More Portland

Portland has been a vacation, a chance to relax and recuperate after all the traveling and the dissertation. There’s something innately soothing for me about this city. Maybe it’s all the trees – Portland is the greenest city I’ve ever encountered. They take their urban planning very seriously here, and the city’s motto is “The city that works”. That means lots of parks, lots of trees, and lots of opportunities inside and close by the city for getting away and into nature. Yes, that’s it – both in its people and places, Portland is a natural place.

It also helps to see how readily oddballs are accepted here. And not just accepted, but they’re a source of pride. Being cool means being different. Of course if everyone is different, then being different becomes the norm, but somehow I’m willing to forgive the conceit. Probably because there’s room for all kinds of people, even those who aren’t cool. Speaking of which, Portland’s “fashion” set have a very specific look – not necessarily in terms of specific attire, but in the tone that clothing and hair and piercings and tattoos convey. It’s such a visually interesting city. And not just the people, but also the streets and buildings. I’ve been making photographs, but so far I feel like I’ve been inadequate to the task. To do the job properly would mean moving out of vacation mode, and I right now it feels like resting should take priority. If you’ve been following along, then you know just how intense the past few months of been. A breather is necessary, I think.

So what have I been doing with my time? Well, I briefly mentioned my visit to Powell’s. That’s such a fun place – so easy to get lost among all the books. It’s also a fantastic place to people watch and eavesdrop on conversations!. I’ve also moved to my friends Jeff and Kathy’s house for a couple of days, so that I can visit with them. They’re a genuinely nice couple who I lived with for a couple of months when I first moved to Portland.

Yesterday, we went to the Farmer’s Market in downtown Portland. Talk about an excellent place for people watching! I had a huge grin on my face as I watched Portland swirl around me. I’d forgotten how quirky this city was, and the farmer’s market was a fun way to be reminded of it. I also helped Jeff with his home brewing. Over the past two years, he’s really gotten into making his own beer, and he’s very good at it. (I had a Belgian White that he brewed, and it was delicious. One of the best I’ve ever had, and I don’t say that lightly.) In any case, I followed along and helped him out as he started working on an IPA (India Pale Ale). It was fun to watch the process and see what’s involved in making six gallons of beer. He’s got another 20 gallons of beer brewing – open any closet in the house and you’re likely to see a big container of beer-in-the-process-of-being-made. I’ve also made pictures of the beer-making, but I don’t know how exciting they are.

Today, Jeff and I are going hiking, which I’m looking forward to. It’s been so long since I’ve been on a proper hike, and Portland has some of the best hiking. But first… home-made waffles! With bananas and raspberries!

P.S. A sample of images below. I’ll try and organize a slideshow soon.

Portland 49 Portland 70 portland 79
Portland 90 portland 97 Portland 26 Portland 39
portland 103 Portland 65 Portland 22

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~ by Samer on September 23, 2007.

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