Seattle: Day 1

Yesterday morning, I woke up at 4 AM so I can catch the 5 AM Lyft ride to Philadelphia International Airport. The driver’s name was Scot and he was 15 minutes early to pick me up. I had no problem with that since I was getting bored at home, wasting time and listening to music.

From our conversation, I learned that Scot was a MBA graduate from Simon Business School at the University of Rochester, where I also went to get my MS in finance. I told Scot that I’m taking my first flight to start my around the world backpacking tour. He was impressed and said that most people only wished that some day they’ll get a chance to do that, and that some day might never come. I agreed.

When I arrived at the airport the security line was the longest I’ve ever seen. Luckily, the line moved relatively quickly and I arrived at my gate with plenty of time.

Selfie at the airport

The plane was delayed by about 30 minutes and left around 7:45 AM. I had a window seat on the airplane and no one sat in the middle seat so I had plenty of room to stretch and sleep. I wish I had brought my inflatable neck pillow since the flight was six hours to Seattle, but then it would have taken up more space in my 22 liter backpack, which is already packed full.

Closing in on Seattle from the air

I arrived in Seattle a little before 11 AM local time. It took me a while to find the light rail to downtown. I ended up asking a street cleaner for directions. Due to his accent, I assumed he must be an immigrant. He was very helpful and gave me clear directions. I hope he will have a good future in his life because I sensed that he was very kind.

The Link light rail took me from the airport to the International District/Chinatown stop. My hostel is the American Hotel right in Chinatown on 520 South King Street. I was too early to check in, but I was able to leave my backpack in the storage room.

Gate at Chinatown

I decided that I want to eat some noodles as my first meal for the trip so I went to Mike’s Noodle House and had a dumpling and brisket noodle soup. The meal was great, but I wish I had ordered the large bowl instead of the regular.

Mike's Noodle House

First meal of the trip

After lunch, I sat in the Chinese pavilion in Hing Hay Park across from the noodle house listening to a busker playing his guitar. There were some older folks watching two other old folks playing Chinese chess. I haven’t seen Chinese chess since I was in China a long time ago.

Pavilion at the Hing Hay Park

Chinese chess

The busker

I didn’t think the guitar music was that entertaining so I walked around Chinatown. It’s not very big, just a few blocks. I stopped by the Kinokuniya book store and browsed around there. I spotted their notebook collection and bought a small notebook so I can practice drawing, something I wanted to do on a long trip.

It was still too early to check in so I walked to Occidental Square and hang out there. I remembered the park from twenty years ago when I was on my around the country bus trip at age 19. I recall the totem poles and the firefighters statues in the park.

Totem poles

Occidental Park

Firefighters statue

There’s a skating rink in the park where people can skate for free. I sat on the perimeter of the rink and watched people enjoy themselves while falling on their butts.

Skating rink

Soon I was getting bored and tired so I walked back to the hostel, hoping they can check me in even though it’s before 3 PM, the official check in time. As I expected, they allowed me to check in. I booked five nights for a total of $220.

For the rest of the day, I stayed at the hostel. I was exhausted physically. I was also adjusting mentally. I concluded that I must be suffering from jetlag. I didn’t even eat dinner and crashed on my bed at 5 PM.

First night's sleep

This morning, I woke up at 5 AM. The sun had already risen. I took the time to book my hostel in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, since that’s my next stop after Seattle. I also booked a flight from there to Honolulu. I decided to only visit the Big Island and O’ahu island even though I would have loved to go to Maui, but I don’t want to rush myself visiting three islands in two weeks. I think it’s better to not do too much and enjoy myself.

Around 7 AM, I walked to Dim Sum King that’s about a block away to buy some Chinese dim sum for breakfast. I had a variety of foods, most notably chicken feet. It’s a Chinese delicacy.

Starting at 8 AM, the hostel served coffee, bananas, oranges, oatmeal, and granola bars for breakfast. I had some coffee and ate a banana.

There are a wide variety of people staying in the hostel. Some older people, some with family, and some travelers who are around the same age as me. I haven’t talked to many people here, yet. It seems everyone has their own things to attend to.

Today, I will mainly be walking around downtown. I will meet Ray, a Couchsurfing dude who reached out to me to see if I want to go to a concert. I will meet him around noon at Westlake Park to attend a free concert. At 6:20 PM, I will meet Czarina and Matt, two cyclists I had hosted before on, at REI to attend a talk by a touring cyclist. I’m not sure how I will do with my jetlag. I might just get back to the hostel after the talk.


  1. Sounds like you are off to a good start, except for the jet lag. Don’t get too discouraged. Have a great journey. I look forward to following your adventures.

    1. Thanks, Bob! Hope you are doing well!

  2. Hiatt there is a great museum in Chinatown that was where immigrants from China stayed before being allowed to move to other places in the US. I found it fascinating although somewhat sad knowing that is the way my most likely paper son dad arrived in the US. I think it was called Wing Luke. Also there is a great dessert place message Nick. Take the ferry to Bainbridge for fabulous views of the city.

    1. Thank you for the info. I'll have to check them out!

  3. How exciting Hiatt! Love reading about your adventures! Be safešŸ„°


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