June 4th --Seattle, a city of great optimism--


It is my nature to be tempted by a place related to aviation. When I found a museum of flight in a guide book, I decided to go right away although I was planning to visit the Boeing factory in northern Seattle the next day. I took the I-5 north from the exit 151 and got off at the exit 158. Then I drove north along the Marginal Way South. It took only 15 minutes to get there. The museum was next to the Boeing Field King County International Airport and the Boeing. I joined a guided tour. He started from the beginning of aviation to modern air fighters. The most interesting exhibit was the MiG-21PFM from Czech Republic. It was the first time to see a real MiG. And I knew that MiG stands for Mikoyan and Gurevich who designed this fighter. Next to the MiG was the Phantom-II, a symbolic display of the cold war era. They also had Douglas A-4F Sky hawk used by Blue Angels, Lockheed M-21 Blackbird and so on. There was a small red-walled barn next to the gallery. This is the first factory of the Boeing. As Seattle has a good bay, they had many ship factories. Boeing bought one small ship factory and started to make airplanes instead of ship. I think this is very smart way, because there are many similar points in making ship and airplane. Now Boeing is one of the largest airplane makers and it is still a mystery how this huge company have been raised up.

After a lunch in the museum, I went to the downtown Seattle. It was Sunday and I could easily find a free parking lot in the central area. It was a beautiful, historical town with red bricks. But this downtown was build on an old downtown which had been burnt in the Great Fire on June 6, 1889. Since the elevation of Seattle was almost zero, the old town had many troubles related with water. So after the Great Fire, they decided to build a new downtown on the second floor. I joined the underground tour which goes through "The Forgotten City Which Lies Beneath Seattle's Modern Streets." Going through the underground mall made of bricks, I was astonished by the great optimism of people in Seattle. They took advantage of good points of the terrible disaster. And what's greater is people in Seattle completed this project. I myself saw a disaster of Hanshin-Awaji earthquake in 1997 and I know it's very difficult to get a consensus of citizen to renew a city even after the disaster. So I was really moved by the spirit of people in Seattle.

After the tour I went to the Chittenden Locks. This is the water gate in the Salmon Bay to stabilize the water level of the Lake Union. There were many cruisers and yachts going through the gate and it was pretty busy. I saw the operation of the gate a couple of times. People on board looked very happy and I hoped to have such a wonderful yacht someday. After that I went to the Golden Garden Park to see the bay. Yes, now I am back to the west coast. Tomorrow I will go through the Olympic National Park and see the Pacific Ocean.

MiG-21 and F-4 are displayed side by side

Red Barn, the first Boeing factory

Beautiful downtown in Seattle

The Forgotten City Which Lies Beneath Seattle's Modern Streets

The water gate in operation


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