Pixie Dust

Trip Start Jul 03, 2009
Trip End Aug 16, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Saturday, July 18, 2009

We have had a great time so far making small party with Mr. Jim and Mr. Derek in the great city of Portland. We were excited to sleep in a little bit and then to start a new day in the city. Portland has many intriguing features but most importantly, good friends and people in general (even ethnic minorities whom we had not seen in the past two weeks).

Breakfast was found in the form of waffle sandwiches at a pod type food truck restaurant in Jim and Derek's neighborhood. They were fantastic and of course, all ingredients were local and organic. We then got a tour of various neighborhoods in the city. Portland is such a compact place there are many different slices of life to be seen in a very short distance. It was refreshing to see how close everyone is to nature and trees, just a five minute drive away from downtown!

We then stopped at the Portland Green Market which was by far the largest that we had ever seen. We picked up some fantastic fruit, veggies and artisanal cheeses for our dinner that evening. The green market was full of interesting shifty characters. Anything seems to go in Portland with little notice or judgement. Here are only a few of my favorites: A man was walking around with a hat made out of newspaper, a woman who will write you a poem on the spot, a weak looking six person protest marched down the street (each person was protesting something different), and at one point a group of about twenty college students came through dressed in sailor suits beating drums and chanting something. Everyone kind of smiles and nods, not in a dull way, but with a polite interest kind of feel. If I didn’t know better I would think that everyone takes muscle relaxers. The drivers are insanely polite almost to a fault. Pedestrians and cyclists always have the right of way and we didn’t hear a single honk.

Let me take a moment to highlight some of the best features of Portland neighborhoods: beautiful homes at affordable prices, green space nearby, a completely relaxed atmosphere, only local establishments with organic low mileage produce, and funky boutiques. Every new neighborhood we went to was more interesting and eclectic than the last  

Jim’s itinerary then indicated that it was time to eat (hooray).We headed to Bunk Sandwiches for a hearty meatball parm and a slow roasted pork shoulder sandwich with homemade kettle chips, of course. After so much food, we all needed a walk. As we were touring some other neighborhoods we came upon some more sketchy characters. The first was a little pixie girl in a tea shop who seriously sounded like a six year old who inhaled too much helium and the second a kindly older Mrs. Havashem –type cat loving woman who invited us to a party to help a local food bank. For how good I’m making Portland sound, I have to admit that it is disarming how friendly everyone is. In the Midwest, everyone is nice because they want to know your business. In Portland, people just seem genuinely nice and it makes us suspicious. It would take some getting used to not to assume everyone is being kind because they want/need something. (Midwestern readers, don’t take offense. Not everyone is a busy body).

The rest of the afternoon was spent in Jim and Derek’s lovely home and back yard chatting and prepping for that evening’s dinner. After a beautiful dinner we headed out to sample some of Portland’s homemade spirits at McMenimins Kennedy School. It’s an old elementary school that is now a community center/hotel/bar. You can drink in the Detention Center, or eat in the Boiler Room, go hear an author read in the gym or maybe catch an astronomer out on the patio. It’s a really unique space.

The evening ended at one of Portland’s food cart centers called the Pod. It was cool to see all the different groups of people, young and old out at 12:30AM grabbing their last organic local bite for the evening. We sampled some crepes and some tacos which are both fantastic to eat right before bedtime…

More from Portland tomorrow!
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