On Friday morning, Katie and I left for Portland, Oregon. We got back to Jersey City this afternoon. We enjoyed it thoroughly.
Motivations for the trip broke along three main lines, which occurred in the following chronological order:
First, we were badly in need of a vacation, having not taken a real one (i.e. non-family, non-wedding, non-funeral) since the Tokyo trip of 2009/2010. Too much working, not enough playing.
Second, Katie discovered that BlytheCon, the yearly meetup/party relating to her extreme passion for Blythe dolls, was announced to be in Portland for this particular weekend.
And third, I discovered (weeks later) that the Red Bulls would be playing against the 2011 expansion side Portland Timbers that same weekend.
So the trip became an easy choice, and a lovely one at that. And outside of those two major events, we left our four days there pretty open.
So we ate. Crispy duck breast schnitzel, so-tasty-but-so-deadly “breakfast nachos”, carnitas tacos and pupusas, a ridiculous vanilla-honey panna cotta, a beautiful pork shoulder steak, ginger-y chicken teriyaki, and yes, some Voodoo Doughnuts. Any weight I put on was worth it.
And we drank. Cocktails with all sorts of spirits and ingredients, draft beers at pubs, lattes and espressos at coffee shops quiet and loud, iced jasmine tea and horchata from carts.
And we shopped. Book stores, used CD stores, tucked away comic book shops, arts & crafts markets, and more. There’s no sales tax, by the way.
And we met people. Online friends that’s we’ve been talking to for months or years. The endless supply of friendly people who apparently run every business in town. Talkative cabbies and hotel porters. The most common phrase we found ourselves saying the first day is “Wow, everyone is SO nice here.”
And we saw the sights that felt our speed. The Lan Su Chinese Garden was peaceful and relaxing, even with a light sprinkle coming down. We caught a chunk of the Pride Parade, which felt like the whole city was out in support of. After finishing an early dinner, we walked over the Burnside Bridge, taking in the Willamette River as the sun was just starting to sink.
While we sat beside the river on Sunday nibbling away at our lunch with a parade going on behind us, Katie gave Portland the highest praise she could: she said she could see herself living there. And I agreed. It definitely feels our speed – although I am well aware that we probably didn’t see all the cracks that one becomes aware of as you spend more time somewhere.
And yes, we went to the Red Bulls game (a separate post is coming about that), and yes, we went to Blythecon (which I will leave Katie to blog about, as she can give you more perspective). And yes, we spent way too much time looking for things with birds on them.
But mostly, we just enjoyed the hell out of the Rose City.
We will undoubtedly be back.