Friday, March 18, 2016

Portland, OR vacay: travel day, and 1st day here

It's about 11 AM on Friday, March 18. Thought I would catch up on what I've been up to. I'm a little rusty on writing anything outside of an email, so the prose probably won't pretty -- just the facts, ma'am.

Wednesday I got up and drove straight to mom's house so I could park my car in her driveway. I didn't want to leave my wheels in Manayunk because I'd be taking up a spot for almost a week when parking is at a premium there, plus there was a chance it could get stolen; somebody seeing it in the same spot over the weekend might deduct that I'm out of town.

At my mom's house, I was going to take the bus to the train station, since it's at least a mile away, but my sister's husband, Bill, was next door helping his dad brew some beer (his parents live next door to my mum) and he drove me to the train station.

I got down to the airport in plenty of time. For lunch I had a bacon cheeseburger at Chickie & Pete's. Never ate there before. It was pretty, pretty good.

The flight was supposed to take off at 2:25 PM, but it probably touched off the runway closer to 3. The connecting flight was in Chicago. For dinner I popped in a Wolfgang Pucks and bought a hummus wrap. Never had hummus before -- it was all right . . . tasted healthy.

I landed in Portland around 8 PM PT. Like when I spent a weekend here in September '13 (when I was living in Berkeley, CA), I took the MAX red line. It's a light rail. This time around I bought a weekly transpass for $26. Not too bad, it works on the buses too.

It's about a 45-minute rail ride to my hotel, the Park Lane Suites, in the city centre. I stayed here last time. There's the main building on the one side of the street, and more rooms in a separate building on the other side of the street. I'm in the latter. I just may be in the same room as I was last time, room 227 on the second floor (duh).

Yesterday, Thursday, I slept in a little then went to the Skipping Stone Cafe. It's about a mile from the hotel.

Back in '13 I tried a pancake and a biscuit. They're both huge and I only ate about half of each. This time I got just the pancake.

Crazy thing about Portland, it only costs $3. I still couldn't finish it, though I did get about three-quarters down in my gut.

For the mile trip back to the hotel, I didn't walk too far. I caught the 15 bus, which drops you off a block from the hotel. I didn't have to slide the transpass when I got on -- you just show it to the driver. That's one of the things I love about Portland! Things are simple here.

After showering I hoofed it about a mile from the hotel to Powell's book store. I picked up  a travel guide and a book about moving here, since I'm thinking about it.

I grabbed the 20 bus back to the hotel and for lunch I wandered around looking for a sandwich. I popped in to a nearby supermarket, Fred Meyer, but their sandwiches had too much meat on 'em for my tastes. Before I left security had to escort one customer out of the store. He was a white male, late 40s or in his 50s, about 6'5", bald on the top of his chrome, and he was no more than 20 pounds overweight, though it looked like muscle that had turned to flab. He called one of the Fred Meyers employees a bitch and told her to her job. He seemed a little unhinged. I thought a scuffle might break out 'cause he sounded unnecessarily angry, but he left without incident.

I eventually bought a ham and swiss cheese sandwich at another nearby supermarket. More upscale than Fred Meyers; I think it's called Zanders. It was $5 for a half sandwich. Overpriced, but it was good. I ate it in my room.

After lunch I watched the Manchester United and Liverpool UFEA match.

For dinner I walked a mile to the nearest Qdoba. Yeah, I know I can have their chicken burrito anytime in Philly, but it's soooooo good.

Afterwards I ambled around looking for a sushi place to eat lunch at the next day. One of the busy streets I went down (well, by Portland standards, it was busy -- 10 people on one side of the street) had a closed Subway. Apparently a customer threw a chair (I saw marks in the vertical part the counter) and tried stabbing the cashier. The attacker got away. I was talking to one of the bystanders and wondered if the knifer was the same guy from Fred Meyers this afternoon, but the bystander said the Subway cat was a black guy.

As I was leaving, I saw this same guy as the one outside the Powell's book store in the morning. White guy, he was about 6'3", thin, had piebald hair, was wearing a suit jacket and had, I would guess, at least $300 specs. He had noted my Timbers cap and claimed he had family in Manchester, England and played goalie there for a god awful team.

Anyway, outside of the Subway, he gave one of the bystanders the finger and said that guy was an asshole. I did notice that unlike in the morning he didn't have a leg brace on over his jeans -- you know the kind, goes from groin to ankle, with velcro straps. He still had his guitar case and supermarket cart full of crap and knick-knacks.

I eventually found that sushi place. I think it's the one I went to last time I was here. Then I headed back to the hotel. Really tired. All told I must've walked close to five miles. Plus in the afternoon I picked up some allergy medicine. My hay fever is acting up. When I was here in '13, I went back to California with some allergy where my voice was messed up for weeks. Could have something to do with my broken nose when I got hit by that car on March 1, 2012 and my deviated septum. Hopefully if I keep taking the Walgreen's version of Zyrtec I'll be fine.

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