Sunday, July 5, 2015

I heart&soul Portland cont'd

The Rose Garden got a whole post to itself so my chronology is a little screwy now.  Picking up where I left off on Tuesday:
After buying a couple of souvenirs at the gift shop I took the shuttle bus back down to the MAX stop where I'd arrived at Washington Park.  By now it's maybe 5.30 so the sun is still blazing and I'm very hot and hungry, having eaten my spare doughnut ages ago.
I had no specific plan so it was back to strolling and wandering.  I tried going to Lan Su Chinese Gardens but it was almost closed so I saved it for another day.  In the end my wanderings took my again across the river - part of it was I just wanted to ride the streetcar across the river again and part of it was I wanted to find something nice to eat in SE Portland.  
Portland = NE, SE, NW, SW and the mysterious 5th quadrant, N.  The Willamette River divides E and W.  Burnside, a main street that connects across the river via the Burnside Bridge, divides N and S.
Don't ask me how they came up with a 5th one.
West of the river is a bit more cityish, with the area known as Downtown located in the SW.  Although I swear half of it is in the NW so how can it still be downtown? Anyway.  East of the river is - well, it's the Brooklyn to the West's Manhattan.  If I try for a written description I'll misrepresent it.  I will say things seem to be organised by streets, not by neighbourhoods.  For example, Hawthorne is a street in SE Portland and it's lined with great eateries, bars, shops and also a highly rated hostel.  It's a hip street.  It's also a long street.  I learned this fairly quickly - if something is on Hawthorne, getting onto Hawthorne Street alone will not help you because it could be 60 blocks along Hawthorne from where you currently are.  There are buses, you will need them.
Cityogaphy lesson over - I went across the river, went down to Hawthorne and walked along it until I found...a MIRACLE

I've mentioned somewhere that Portland is famous for food trucks.  They are not kidding around with their street food industry.  It's bloody fantastic.  They are found all over the city, literally all over, often in groups known as pods.  And what I stumbled upon was a food truck pod.  They were grouped around a central area filled with picnic benches, covered by a canopy and strung with lights.  See? Not kidding around.  It's like walking into a very peaceful miniature fair or festival of some kind.  
I got peanut butter and jelly fries, from Potato Champion.  You heard me.  Peanut satay sauce and chipotle raspberry sauce over french fries.  Sounds insane, tastes frickin great.  Now I have eaten a peanut butter burger and pb&j fries.  I think I'm done.
Then I got a lavender and honey milkshake which spurred me onto new heights of superlative which was kind of a theme of this whole trip.
PB&J&F
Fully satisfied and in a delicious haze of tiredness, sundrenchedness and peace to all mankind, I took the bus all the way down to my lodgings.  Here's Justin's back garden, with terrace, fire pit, washing lines and the hammocks of two guys who had cycled FROM IDAHO it's an adjoining state but still it's like 500 miles.  Fair play guys.






I came home to a pretty full house and spent a pleasant evening chatting with the Idaho cyclists who were newly arrived, Jazmin, Justin and a couple of Canadians who it turned out had been there the whole time I just hadn't seen them yet.
And then I slept a great sleep - I was on a mattress pad, on the floor, using my duffel as a pillow and my scarf as a duvet but know what? One's haven at the end of a long day of new experiences could be a cardboard box and one would still be as comfortable as if it were a four poster feather bed.

Said Heidi as she fell asleep on her mattress of straw...oh Lord.

                                                                         
WEDNESDAY MORNING
Woke up relatively early...err...10...and headed out with vague ideas about walking along the river, which is right near Justin's house.
Portland's suburbs are something else.  Every house is different, many are brightly painted and almost all have lush growing things all around.  90% of them also have something in front of them that is community-minded - water and treat bowls for passing dogs, packs of seeds for whosoever would like one, books, and as you can see below, poems, hand built children's play houses and tea.  When you hear 'suburbs' you don't generally think of whimsy but that's what these suburbs have.











I stopped to take a picture of this house because it was charmingly ramshackle and looked propped up, with a pleasingly random collection of things in the window.  After I took the picture I noticed a grey bearded man sitting up on the top right so I raised my hand and gave him a nod, to which he responded by sitting forward in his chair and waving enthusiastically over his head.  Like, WAVING.
I was giving it the polite nod and small wave and he just went straight for best friendship.
Good grief I love Portland.

And so on with Wednesday...............

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