Everyone descended on Seattle by various modes of transportation. The McConvilles did it by Amtrak and Annie Yu came in on a cruise ship. There were several Shanghaiers that live in the area and they drove. In all cases, they arrived at the Seattle Westin on time.
By Thursday morning the early crowd took off to see the city, even though Seattle greeted us with a misty morning. We headed out on the monorail to the Space Needle and the Chihuly Museum and Gardens. Since it was foggy and misty, most of us went to the Chihuly Museum (indoors) which was a fabulous experience.
We learned that Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma Washington and studied interior design at the U. of Washington where he got interested in glass. After graduating in 1965, he enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the U of Wisconsin. He later continued his studies in Rhode Island School of Design where he established the glass program there. He went to Venice where he saw the team approach to blowing glass, which is the way he works today.
He's done exhibitions all over the world but he opened his Chihuly Garden and Glass in 2012 at the Seattle Center.
After leaving the museum we toured the gardens where Chihuly has incorporated his glass art in with the landscape of the gardens. It was all just beautiful. The glass art looks like flowers and fronds poking out of the earth.
Some of us then took the underground train down to Seattle's Chinatown. There are a lot of Chinese and other asians living and working in that area. We walked around a while taking pictures then stopped for lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant. We asked directions to Pioneer Square which is an older part of Seattle that has been re-developed into some new shopping areas.
Seattle is a very hilly city.! You do get your workouts walking around the town. A few of us got gifts to take home to grandchildren and others more pictures. We then hiked back to the Westin to get ready for our "Meet and Greet" to kick off the start of the reunion.
We met in the South Tower of the Westin where everyone enjoyed catching up on what has been going on in our lives since the last reunion. After getting instructions on what would be happening for the rest of our stay, we broke up and went to hunt something to eat. A good group of us ended up across the street at The Grill where we just about filled up the place.
Friday morning started with a tour of the Boeing 787 plant in Mukilteo, Washington ,home of the 787 Dreamliner - which is the company's newest twin-aisle airplane. It is the largest building in the world by volume. We walked on platforms and got to see airplanes in different stages of readiness to be delivered to the countries around the world.
Boeing started during WWII with support for the B-17 and included work on bulkheads and the radio operators section. After years of B-17 and B-52 work, in 1966 Boeing proceeded with an ambitious building of the 747 jumbo jet. They got off the ground (so to speak) when Pan American Air decided to buy 25 747's for $525 million. Since the huge order and huge airline would take larger facilities, the company bought 780 acres in Everett which has expanded today to 1025 acres. Despite the size of the building there is no centralized heating and cooling system. Instead 1 million light fixtures overhead are used and the body heat of the employees (35,000 working 3 shifts per day, 5 days week) keep the temperature at a balmy 72 degrees.
We visited Pike Street Market for lunch after the Boeing tour and spent the afternoon walking along the stalls looking at all of the foods, flowers, trinkets, and chocolates. It was a busy place. Most of us ate lunch at one of the many little restaurants located at every turn.
Saturday we took a boat tour of the locks and Lake Union. Most of us walked to the waterfront area since it was a lovely day and the sun was shining brightly. They have an area of houseboats located in the area and showed the one used in "Sleepless in Seattle". They have a limited number of houseboats that can be built in the area. You have to use the original logs … that float the houses when you purchase one. You can re-do it but it has to fit on the original logs.!
After the boat tour we had time to walk back to the hotel and get ready for our grand dinner at the Blueacre Seafood Restaurant. It was within walking distance of the Westin and the weather was great.!
All in all it was a wonderful experience seeing all that Seattle has to offer and I would advise anyone that has never been, to make the time to go and spend a few days there enjoying the sights.!
A big "Thank You" to John and Linda Curry for organizing and making this a wonderful Shanghai reunion in Seattle.
We all said our goodbye's Friday night and vowed to meet again in Melbourne, Australia in 2015 where Jenny Pickering is going to show us around her area. She has been to most of the reunions here in the U.S and Canada and wants to show us the beauty of Melbourne.
See everyone in Melbourne 2015.!!