The preparation phase of the outing involved signing up for an Orca card, a tool that allows you to travel via bus or light rail by simply tapping it against a card reader. I ordered my card on line and put $15 on it to prime the pump. Claudia tried to do the same, but says the system never asked her for money, so today she had to slide $2.00 into the fare box — while I tapped my new card — and off we went to Seattle by bus so she could purchase her official killer whale ID. We decided to go to Macy’s to use the restroom before moving into Phase 2. Although her English is good, not having spoken it for awhile may be the reason she created some confusion when she asked a store employee, “Where is the girls’ area?”
The next step was for both of us to tap our cards and board the light-rail train to the Seattle-Tacoma airport. We made it to the airport in about 35 minutes, mostly talking and missing out on the sights, though we did spot some public art we wanted to take pictures of. It was a smooth, pleasant ride, sometimes underground, sometimes at ground level and sometimes up in the air, with only about 6 stops between the core of downtown and the airport. After a chai latte, we re-boarded the train, this time paying enough attention to learn that everything we wanted to photograph was between train stations. There were colorful murals exploring many different themes along the way, as well as sculptures and mosaics. Later I checked out the STart Public Art program on the Sound Transit website to see how much we missed. This list was much greater than what we saw and included carvings, neon, and many more sculptures; it is an amazing collection. Another trip — this time alone — is in order. As we approached downtown, Claudia occupied herself by making a list of all the Spanish verbs I had conjugated incorrectly, calling this my future homework.
We detoured on the way home by getting off the train at the International District/Chinatown station. To compensate for not taking any photos of public art, we were able to take lots of photos here.
Since it was lunchtime, we found our way to a tiny, inexpensive dim sum shop, where the hombow and egg tarts gave us enough energy to continue our journey, which passed quickly as we became engrossed in developing characters and plot for a telenovela. At the end of the journey, I learned that I had gotten carried away with my card tapping and my last tap at the Park & Ride informed me that my Orca funds were perilously low. No matter. The trip was worth whatever it eventually cost me.