A Week in Portland (Middle Part)
Early on, I decided that I wanted to embrace a cruise-like mentality on this vacation (e.g. the food is free, plan some excursions but leave the days loose, etc). It's been working well, but I think we're going to need to start running two or three times a day. Not to burn calories or anything, but because there's too much good food and we just aren't hungry enough to do it justice.
I'm still trying to find a way to eat at PHO's noodle shop, but it's only open three and a half hours a day, during lunch. Tomorrow, the Bite of Oregon (a food, music, wine, beer festival) starts up right across the street from our hotel. I don't know that I can eat enough to do justice to both. It's a serious dilemma.
These are the heavy thoughts that drift through my mind this evening. I think it's working.
Wednesday, Into the Forest
Wednesday started with an eight mile run through a hilly forest. We took the light rail (train) to the southern head of the Wildwood trail. Then we ran North-ish for about four miles before coming back. We passed Japanese gardens, an overlook that showed three mountains, a sequoia forest, and lots of very happy dogs. We stopped when we bumped into some mansion in Forest park. No pictures, cameras are heavy. It was awesome and we rode the train home.
Wednesday was also farmers market day in a nearby park. The farmers markets I've grown accustomed to at home are sad, tiny affairs compared to what we found.
Whoa, her shirt matches one of the tents!
The tent village basically took up the better part of a block. They had lots of fruit, cheese, mushrooms, and all the "normal" vegetables we see in Kansas. They also had cookies. We bought four giant cookies and they didn't see Thursday.
Quick! Which line is the longest?
The farmers market also had tasty food kiosks. Most of the lines had about 5 customers, but the tamale line had about 30 customers. We ate tamales.
Later on we headed over to the Chinese gardens.
Clearly, an underutilized snorkeling hot spot.
The gardens were nice but they marked the beginning of a bit of a downturn. During the gardens, there seemed to be a lot of self-anointed experts proudly explaining why everything was serene. Not only was that a bit of a zen blocker by itself, but it also reminded me that in real life I live in engineer land. Yay *fizzle*. We took advantage of the tea house before we left. It was good tea.
On the way out, on the sidewalk outside the place, we were sorta swarmed/obstructed by three of Danny Trejo's less charismatic lookalikes. I don't think they were homeless or anything, I think they just wanted to mess with me. Their "leader" started in with all "Hey, can you spare a buck for a cup of coffee?" crud. I said "no", and he and his pals ramped it up, but they let us walk away. Julie tells me tailed us for about a block, but I never looked ('cuz I'm tough, yeah). A happy reminder that, as a highly trained "brain worker", I'm basically impotent in any "real" situation. No fun.
The rest of the evening was a bit...dimmed.
Thursday, The Search for More Cookies
Thursday was today! I passed on the run this morning, but Julie tells me she had an impressive workout.
At some point today, we went for a walk near the river. I can't remember which meals it hit between. They're all starting to run together. That's not important though, the important part is the fountains. Portland has awesome fountains.
I wanted to play too.
Despite all the "Don't Drink the Water" signs, kids played in the fountains, dogs played in the fountains, and the fountains were, in general, just really cool. Here's another fountain.
Where are the kids that should be playing here? At another nearby fountain. There were a lot of awesome fountains.
Here's a neat fact you can tie together with the whole, "don't drink the water" thing.
They treated water back in the fifties? Cool.
They say you're not supposed to drink it because the water is recirculated "to save water", but do they ever say where it's recirculated from? Or do they just let you assume it's from the fountain...
Still, the fountain outside the sewage pumping plant was pretty. Right after I took this, the kids from two pictures ago migrated over to this fountain and played with gusto.
Later we went to Beaverton.
The train station at Beaverton.
We didn't do a lot at Beaverton. Mostly, we were afraid we'd wandered into some weird psychological trap or experiment. There were no retail businesses. Just business parks. Very quiet. Lots of workers, but where did they eat? It got a little weired before we finally guessed right on a turn and found normal town stuff. We did not see a beaver, but they had lots of "ponds of high potential." I think if we had taken more time, we would have found one.
Time to stop. I need to rest up for the the culinary festival tomorrow.