We walked along a waterfront that we thought would never end. Even as we approached the next block we didn’t believe we’d ever reach our destination: HempFest in Seattle, WA.
We weren’t even celebrating the legalization of marijuana in Washington. We simply were killing time and relishing the moment with Lauren’s friends from Germany.
As more beads of sweat gathered on my forehead, I started worrying about getting a sunburn. I hadn’t realized we were going to be walking for a half hour in direct August afternoon heat. I also didn’t realize how far our fantastic (read: free) parking spot was from the end of the waterfront. The minutes ticked closer and closer to a parking ticket as we approached the festival.
By the time we reached HempFest, we realized that we wouldn’t have time to shuffle through the line and make it into the festival before needing to move the car.
Solution: Take a rickshaw.
Bike transportation is popular in both Portland and Seattle, so I’ve seen my share of rickshaw drivers offering to get me to my destination faster or to show me around the city, but I’ve always denied them. I’ve got feet, and they get me to where I’m going for free.
But this was crunch time.
We found our driver on the sidewalk eating a corn dog and slowly approached, giving him the address of the parking garage.
“6th and Columbia?” He said, “I can take you to 1st and Columbia…” We reluctantly accepted his compromise. The remaining blocks were steeply uphill (thanks Seattle!), so I understand why Mr. Rickshaw didn’t want to bike two people up an almost 45 degree angle for 6 blocks.
We got on and Mr. Rickshaw began to pedal. We were definitely happy to be sitting instead of walking, and we even got a bit of the wind-blowing-in-our-hair effect, which was refreshing.
He pulled over at 1st and Columbia like promised. “That’ll be $15,” he said. 15 dollars? I suddenly wished we had taken a taxi, which Lauren and I had discussed earlier but decided a rickshaw would probably be cheaper. A taxi would’ve at least taken us to our destination, but now we were left to climb 6 steep, sweaty, foot-aching blocks up to the car. All of the relaxation and refreshment of taking the rickshaw was negated, and we were out $15.
I’ve been going to Seattle at least twice a year and up to four times a year since junior high. Before my parents let me take the car up over long weekends, I took Amtrak into the city and navigated around by bus. It only seems appropriate that I experienced another way to get around the city.
It’s just a shame that my first rickshaw ride wasn’t worth it. It was fun for a one-time thing, but I think I’ll be returning to my philosophy of feet as my built-in transportation.