Sunday, February 12, 2006

A visit to Seattle, Washington

Last week (Feb 9-11, 2006) I went to Seattle, Washington for attending the Microsoft interview. Seattle is located on the North-west corner of United States, just south of Vancouver, Canada. It is the home to Starbucks, Microsoft,, Boeing, RealNetworks, Nintendo... The 2500miles+ (7 hours of flying time) journey from Baltimore was exhausting and I just crashed onto to my suite at Fairfield Inns, Marriot. On 10th I had a nice interview at the Micrsoft's Redmond campus, around 12 miles from downtown Seattle. I was stunned by the capus with 200+ massive buildings spread out on a 25 sq. mile area. After finishing the interview (details on my personal blog) I went to visit the Seattle downtown, at night time. It is a pretty nice place and had a good night-lights like most major American cities.

On Feb 11, I went around Seattle. I went to Space needle (the building on the center of the picture above), which was contructed for the 1962 world fair. We went to the top and had a good view of the downtown Seattle, along with the breathtaking view of the mountains in the background. Though the admission ticket was a bit pricey (at around $13/person) the view was good. We then went to the underground tour of Seattle, which is a very unique thing with Seattle.

When Seattle was founded, it was a huge marshland and the tides got a lot higher than ground. However, the founding fathers (who just bothered about money and the book "Son of the Profits" described their 'worthy' deeds) did not bother about the main problems and kept trying to fill out the marshlands with sawdust and tried building houses and streets over it. Over time, the streets started sinking and huge holes appeared on the streets because of heavy Erains and unstable land fill. ven more bigger problem was in draining sewer and high tides and low elevation caused sewer to be pushed back on to the city and city became a collossal waste and stinking land. Then a fortuitous thing happened in the form of Great Seattle fire, which cleared all the settlements. The government decided to raise the land level by 10-30 feet and this project was to take a long time. In the meantime, the city traders started to build stores and sidewalk in parallel at the earlier elevation and this caused an unusual thing. The city was developed in two levels in parallel. Thus, under the city's interious, there are parallel sidewalks and old stores and over time (in 60-70 years), it was totally abandoned leaving a huge city under the ground of a bustling modern city. Due to the efforts of a journalist named William Spiegal, the underground is getting restored and now there is tour underground, that allows us a peep of a city under a major city. It is worth a tour.

More information about Seattle and tourism

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