Thursday, June 13, 2013

Portland! Which, confusingly, is not actually a port.

Yes, I'm lame and take things literally - but every town with a port name in Central America was actually a port!

Anyway, we caught a super early bus from Canada and found it easier to get into the US than it was to get out (my having pepper spray on the way up may have been the cause - Canada doesn't like weapons as much as its southern neighbour).

Once there we ditched our bags and grabbed some lunch - Italian, a warm up for August. We did a tiny bit of exploring and returned back to the hotel for tea and cookie hour followed by wine and cracker hour (yes, we picked a good hotel). I had a nap while Mum caught up with people then I got ready to meet Matt, a friend I made at Disney.


The walk to the karaoke bar (Matt's choice, karaoke and I are not on the best of terms) was interesting. It was about 25 blocks so I got to see a reasonable amount of the city, most of the inhabitants of which appeared to be high. They were also very friendly though, as one kind man warned me off visiting South Korea. Portland is a pretty liberal city and I also passed a group of protestors in tents (I'm not 100% sure what they were protesting).

I arrived eventually and met up with Matt, his brothers and some friends. Unfortunately very few photos as I was distracted but I did get a couple of snaps of Adam attempting to cross dress. I think he pulls it off pretty well!

The next day it was time to be touristy! We began by heading up to the International Rose Test Garden. This is where they grow roses from around the world to compete over a period of 5 (I think) years to see which is the best. That judgement is based on hardiness, scent, how often it blooms etc.

Pretty church I saw on the walk

New Zealand features!
In the afternoon we skipped back into town for some retail therapy and a visit to Powell's - the world's biggest bookstore. I was in book-nerd heaven! Although I was a little disappointed that there were no beanbags scattered about or nooks to secret away in and lose the afternoon.

The next day was our last in Portland and we went exploring in town. We visited a craft gallery with an exhibit on bowls, some antique and hand-made shoe stores (a different kind of heaven!), popped down to the end of Salmon street to visit the fountain and got some food at a food cart which was amazing. I went for Thai while Mum got Mexican. We were serenaded while we waited for our food by the most depressed looking band I have ever seen. The music was upbeat oddly. Afterwards they got quite animated so I have no idea what was going on! Mainly I just loved the green hat with the yellow rose.

Antique store

Pretty, pretty shoes

The exhibit on bowls - this was my favourite picture

Portland isn't complete without a stop at Voodoo Donuts, however it was just a stop as the line was too long for either of us to want to attempt actually buying a doughnut there!

My attempt at a hipster outfit in honour of Portlandia. Also, the Salmon St fountain.

Mum at the river.

Some of you may have heard that Portland is a little liberal, a little hipster, a little environmental.

Do you see the awesome hat with the flower?

We got wine and crackers again at our hostel then went to a roof top bar for a G&T. It had a futuristic theme and I felt like a spy in this somewhat fancy place!

I met up with Matt again afterwards to see some friends of his play in a band called the Great Hiatum - look them up if you're a music buff as they were good! Then to a Steak/Strip club for some dinner. This sounds like a weird choice but I'm a pole dancer so I'm always a little interested in strip clubs and they do great steak. Unfortunately for me there was little to no pole dancing so we changed venues to another karaoke bar to meet with Kris, Matt's brother, before calling it a night.

The Great Hiatum
In the morning Mum and I had an adventure trying to get to the car rental place as the Grand Floral parade was taking over the town (and many of the main roads) as part of the Rose Festival. Then we had a hair-raising exit from Portland as Mum had never driven on the right side of the road, sitting in the left  side of the car amid 4 lanes of traffic! A somewhat jerky beginning to our road trip to California!

"I have no idea what I'm doing."

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