Impressions of Portland [Guest Blog]

My sister, Kate (aka Slug), was kind enough to add to our blog with her impressions of the Stump, based on a recent trip to the Northwest. We only had two and a half days, which was cut short but my ill-timed flu, but we made the most of it.


So, I have been promising Jeff a Portland visit for the past 2.5 years. I finally did it! Over the Christmas holiday, I flew into Portland and stayed with Jeff and his roommate for a few days. I also brought a little friend of mine – my cat (aka: The Puss). This was her first plane ride and visit in her 16.5 years and she was pretty calm and collected – but don’t mess with her mojo, you hear? Though she loves her uncle Jeff, she found his roommate’s lap to be her Portland choice of comfort. And so it began, Jeff took me out on the proverbial town…showed me around a bit.

Jeff drove me around the different neighborhoods on my first afternoon, showing me such wonders as the bowling alley where Kes’ car was stolen and the 4-corners of artistic embellishments (Sunnyside Piazza, SE 33rd & Yamhill ). We then went to some funky little café (Laughing Planet) where the seats were benches backed up to the wall and cushy pillows hung from the vertical for ‘back’ comfort. This place reminded me of some random, eclectic, funky hot-spot in good old San Francisco…ah, home-sweet-home! Then we walked down the street to enjoy some of Stumptown’s finest grounds – yes, I’m talkin’ ‘bout coffee, man! Seattle may have Stabucks but they have no bragging rights over Portland’s own java delights. So, while we were delicately sipping our coffee-cinos I looked over Jeff’s left shoulder and noticed a woman wearing flip-flops. Now, I know some people are hot-blooded but, really, it was pretty cold and rainy (and I ain’t no wuss – I live in Colorado). Okay, fine, but here is the catch…she was wearing these half-sock things that were all wooly and patterned, allowing only her toes to peek at the world. Thus, they worked magnificently with flip-flops. Being an avid flip-flop wearer myself and always begrudgingly switching to more practical shoes in the winter, I was in love (with the socks, not the woman) . Turns out she got them in Nepal but suggested a few "hippie" shops around town that I might check. I dragged Jeff on my quest but never found them. Ah, well.

Bellies satisfied, we set for home to figure out our next plan of action. A movie at one of Portland’s quaint theaters, perhaps? Well, unfortunately, I had seen everything playing except for some movie about an Irishman falling in love with a Czech girl that Jeff wanted to drag me, Kes, and Olde to. Knowing Jeff’s predilection for the Irish, we thought he might just be a bit biased on the plot. But maybe Olde owes him! Olde suggested an Afghanistan restaurant that none of us had ever tried. After much deliberation and curiosity, we were all game and met there around 7p. Turns out that Afghani food is a cross between Indian and Mediterranean food. This place served free chai (equals good) that was lip-searing hot and needed about 14 packets of sugar (equals bad). Never the less, I think that Olde, Jeff, and I drank about 3-5 cups, each, not realizing how much caffeine was in this stuff. We never made it to a movie but should have because none of the 3 of us chai drinkers could fall asleep…until maybe 4am!

When Jeff and I woke the next day, we found that my furry little friend had not been using her newly appointed litter box, but rather the entire floor space around it. In fact, I don’t think that she managed a single drop in the appropriate place, but she did get her message across. You see, Jeff wasn’t sure what kind of litter to buy her so I told him, "Scent-free and self-clumping". After about 45 minutes in the cat litter aisle and not finding this combo, he settled on a scent-free, non-clumping brand. Didn’t I say not to mess with her mojo? After the mess was cleaned and feelings were hurt (again, we’re sorry, Jeff), we left to meet Olde at the Travel Café. This place is another typical café but untypical in that it has large screens on the walls that played footage of various vacation spots (minus Rick Steves). We had arrived either just in time or seconds too late, as Olde needed to relieve himself but didn’t want to lose our table. Either way, Olde excused himself as soon as we got there.

The 3 of us then embarked on a journey to the Columbia River Gorge region. We did some minor hiking up to a couple of different waterfalls and stopped at a few scenic spots. Olde was kind enough to point out the bridge where some bright guy decided to jump and kill himself last summer (completely accidental, mind you). And then…it was on to view the giant sturgeon, which Olde warned, "…like the epilogue to the Star Wars movie, it might take a few minutes."

Later that evening, I got my first Christmas present from Jeff – a coveted ticket to the Nuggets vs. Blazers game. Now, this was a big night – and not just because it would be 10-in-a-row if the Blazers won, but it was also Sergio Rodriguez bobble-head night. I was excited to see this Jeff-proclaimed (maybe self-proclaimed, we don’t know) gypsy do cartwheels down the court. Jeff told me that I might even get to see him fly. Even though I am a complete Nuggets fan (and was actually told to go back to Colorado by some guys seated behind me), I had a great time. The energy was high and every seat was filled. The Nuggets played a much better game than I had expected, having just played a double-overtime game in Colorado the night before. I guess, if truth be told, Iverson and Anthony played a better game than I thought. I think that the rest of team just sat on the sideline in their warm-ups. Anyway, I was pretty impressed with how Jeff played both sides (being a Nuggets fan for 11 years and only a Blazers fan for 2). He was a mute the whole night. Also making the evening fun, we had started by meeting a Colorado-friend of mine at a downtown sushi bar, where much sushi and a couple of tall Asahi’s only cost us $16 for all 3 of us (my friend’s brother works there). Then Amy joined us for the game.

After the game, Jeff took me to Voodoo Doughnuts, a Portland landmark. This place is open 23 hours a day and has some great and some bizarre flavors of doughnuts. They had one called "Cock and balls" and I can only assume that doughnut holes were involved. He and I ended up sharing the Memphis Maffia which was a giant banana fritter covered in chocolate and peanut butter. I can still feel the sting on my teeth. Although seeing and tasting this place was good, the best part came as we were leaving...two guys were walking into the place together and one of them said aloud, "I want the penis doughnut!" Yes, Portland has a lot to offer!

Jeff and I had plans to visit the Saturday market on it’s last Saturday of the season but with the rain and my brother’s cold, we decided to skip it and just meet up with Olde and Kes at Beaterville Café (notice Portland has A LOT of cafes?). This place has car paraphernalia all over the place with a quarter-car mounted on the outside as a small dining table and hub caps decorating the walls. Another eclectic gem. And this was where I actually witnessed the phenomenon known as "Olde’s random napkin note-taking". I have no idea what ended up on the napkin but I have evidential, photographic proof of this mystery and I have plans to send it to the Discovery Channel.

This about sums up my 2.5 days (1 day per year that Jeff has been there) in Portland. Needless to say, I have to get back there soon. We had a few plans that didn’t quite happen because Jeff was sick, but that gives me just one more reason to plan another visit (that and maybe the hopefulness of better weather).


Pork said...

Good job Sluggie. Maybe a move is in order in the not too distant future????

Oldie said...

The napkin read:

"wu-tang/get mice/snow chains/george dubya stress ball"

I have no idea what these tidbits refer to.

It was good having you out for the visit...we'll have to head to Denver soon, as some Brazilian food sure is calling my name.

Pork said...

Ahhhhhhh, Brazilian food! We should all show up on Slugs doorstep together, with reservations at Cafe Brazil. "wu-tang"??????

Sleeping Crow said...

Hey, that cat looks like the pope! What's going on here?

- Not the Pope

Sluggy said...

If the cat was religious, she'd be the Pope. She's already a princess!

Oldie - bring it on out here - you guys always have a place. Cafe Brazil is waiting for the likes of you!

Anonymous said...

Yah a trip is definately in order but during the warm months...no?