Sunday, November 25, 2012

Splash in the International Fountain in Seattle, Washington


Recently my blog as been all, "Vegas, Vegas, Vegas... yadda, yadda, yadda," which is not bad if you love Vegas, but I will admit, the theme is getting repetitive.  So forgive me if I make one last Vegas reference of 2012 and tell you that I LOVE the fountains at the Bellagio.  The casino puts on one heck of a show, which I appreciate immensely after watching a documentary about the mechanics and computer technology that goes behind the production of the water show.  There is nothing like watching the water literally dance in time to the music, and it always ends with a big, cannon-like boom, water shooting miles into the sky.

There's nothing like the water show at the Bellagio... except for maybe the International Fountain in Seattle Center, Seattle, Washington.

The International Fountain in Seattle Center, Seattle, Washington

The fountain is tucked away behind the Science Center, next to the Experience Music Project museum.  I visited last summer with a friend and her two children, and the International Fountain was indeed a highlight of the trip.

When you come across the fountain, you might think it looks more like a modern art sculpture than anything.  I imagined it was a giant silver comet that fell from the sky and crashed into Earth, burying itself halfway into a patch of cratered concrete.  But when the fountain turns on, everything changes.

Just like the Bellagio water shows, the International Fountain spurts music in time to a set song.  As the song crescendos, so do the jets.  Soft music equals trickles, misty sprays, and gentle pulses of water.  Loud booms and crashes set the fountain into overtime, blasting plumes of water into the sky, or sometimes, right up an unsuspecting frolicker's shorts!

Water pulsing to the beat of the music - much to the delight of summer bathers!

In Seattle, it seems the local children (and heck, even a few adults) have a rhythm with the fountain.  During the more peaceful moments, when water is running down the sides of the machine in soft rivulets, bathers will run up to the fountain and place their hand on the shiny, silver surface, as if they were fulfilling the obligations of some wild bet. They snicker and giggle as they listen to the music and try to judge just when the fountain will spring to life.  The programmers must know this, because I witnessed more than once some false starts, where the music picked it up a notch, but the fountain remained stubbornly passive.

The finale - what an amazing sight!
Then, to the surprise and delight of the people bold enough to stand near the fountain's surface, the water will suddenly blast out, and everyone bolts away, shrieking and laughing, soaked to the core. When the fountain hits its pinnacle, even the bystanders who chose to stand further away in the hopes of staying dry might get sprayed.




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