Three years ago, I wrote about Chinatown in Los Angeles, comparing it to the many other Chinatowns I've been to (hint: L.A.'s Chinatown fails miserably).
Lately, I've been spending time in Seattle's Chinatown. The Faery and Miss Pie have been doing weekly Kung Fu classes there, and - happily - it's a part of town that's enjoyable to hang out in. I've had a few people say to me that it's sketchy and unsafe, but nope. I've never felt a dodgy element there. I think there's a preconceived idea that because it's so close to downtown and a couple of major bus/train stations and stadiums, with a large presence of homeless souls, that it's perhaps not safe. I would say that's rubbish. Unlike so many inner-city neighbourhoods, it simply hasn't been gentrified... yet.
It's not a large Chinatown, but definitely bigger than Melbourne's and London's. It's not cramped together, nor is it sprawled and difficult to navigate. It's less colourful and vibrant than San Francisco's, but the colours and patterns are around. There are the requisite restaurant windows with barbecued ducks strung up, signs advertising Chinese herbs, and curb-side trees that have a more Oriental feel to them.
We've settled into a bit of a groove during the girls' Kung Fu lessons, where I go for a wander to take in the streets. I obsessively take snaps of buildings, windows, and fire escapes (that remind me a little of San Francisco in general). At some point, I usually head to Uwajimaya, which is one of my Happy Places. It's a massive Japanese-owned supermarket where I can find various Asian (and other imported) goods that I have trouble finding elsewhere - including real passionfruit for my beloved pavlovas. Uwajimaya also happens to be right next to a Kinokuniya bookstore, which was my Happy Place in Sydney. The last thing I do is grab some bubble tea as a treat for the girls, as they've become quite obsessed with it. I have a feeling that as winter closes in on us, we'll start having dumplings and other staple Chinese food afterwards, to warm our bellies before heading home. I'm not looking forward to winter, but I'm looking forward to a good excuse to eat some hearty Chinese food.
I've yet to bring the proper camera with me, so it's just iPhone shots for now.
(Also, yes. It's no secret that I have a thing for dragons...)