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Retracing a Familiar Route Through Seattle, Redmond, and Bellevue

Updated on June 25, 2013
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A markerRainier Valley -
Rainier Valley, Seattle, WA, USA
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B markerDowntown Seattle -
Seattle, WA, USA
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C markerRedmond -
Redmond, WA, USA
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D markerBellevue, WA -
Bellevue, WA, USA
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You Can Never Go Back

Oh, yes I can!

I just don't want to stay.

While it is sensory stimulating and journalistically invigorating to visit Seattle and vicinity, my heart is nestled in the moderately sequestered Walla Walla Valley. There, the only rat race I ever need to be concerned with is how fast I can sell a Mickey or Minnie memorabilia item on eBay. Oh, sorry, M & M! Same family, different genus. Got it!

Recently, I had an opportunity to visit the Seattle neighborhood where I lived for a few years while holding down a job in nearby Redmond.

The Fuji camera I used to take photos of the event was a secondhand device that I got from my brother, Charlie. Apparently, during one of his fishing expeditions, he accidentally dropped this camera into the water. While its viewing capability was damaged, the basic functions were still operable.

Anyway, when my family and I were in Hawaii in December, 2010, Charlie presented this camera to me as a gift of brotherly aloha. He knew I was really passionate about my writing, and so he thought this camera would come in handy. It turned out to be one of the best investments my brother could have ever made in me.

I am a true-blue procrastinator, and so while I had every good intention to use this camera, I was a bit inhibited about trying to figure out how it worked. One day, I emailed my brother and asked him a question about taking photos with my cellphone. He lit into me and said to forget about the cellphone--use the camera!

Well, for a few days, I fiddled around with the camera. I took some night pictures several evenings ago and experienced firsthand the superior quality of the photos compared to my old cellphone pix of the same scenes. When I visited the Seattle area, I took more shots, and this photo essay will make liberal use of them.

Thought Theme for the Day: I am a good fit for this less than perfect camera because I am a less than perfect human being.

Looking South at the Intersection of 46th and Othello in the Rainier Valley
Looking South at the Intersection of 46th and Othello in the Rainier Valley | Source

I Thank My Guardian Angel

The photo above was my first attempt of the day.

Each evening, I would leave the rental home I was living at with two other men and walk four-tenths of a mile to this very intersection. The Rainier Valley was and may very well still be the most dangerous community in Seattle. I remember vividly leaving for work one evening. A crowd of people--policemen, medical professionals, television crews, news journalists, and alarmed neighbors and passersby--stood at the intersection right in front of our house.

Later, I learned that a fugitive who had killed several police officers had been gunned down near his car that had been parked just a few yards away.

While this was an extreme case, the Rainier Valley was fraught with crime. Walking six-tenths of a mile to the link light rail station in the pitch black darkness of night was a real challenge. I reminded myself to walk tall and confidently--hopefully sending out vibes that I was NOT going to be an easy victim. My only weapon was prayer, and God answered faithfully for every single walk I made through that neighborhood.

Thankfully, on this return trip to Seattle, I was traveling in the early morning. Just as I had done hundreds of times before, I got on the Sound Transit Light Rail at the Othello Station and headed downtown. Approximately 22 minutes later, I disembarked the train at the Westlake tunnel. I caught an escalator up to the street level and went to the post office at 3rd and Union to mail one of my eBay packages. (Yes, even when I'm traveling, I take care of business.) I was pleasantly surprised that there was no line. Sweet! After some lighthearted banter with the kind, middle-aged Afro-American woman who helped me, I was off to the Central branch of the Seattle Public Library.

Along the way, I took a few photos of the Seattle skyscrapers.

Since this was the first time I had ever tried to capture the sensation of height, I may have been a bit clumsy, but you can't learn how to swim without making a splash, so I just went for it, and here are the results.

Seattle Skyscrapers A
Seattle Skyscrapers A
Seattle Skyscrapers B
Seattle Skyscrapers B

After a short walk, I arrived at the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library. Looking very much like an enormous blue diamond because of its multi-faceted window design, it is an impressive architectural work of art that sits smack dab in the middle of 4th Avenue, arguably Seattle's main hub of activity.

Seattle Public Library, Central Branch
Seattle Public Library, Central Branch

After using a computer to check on my eBay site, I left the library and headed north towards Westlake Park. There, I took a photo of a familiar department store before catching the 545 Sound Transit bus to Redmond.

Macy's
Macy's

Next, I was off to Redmond, once a suburb of Seattle and now its own incorporated entity.

After approximately a half hour ride, I got off the bus in front of Fred Meyer, an all-stop department store where I used to frequently shop for something to eat and drink during my graveyard shift at the bagel shop.

