Portland - A breath of fresh air. Very fresh...

Trip Start Apr 18, 2007
Trip End Jun 29, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Friday, April 20, 2007

Portland is, on the whole, a pretty town. I have arrived in spring as the trees are budding up and the bulbs are flowering. There are verdant green lawns everywhere and people can wash their cars with hoses on driveways. The air is still brisk - 50oF today with a definite chill in the air but the locals were rejoicing at the sight of sunshine.

My accommodation is extremely warm and comfortable. Bed was welcome last night and sleep was broken briefly only once. Today has been a full day with no sign of jet-lag.

My host, Catharine, and I have walked around a neighbourhood that looks like it came from any typical American family movie.
Here is a link to a short clip (filmed in her basement studio) that Bullseye have produced about Catharine's work.
I absorbed cultural differences as we did odd jobs... the bank was one large open space of counters and desks (with lounge chairs around a fireplace too) and not one security screen. The one security guard was a woman of grandmotherly age. Seemed strange for a country with so much crime and access to guns.
The Brotherhood bin was not a bin in a carpark at all, but a shopfront where you could get a receipt to the value that you placed on your old clothes for claiming as a tax deduction. The basic TV range is 70 channels and there is still nothing to watch. And I will never get used to driving on the wrong side of the road or being allowed to turn through red lights!

This afternoon we visited the Bullseye glass factory - the main raison d'etre in Portland. We were given a tour of the factory and I was then left to ponder what to buy and ship home. A tough decision with so much choice here, compared to options in Melbourne. The chance for a 50% discount to wholesale rates for a bulk order will only compound the decision-making anguish!

Friday was a scenic drive to Hood River in the surrounding countryside and Saturday was a visit to the local farmers' market and the main glass gallery, with deteriorating, wet weather and dinner with 'the girls' that night.

Sunday has been spent as the opposite to Friday - that other American pastime... shopping! We inadvertently stumbled across a DFO-style shoe outlet with the likes of STEVE MADDEN shoes at mark-down prices! And they were cheap to start with! Nothing like Melbourne prices, should you be able to find them in Chapel Street boutiques. And what a range! All girls will understand the excitment here. Looking forward to New York...
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