Mount Rainier, a teensy bit about the Panama Hotel from what I saw during our half-hour wait there.

I noticed the unique number on the hotel's doors.

We waited just inside the hotel's doors at the bottom of the stairs because it was SO COLD outside. I saw an intriguing pattern was revealed where patches of peach paint had flaked off the walls.

A grumpy man appeared at the top of the stairs and asked if we were staying at the hotel, and if we weren't, why were we hanging around the entrance. He left with a grunt when we explained that it was too cold outside and that we were waiting for a pick up to go see Mount Rainier. Feeling the unwelcome, we hopped on the mini-bus as soon as it arrived and never thought of revisiting the hotel. A search online sometime afterwards showed that the hotel itself was a historic building, a part of Seattle's history, and that there was a modern tea room inside. See the article here. Oh well, next time perhaps!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Affordable Art Fair Singapore 2012 preview night.

The rain certainly didn't put people off from attending the Affordable Art Fair preview last evening! Held at the F1 Pit Building, I meandered around two labyrinth-like floors of white walls filled with artworks from various art galleries. These are some of the works that caught my eye.

This is by Japanese artist Ryuma Imai from the H-art Beat Gallery. I loved how the fluidity and unevenness of the lines expressed the form and mood of the animals portrayed, and the unusual colours.

This zebra is also by Ryuma Imai.

This was one of four amazingly intricate drawings by young Singaporean artist Ieo Gek Ching at the Forest Rain Gallery booth.

This little flying hippo is titled "Icarus" was on a wall next to two to three other works from the same artist, Adam Oliver, at the Wills Art Warehouse. I think it's amazing how he expressed both the sense of weight and lightness with his lines. (Looks like this artist could be in animation?)

Pretty little birdies in a piece called "Chickadees" by Sage Vaughn at Give Art Space. I like the subtle undertones with the "bleeding" colours in this happy chirpy scene.

Would you like a framed pink Damien Hirst dot for SGD3,750?

 Eye-catching sculptures from Kang Yong Meon at the Seoshin Gallery.

Last but not least, a mesmerizing oil portrait showing off the amazing skillz of UK artist, Mary Jane Ansell, at the Fairfax Gallery. You really gotta check out her website to see her other works.

This is the industrial-themed wrapping counters where queues were forming with shoppers holding onto large canvases and little sculptures, all waiting for their bubble wrap treatment before they are whisked off to various homes across our little island. Good to see the art industry thriving!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Seattle Underground Tour.

We keep our touristy cap screwed on tight and sign ourselves up for a tour of Seattle's history in the underground. A guide with desert dry humour leads us through obscure doors in the sides and back lanes of buildings that take us into these underground sections below the existing buildings.

It was scenes like this one what really hit home that what we thought was ground level is actually NOT, and that present day Pioneer Square is built OVER the original city. These are tall windows and a front door that used to face the street!

What's more interesting is that this section of Seattle, which was where the rest of the city grew from, was filled with saloons and brothels. And the tour group was standing right in the middle of one! The remnants of an elaborately painted wall show that this would have been where the ladies welcomed and entertained their gentlemen guests. Ahem.

These are the beams that support the side streets right above our heads. The brick wall to the right form the bases of the present day roads and shows how high the original ground level has been raised.

This old cash register was amongst the unwanted "junk" that was found underground when they first started to restore Pioneer Square.

As well as these old classroom tables/chairs! Now all they need is to bring bands and bars down here and they have created an underground music scene.
Ok. Not so funny, but it was a nice try. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pike Place Market, Seattle.

One of the first things we checked out in Seattle was the famous Pike Place Market. There were plenty of fresh produce, flowers, crafts, gifts. There were lots of tourists and visitors and the whole atmosphere was a lively one. This is the main entrance by day.

I liked the evening shots better as the signage glowed against the darkening sky.

This is the very very very first Starbucks store. By the day, there are incredibly looooong queues at this outlet cos everyone wanted to say that they had a coffee at the original Starbucks.

We decided to give Seattle's Best Coffee a try instead, just to try something else. I mean, you can get Starbucks ANYWHERE in the world. What am I saying? I hardly even drink coffee myself!

A piece of Russian bakery to go with the coffee?

This was a cinnamon apple roll - very flavourful, packed with ingredients, and MUCH better looking than the fake rolls that they had on display in their window!

THESE are what I was referring to! Definitely not the amazing Japanese fake food displays that you see in the windows of Japanese restaurants!

An amazing juggler performing on the street corner!

Naturally, Seattle is well known for having fresh seafood.

Pike Place Market's most famous seafood stall (where the guys shout out an order in unison and throw large slippery fishes from one man to another) is so famous it even has its own merchandise!

We devour clam chowder is sourdough bread bowls and grilled seafood for lunch in a restaurant overlooking the waterfront, but as EVERYONE wanted to enjoy the view, we had to take a seat facing the market interior. However, the restauranteur was thoughtful enough to hang photos of the same waterfront view on the INSIDE so we could have a good game of make-believe! :)

The stripe-lover in me simply HAD to take a picture of this - STRIPED PASTA!

That's toffee apples decoration gone overboard!

The COLOUR coming from the flower stalls was too difficult to resist. At the end of the day, stall owners slash prices on their remaining bouquets.  How not to pick up a bunch or two, I ask you?