Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Portland Vacation: Day 1

Portland! We had finally arrived in Portland, one of my favourite American cities. Portland, the city where people in their twenties go to retire. Portland, where the dream of the 90s is still alive.

This is what I'm talking about.

Or maybe we're talking about the 1890s

Contrary to the impression I've probably given so far, I have actually visited Portland before and know stuff about it beyond the TV show Portlandia.  I remember visiting family friends there as a teen, and posing beside the giant Nike icon on the Nike campus, and five years ago, I took the train down from Vancouver to explore the City of Coolness.  I was happy to be back here again.

Portland is so cool. I feel like everything that is cool to us now started in Portland: the organic local farm food movement, food trucks, coffee, microbrewery beers, hipster beards, craft fairs, silkscreened baby onesies, certain fonts and graphic design styles. Maybe not all the cool trends started in Portland, but they certainly all thrive there.

Take this as an example. When our taxi pulled up to the curb at our hotel the Sentinel, there was loud club music coming out of the hotel, as well as a lineup wrapped around the block behind a velvet rope. Turns out the bar at our hotel, Jackknife, happened to be one of the most happening hotspot on a Saturday night in the city. Unlike the places where I usually spend my time, we were in the centre of coolness.

The lovely Sentinel Hotel

Look at all the cute kitschy things the hotel has, just in the lobby alone

food trucks!


When I woke up, I was so excited to be in the city that I decided to go for a run, taking in the sights of the city along the way.


 South Park

Tree art

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

As I jogged along the river, I was so enthralled with the waterfront scenery that I didn't notice my hotel key card had fallen out of my pocket.  A gentleman passerby saw it drop and tried to get my attention. "Miss!" he called out.

I kept jogging down the path.

He began to run after me. "Miss! Miss!"

I pulled out a camera and began to take photos, composing a love poem to Portland in my mind. It wasn't that I was ignoring him or running away from him because I thought he was creepy. I was just lost in thought.


Eventually I tuned back in to realize that he had followed me down the whole path just to return my hotel card. I thanked him but he was too out of breath to respond.

People are really nice in Portland.

 Portland is also ready to meet your spiritual needs

Then I found palm trees!

Portland palm trees

Back at the hotel, we decided to properly start the day off with the three dollar mimosas offered at Jake's Grill.

the price is right

I love the old-timey look of this bar

We were looking forward to checking out the famous brunch scene in Portland, but for that morning, we thought we'd check out the Saturday Market and eat there.  It was actually Sunday, but luckily the Saturday Market is not actually restricted to just Saturdays.  

There was all sorts of food available, including nepalese, Polish, Thai...I ended up buying a Mexican pupusa which was delicious with homemade pineapple juice. Fruit! How I missed fresh fruit.

 When people in Nunavut visit Portland...

We passed by the famous Voodoo Donuts, which also had a lineup around the block. That seems to be the theme for Portland: "Waiting In Line For An Hour For Food". We didn't, though.

Instead, for the evening, we decided to check out the Portland City Grill, located in a tall skyscraper with tasty dishes which were luckily cheap during happy hour.

I love that Portland is all about the happy hour. The idea, I guess, is to offer food and drinks at a cheap price during the slow hours of the restaurants and bars. Because I am not that cool (and maybe not cool enough for Portland), I am more than happy to munch away at the unhip hour of 5PM in the afternoon if it means the plates are at half price.  Then I can order everything off the menu (and end up spending more money than if I ate during Unhappy Hour instead).

But really, we were here for the spectacular view.

It was so lovely to have a drink and watch the sun go down over the whole city.

Portland, I'm going to love you.

Continue on to Day 2 here
You can also read about Day 3 here