Tuesday, December 8, 2009
a weekend in portland
i was thrilled to hear that so many of you stole a few moments for yourself this weekend! as you might have guessed from the last post, i was in the mood for some time to myself, too. so i took my own advice, hopped on an aerial dart and aimed for portland, oregon. i've tried to get there for years. i had landed on san francisco about a dozen times and seattle no fewer than forty, but my lack of precision in previous lives kept oregon a missing piece in my puzzle of travels. this time i hit the mark. when i dusted myself off from the landing, waiting for me at the gate was none other than the fabulous inner toddler, fresh off a plane from san francisco.
i knew i'd adore susie to pieces from the day i discovered her blog, and of course i did. we're at the same point in our lives, our art, our parenting, our outlook on life, pretty much everything. we both needed a break sans enfants. we had sweet husbands able and willing to take the weekend shift. neither of us had been to portland. it was a no-brainer. we booked without a second thought and off we went.
we spent very little time discussing bloggy stuff - we had too much else to talk about. the conversation topics never ran out, and for me that is a rare thing, because like her (as you'll read in her post) i'm rather an introvert in person and have a hard time spending a full day with others without having to take big naps in between to recharge. but the weekend just flew by and before i knew it, it was time to come home. she was just effortless to be around and made me laugh in person just as much as she does on her blog.
friday night we went to lincoln on north williams, owned by susie's friend jenn and her husband david. if you are in portland GO HERE. the food is amazing and they run an impeccable show, not to mention they are just wonderful people. i can't believe i didn't get any pictures of it.
saturday we spent exploring the city. portland is divided into quadrants which makes it very easy to figure out where you're going. public transportation here is spectacular! you can get anywhere on the train or the bus for next to nothing. we only took one taxi, and that was simply because we were too lazy at the end of the day to look up which bus we should take. one of the cab drivers was so over the top that it was fully worth the fare there and back. more on that in the next post.
we stayed at the hotel monaco in downtown portland. i stayed at the monaco in san francisco for work once upon a time and loved it. so i knew i'd love this one, too - and it did not disappoint. a very groovy, funky little hotel.
portland is super canine-friendly. dogs are everywhere, even in the hotels. here's the doggie welcome sign in the monaco lobby. the staff even provides beds and amenities for them.
peet's is as ubiquitous on the west coast as starbucks is nationwide, but it's always a treat for me.
the obligatory feet/street shot. we walked like maniacs around portland.
we spent a long time at the saturday market along the riverfront.
we each got a handmade sweater from the lovely lizzy of shabby knapsack. she makes gorgeous skirts, armwarmers, legwarmers - loved it all.
on the left is susie's cute red bag which i wanted to swipe but didn't. the artists in these booths were die-hards - it was freezing. they are there every saturday for most of the year.
it was sunny and that kept us trucking along.
i felt so jane of spain daily when i found this lovely couple sitting next to the river. susie and i are huge admirers of jane's extraordinary ability to capture people going about their daily lives. i was ready to start a portland daily blog.
it was but a momentary stroke of luck. after that i reverted to taking shots of trash haulers. i guess i'll stick to objects.
every local ordered us to get to powell's bookstore and we quickly found out why. it's at least three floors and takes up an entire city block. they give you a map so you won't get lost. we still got lost.
portland has a huge zine scene and powell's has an entire magazine section devoted to them. i spent a good chunk of my time in this spot. so many cool zines!
we wandered off to chinatown for lunch.
we would have never found chen's good taste without the recommendation of two locals. it has a very unassuming storefront with outstanding food. we both ordered the noodle soup, rice stick and fun. the fun arrived about fifteen minutes later when two of the restaurant workers hauled an entire pig into the restaurant and put it on the table next to us where it sat and "watched" us eat for a few minutes. watched is in quotes because that pig was no longer with the living. they put a christmas bow on the poor thing's head and hauled it back out the door, apparently a gift for someone. that probably just horrified the vegetarian readers but it was too absurd a scene not to mention. we decided we were ready to go after that.
we checked out the pearl district after that, peeked in art galleries, wandered in and out of shops, and retreated from the cold with fat mugs of hot chocolate.
so this is how we spent our weekend, bouncing like little human pinballs from coffee shops to boutiques to art galleries to stores, not really planning anything but just taking each moment as it came. best of all, and sorry to get sappy here, this trip turned another blogpal friendship into a real one. thumbs up to recharging, thumbs up to portland, thumbs up to sweet, dear, funny inner toddler susie, and thumbs up to all the super blog pals i've met this year.
in the next post: a corner view of our saturday evening in portland. i know this was a long one, so thanks for reading to the finish - and thank you susie for a terrific weekend!