Portlandia

It was years ago, when I first desired to trek to the Northwest mecca, Portland, Oregon. Then I thought, why not Seattle as well. I contemplated the details of flying into Seattle, renting a car to drive to Portland and then flying back. Over time, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to visit FB friends along the way, in my trusty Subaru Forester. Last thing to let go was worry about money, since I already seemed to have cleared my life of work! 😉 And now, here I am!

The first afternoon I got here was actually HOT! I was so excited to see Portland, I overshot the exit or something and with the help of my friend Ann, got turned around and back on track. I met Ann in front of a Portland icon, Powell’s Books, a huge new and used bookstore. We walked a bit and decided on burritos for food. They were quite massive and filled me for a good long time! Ann, another Wells women, told me how she migrated to Portland twenty-five years ago. And has never looked back! She likes the fact that there are no bugs and no extreme cold weather. And little humidity. The rain falls from November through March and is no bother to her. She is over employed but doesn’t need to be. Basically, a happy camper!

Ann & me
Ann & me

After a while, we went our separate ways, she back home to her three waiting cats and I to my waiting friend Mike at a rooftop salsa event. “Looks like Portland agrees with you!,” was my opening line. Indeed, he looked tan and slim and healthy. Mike moved out here a year ago from Albany, NY. We chatted and danced a bit, throwing some tango moves into a bachata. Then we escaped to a BBQ place, where I had a small salad, much to his chagrin. But I was still stuffed from the earlier burrito! We picked up my car and I followed him to the island where his boat was docked. His kitty Cariba was waiting inside. After feeding her and watching an episode of Sherlock, we retired to our separate bunks. The cushion was firm and I got a little air from opening the hatch. I was so psyched, as I’d never slept on a boat before!

The next day, I slept in and did some laundry at the marina facility. Then I drove to the city center a d had a veggie Reuben at Kenny and Zuke’s. I started walking around, but felt a bit tired and lazy, so I bought a TriMet day pass and I rode around on the trams. It reminded me of Germany, which I love! I ended up at Powell’s, where Mike found me after work. We went to some food carts and got some Mexican, me a shrimp burrito, once again big and definitely different from the East Coast! Mike and I then went to the Congo Club for a tango lesson followed by some dancing. After the lesson concluded, my feather pouch necklace beads suddenly cascaded to the floor! Several guys helped pick up the scattered beads and I stashed them away to reassemble later. I was bummed, though, that I could no longer wear the pouch!

Mike and me
Mike and me
My bunk
q My bunk

Another night on the boat. The pitter patter of rain on the roof was soothing. Next morning, it was time to say goodbye to Mike and Cariba. I drove to Mount Tabor, a hilly city park on top of a volcano, to meet Mary. I had met Mary just seven weeks ago at the Teal Swan workshop in Boston. She is a very exuberant soul and took in the nature and lampposts with great joy. Later, we ate at an Indian buffet and she read my tarot cards. We had to move to a coffee shop to finish. The basic message was I needed to believe I was worthy of love from myself and from others, though I was on the path. Outside, it was raining and I needed directions to my next destination. As Mary was helping me with her GPS, a young woman with bright lipstick and a ribbed green mini skirt started singing in a rather sing song fashion while playing her ukulele. Mary was in love and went over to videotape the performance and give the girl a kiss! The girl was surprised but did not recoil. We dashed off through the splashy streets and back to our cars.

Mary & me
Mary & me

I got turned around again in my directions, but soon realized my mistake and confidently turned around. I smiled when I saw cheap gas and pulled up to the tank and started getting out of my car when an older short guy came around and asked if he could help me. Turns out Oregon has no self-serve gas. And the station accepted cash or debit, but no credit cards! Feeling discouraged, I headed off and then panicked, because I was not finding the turn off street! I tried getting some WiFi for my tablet, as I do not own a smart phone, but didn’t even know where I was anymore! Finally, I called Leah, and asked how to get to her place. Although in this day where “everyone” has GPS, she was not used to giving directions, she rose to the occasion. And it was a simple straightforward route! Soon, I had arrived at her house. We left again to walk to Jade, a Sellwood Asian restaurant and shared a Thai red curry as well as an eggplant dish.  Very yummy! I had a carrot cupcake with a cute little marzipan carrot on top to boot! I was tired, so went to bed early.

It was overcast again in the morning. I didn’t wanna get up. But Leah had done some research for me and sent me an email with a link to Caravan, a local tiny house hotel. I called there and was told there would be an open house on Sunday. I replied that today was my last day in Portland. After a little hesitation, the lady on the other end allowed me to stop by in the afternoon when they would be cleaning the houses after guests left. When I got there shortly after noon, there was frenetic activity. The folks from Portlandia were coming and they needed to get ready! I was still able to look around, but didn’t stay too long. It was interesting to see the difference between the tiny houses. One was very open, another seemed rather narrow. Most of them appealed to me, but since they were hotel rooms and not homes, I did not get a true sense of what it would be like to live in one. Tiny houses have been a growing passion of mine and I’m eager to see if one would fit my living style.

Tiny house hotel
Tiny house hotel

On the way back, I stopped at Zenbu, a sushi food cart and got some rolls for me and for Leah. A bit later, we went to Trader Joe’s and New Seasons Market for Rosh Hashanah fixings and for my upcoming journey. Back at home, I helped Leah prepare the meal. Steve, her boyfriend arrived, and we had apples and honey, challah and honey or plum butter, for a sweet new year, then shared a salmon cake, followed by roasted cauliflower, mashed sweet potato and corn on the cob with a truly succulent chicken and gravy. We finished the meal with Marionberry (a berry that grows in Oregon) pie and French vanilla ice cream. Ah! The three of us got on well and shared a lightness and sense of humor, which made for a very delightful evening!

Zenbu sushi
Zenbu sushi

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