On a path adjacent to one of the Redmond main streets is a large stand of trees. These evergreen skyscrapers are a natural contrast to their synthetic urban counterparts in downtown Seattle. They are the true vanguards of mankind, and it was refreshing for this writer to see a bit of natural wonder still left untouched while the rest of the Microsoft capital of the world rapidly developed around and in spite of it.

This was the general area where I worked as a baker for about five years. I gave the work my very best effort, thankful that I had a job that enabled me to send money home to my family, but what the labor and its owner and management demanded of me was not worth the heartache and physical ailments that accompanied it.

On this visit back to my old stomping grounds, I chose, for my own peace of mind and the most compelling form of reinforcement for the banner decision I made one fateful day to leave this all behind and return home to my family for good, to shake the dust off of my shoes and walk away.

These Evergreens Made a Defiant Stand...and So Did I!
These Evergreens Made a Defiant Stand...and So Did I!

Next, I went to Fred Meyer and stopped in at the in-store branch of my bank to conduct some miscellaneous transactions.

I was hungry by this time, and so I went to the deli a few feet away where I purchased a lunch deal. My selection was--no surprise to all--Hawaiian Ono Chicken. For $4.37, I got a delicious rice bowl with succulent chicken pieces drowned in a sumptuous teriyaki sauce...oh, and also a small soft drink to go with it.

Hawaiian Ono Chicken
Hawaiian Ono Chicken

Next stop in my busy day: Bellevue.

I have alluded to this several times in my writing, but just in case you're new to Hawaiian Odysseus hubs, you should know that I write prolifically in coffee shops, restaurants, libraries and anywhere else that offers free WiFi.

Anyway, after picking up my new eyeglasses at Lenscrafters, I walked over to one of my favorite Starbucks shops. It's located adjacent to a Barnes and Noble store which makes coming to this site a double whammy of literary pursuits for me.

Starbucks Coffee Shop in Bellevue, Washington
Starbucks Coffee Shop in Bellevue, Washington

I thought today's writing project would only have taken an hour or so at the most, but it's almost 7 PM. In my defense, I was running into a few problems with the uploading of my photos but, thankfully, the issue passed.

So, I'm taking a short break to stretch my legs and pump more java into my fatigued body before sprinting down the home stretch of this long but very rewarding post. See you in just a few...

You can check out these Bellevue skyscrapers while you wait.

Bellevue Skyscrapers A
Bellevue Skyscrapers A
Bellevue Skyscrapers B
Bellevue Skyscrapers B
Bellevue Skyscrapers C
Bellevue Skyscrapers C
Bellevue Skyscrapers D
Bellevue Skyscrapers D
Bellevue Skyscrapers E
Bellevue Skyscrapers E

It's no wonder that Bellevue--just a little pipsqueak of a town back in the seventies, is now the second largest city in Washington. I came across this interesting fact two or three years ago and was simply amazed! Suburban sprawl is alive and well in the Evergreen State, that's for sure!

My one commentary is that Bellevue has found a way, unlike Seattle, to maintain a clean and orderly appearance. Whether this is due to political decisions, fiscal planning, socioeconomic strategies, or other factors, Bellevue sets an example for other cities to emulate.

In any event, I have overstayed my welcome in Bellevue and must now head back to the Emerald City. At a pre-designated spot, I will meet up with my equally emerald queen for the long drive back home to eastern Washington.

Thanks for coming along!
Thanks for coming along!

Comments

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @xtatic

    Jim, I apologize for the late response. I sincerely remember writing a comment to you the other day, but when I saw the odd number in my comments section, I thought I'd better check things out...sure enough, your comments didn't have a response from me. Sorry about that, Jim. I have no idea what happened there. In any event, living apart from my family in order to have a job in Redmond strengthened my spiritual and emotional resolve. One thing it did was convince me that I needed to get back home and establish my own full time business. Living in the "belly of the beast," Rainier Valley, reinforced the values I learned in Hawai'i...being respectful of others has a greater impact on crime prevention than being fearful. It also paid off big time to be a walking prayer. : ) Aloha, my friend, and thanks for understanding about the belated message.

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Random thoughts are interesting visitors. It tells me that you're very much in touch with your inner child. It's random hubs that have me preoccupied at this time. I'm being hard on myself, and that's always a drag. So I definitely welcome all random thoughts.Thanks for being a great pal, Liz! And the Hawaiian Ono Chicken was always a great deal over at the Redmond Fred Meyer...only $3.99 plus tax. Have a good night's rest!

  • Radcliff profile image

    Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

    Mmmmm . . . that chicken looks amazing.

    Thank you for sharing a little more of The History of Joe. I love these stories.

    Skyscrapers always remind me of Legos. That's just a random thought. Billy has to deal with them all the time.

