SEATTLE — I'm an early riser — by way of an alarm that's set to go off three times, a kid who wakes with the roosters, and a dog that needs to be let out at sunrise. But when I travel west, getting up early gets an upgrade. That's because I can sleep in (sort of) and still be up before 90 percent of the folks who live and work in LA, San Francisco or Seattle.
On a recent trip to Seattle, I snoozed until 8 my time (luxury!), and was still up at 6 local time to get in a run and then take a walk through the too-well-known Pike Place Market. At midday, it's a spot I'd normally avoid: Throngs of fellow travelers and a mall-like vibe steal the fun. But in the gray light of dawn, it reverted to what I guessed must be a long-lost version of itself; it was just me and the food vendors, setting up for the day.
The fish guys, joking with each other while slinging fish into ice chips, took the time to educate me about their oysters. The fruit guys, assembling their kaleidoscope displays, talked baseball while they fed me the best mango I've ever had. The best apple too. The bakers picked out a special pastry, insisted I had earned the whole thing by going for a run so early, and then took my photo with it.
OK, maybe that was taking things too far.
The advice still stands: Sneak an extra hour or two out of somebody else's time zone, and see what you can make of it.