Short blog today since I haven't written in forever and feel the need.
I'm going to skip past most of the Doug and Angela Wedding World Tour 2010 thus far, only saying that we left the day after school let out at 4am and haven't had much time off since until today. Whirlwind trip to Central and Southern California, both were fun, both needed more time. Planes, trains, and automobiles later we are now in Seattle and still just as busy. Which brings me to last weekend.
We had been planning on doing something this weekend, but plans were constantly evolving due to an inability to plan ahead and a broken father-in-law. After many drafts we decided to pack Stitches' sister into the rental and take the drive down to Portland, OR. Twofold reason: One, I've never been and Stitches has only been once briefly. Two, Brother Mike and his family moved to the area six months ago and it was a perfect chance to see them. Motel 6 was kind enough to leave the light on for us and down we went.
We left Seattle around 9:30am and arrived at our digs at 1:30pm or so. Traffic was easy until the bridge at the border (which I swam across, being part Mexican and all). Then we reoriented using maps, cell phone GPS, carrier pigeons, and blind guessing and found our way towards the MAX rail station nearest to us. Portland, you see, has an excellent public transport system. Light rail going in and out of town on a real regular schedule, and an all-zone all-day pass only $4.50 can't be beat. Better than driving around a city we don't know hoping to stumble into a parking garage that won't rob us.
We were into town by three, getting off the rail one stop before we planned on. Why, you ask. Simple, we looked out the window and saw a toy store and, as a group, shouted, "Toy Store!" and rushed for the door. It was fun. As has been my habit this trip I immediately located a sword (technically a light saber)and began threatening inanimate objects. I also found a pirate hat, becoming the dreaded Pirate Jedi, who's awesomeness is only trumped by the feared and extremely rare Ninja Jedi. Stitches bought me shark tattoos. Because I don't have enough of those already.
Once we tired of the shenanigans in the toy store we walked to Pioneer Square, which is where we were planning on getting off the rail anyway. It was close. We were hungry, having not eaten real food all day (contrary to popular belief Cheese-Its are not real food) and to what did our wandering eyes did appear? Street Meat! I first discovered this when I went to New York and now get it whenever I get a chance. A hot dog from some guy's cart on the side of the road? Yes please. We both got brats with sauerkraut, yum yum. Then it was off on an adventure. City hiking!
First stop? Chocolatier. Of course. Mmm, you want five dollars for a Kiss-sized piece of chocolate shaped like a mouse? Nice try. But they are neat looking. Then we went into a space shop that was pretty neat. I was attracted to a blend called Pirate's Bite. As soon as I picked it up the very very skinny lady behind the counter proudly assured me that it was the hottest thing they could make in the store. It is a devilish combination of peppers and other spice-like things. It made my tongue hurted. It tasted like burning. So I bought some for Kev.
Stitches' sister wanted to check out a consignment store for new boots, her's were talking, and Stitches used the magic of smart phone to find one. While she went in we saw a used book store across the street. We like used book stores. Oh, if we had only known. This is Powell's. It was not a small store. It was, in fact, the most wonderful place I've ever been in. Four stories. The size of a city block. You need a map and you will still get lost. And you won't care. I want to live inside the store. I quivered and made happy noises for an hour. It was wonderful. I went reverently into their rare books room. There I saw a first edition, second printing of Mark Twain's first novel, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County for $2800. Squee! I held a $300 leather bound copy of Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms. It was autographed. I made a happy noise when I saw that. I love this store.
The rest of the day was more of the same. The next day we met up with Mike, Terra, and their two and a half year-old Kai while Stitches was having Farmer's Market envy fits. She wanted to buy so many things. I see her spending money every weekend there if we lived there, loading us up on fresh veggies and whatnot. It was great to see them and we wandered the market and then down to the Arts and Crafts fair on the waterfront. That was neat, but we just wandered through without looking to closely. How we going to get anything home? But it got hot, which we weren't expecting. So I took off my shirt (it's not a trip unless I take of my shirt in public. Ask anyone.), divested myself of my bandanna and went for a run through the water squirting fountain flush with the sidewalk among children and parents cooling off. I squelched through the rest of the day but it was so worth it.
And here's one of the other things I really liked about Portland: the freaks. Hawaii does not have really freaky people. But the tattooed, dread-locked, hair-dyed, eccentrically dressed masses are out in force. I love that. I miss that. Weird people are so much fun. It means there is a strong music scene, and a strong indy scene, and just a strong freak scene. This makes places more interesting.
But the thing I took away from Portland more than anything else was how shocked I was at how much I enjoyed Portland. I did not expect to have as good a time there as I did. I can't wait to go back. It was surprising in the extreme. The people, the place is so clean, the public transportation is efficient...I really dug it. Blows me away.
(I said short at the outset. Was this short? I can never tell.)