    Aloha!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Halfway through the challenge with only 5 days to go! I did it to myself. : ) Hi, Sally! My honest opinion is that the city looks impressive from afar, but for close ups, give me the gentle and the green anytime! Which makes me wonder why Seattle is nicknamed The Emerald City. The only green I saw there was the Starbucks logo...and on just about every other block, at that! Thank you for your kind words, Sally! So here I go now on my next adventures...Aloha!

    Joe

  • sallybea profile image

    Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

    Wow - a concrete jungle - how different and how vast from little old Norfolk which is currently so gentle and so green. I love the images of those tall buildings and you remind me Joe of the importance of hanging onto some of one's older images, for you never know when you might need them. I am in the habit of taking my camera with me almost everywhere I go - building up some images for some future Hubs. Well done Joe, another day is done and you are now exactly half way through the challenge.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Mary, you won't believe it! Meant to cut my grass yesterday, but the rain came tumbling down once again. So in just a few minutes, I'm off to make like Edward Scissorshands on my lawn. I have so much to do, but the mowing of the grass will give me time to think about what I want to say. Thanks for coming along for the walk and ride through the Greater Seattle area. Have a wonderful day, my friend! Aloha!

    Joe

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    You did go back, and took us with you too. Glad you survived that neighborhood and lived to write so well about it and so many other things too.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

    So you forgot to tell us how proud your brother is that you not only used the camera but took fantastic pictures!

    Your 30/30 is soaring Hoaloha...this is a great edition. Chuck full of information and of course your lovely pictures. "Bellevue sets an example for other cities to emulate." And you write hubs that we want to emulate!

    Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Pearl!

    HubPages provides us with a way to share different things and places with fellow writers. I'm grateful that you were able to share in this hub experience, my friend. Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a good night's rest and a great day tomorrow! Aloha!

    Joe

  • grandmapearl profile image

    Connie Smith 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

    Joe, I'll trade you my camera for yours anytime! What great shots of those buildings; and yes, I definitely got the sense of height!

    Wow, I'm glad the Lord watched over you as you walked those dangerous streets.

    I really enjoyed learning about your 'old stomping grounds'. It's not very likely I'll get to travel any time soon, so I appreciate learning about the rest of the country I have yet to see ;) Pearl

    Voted Up+++

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Yeah, there are aspects of it that I don't like, either, but I must say most of the hubs are being approved a lot faster than before. Thanks for the kind words, Karen, and I do appreciate you and WND all the more because of how busy we are. Back to work! : )

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thanks, WND!

    I do like bagels but honestly haven't had one for a long time. Wanted to lose some extra weight that I was packing around. : ) I've had a few spread out over the last two years, ones you can get at the grocery store, but nothing spectacular. The place where I worked at had about 26 flavors, and they were delicious. Well, I better get going! Thanks for always stopping by to share your kind comments, my friend. Aloha!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Bill!

    Looking back, I'm so thankful I survived the period of time--almost two years--that I lived there. But I did meet some cool people as well as learned a lot about myself as a result. The neighborhood next to Othello, Columbia City, really went through some major gentrification, and it appeared that Othello was starting to undergo the same transformation, especially with the advent of the light rail. But Rainier Beach...well, I did my best to steer clear of that place. I'm very thankful, my friend, that all of that is behind me and that I'm home, safe and sound and content, with my wife. Well, it's back to the drawing board, my friend, and more tapping of the keys. Aloha, and have a great evening!

    Joe

  • Karen Hellier profile image

    Karen Hellier 3 years ago from Georgia

    Wow, that camera may be less than perfect but it still takes some great shots. And the maps that you included are cool too. You're getting so good at these hubs Joe. My hat's off to you. I'm still struggling away with the new set up. I don't like change very much!!!

  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

    Going through those neighborhoods must have brought back a lot of memories. But good for you, you gave yourself that swift kick to be with your loved ones. Now that it's said and done, do you like Bagels? Or are those forever out of your system?

    It had to be grand seeing those trees. The skyscrapers are an awesome sight, but I will gladly look at them from pictures.

    You are definitely on a roll.

    Have a safe ride to home sweet home.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Please don't tell me this was a recent trip because then I'm going to have to ask why you didn't give me a call.

    I am well-acquainted with the Rainier Valley and I have seen all of it I care to see for a lifetime. :)

    Your exceptional writing and personal touch made this a very enjoyable tag-along. Thanks for letting me sneak into the backseat and ride with you.

    Aloha my friend

    bill

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Susan!

    Thanks for being the very first person to arrive at this hub. Yes, I thought the very same thing about Bellevue. I remember when it was just a bump along the road from Seattle, back in the days when we had to pay toll at the old bridge. I understand they're charging tolls once again or have been for the last year or two. I'm glad that you stopped by to be a part of this Hub experience! Aloha!

    Joe

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    I really enjoyed your hub as Bellevue, Redmond and Seattle were my old stomping grounds many many years ago. From your pictures of Bellevue it looks like so much has changed in the last 33 years.

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