Sunday, July 27, 2014

Day....F**k this, Portland Sucked and We Left Early

We spent a total of one and a half days in Portland, Oregon. That was long enough to know that the city's aura did not get along with mine. Every city has it's own energy and vibe, and in Portland I felt anxious and attacked - no matter where we went or what we did.

It's one thing to see homeless wandering downtown Seattle - they eventually move along. It's quite another to see entire encampments lining all major roads - complete with shopping carts, tents, and sleeping bags. Especially when they're all parked right there near the sidewalk and eyeing you with contempt as you're just strolling along.

The first afternoon in Portland, we settled into our little pink IKEA shack and then wandered around the neighborhood. A multitude of bars, some food carts that were closed down, and some fancy vegan places. Not many appealing food choices. The streets were also quite busy.

After the initial rain, the sun came back out and temps reached 93 degrees. IKEA piggy did not have A/C of any kind and we pretty much roasted to death our first night.

It was the next day, as we struggled to maneuver around Miss Piggy that we realized how many design flaws she had. The "stadder" as we so lovingly referred it - was neither stairs nor a ladder but a ridiculous combination of both leading the loft bed. A standard ladder would have been MUCH easier to ascend, but there was also PLENTY of room to extend the whole structure and put in a proper staircase.

Several of the light switches didn't work, the bathroom door didn't close all the way, and the sink was really wonky and so shallow that water just sprayed right out of it.

I mean, it was cute and had it's charms - but poor designing and the cheapness made it feel like our host bought the house kit from IKEA and then just painted it pink for fun. And maybe we wouldn't have disliked it so much if it wasn't for the heat and the poor vibe of the city itself but....

It is what it is.

We did get some enjoyment out of the place though. It was easy to locate the few sights I had in mine, seeing as they were all on the same street. It was a fair jaunt to Powell's Books but totally worth it. We're talking several floors containing rooms filled with nothing but books. A book city! I could explore that cavernous wonderland for days....

And though it took a fair amount of searching and gratuitous use of the computer to locate certain sections - I managed to complete my "Ink" book collection. Quite a while back, I came across a used paperback copy of Inkheart. This is a hard book to track down, so there was no way I could pass up on the $4 offer I'd unearthed. Since then, I'd been on the lookout for both Inkspell and Inkdeath - I NEEDED all of it.

And I found it. Both in hardcover edition, gently used, and cheap. :)

I also tossed a Pagan book of prayers into my purchase pile and walked out a very happy camper.

We stopped for lunch at Noodles and Co. then stopped for dessert at Voodoo Doughnuts. Now, if I'd been smart - I would have skipped the main tourist location (and hence the long line in the hot sun) and gone directly to the second location. But no. We ended up with a box of randomly assorted doughnuts - several of which we didn't eat. But I'm never going to pass up on a pastry with bubblegum flavored icing.

The only comforting locale we stopped in was a little ice cream shop - Ruby Jewel Scoops - if I recall it, that was just down the street from the IKEA hovel. They had the most delicious honey lavender ice cream. I ended up chowing down on two messy scoops packed into a waffle cone. Fucking lovely, pardon my French.

The next morning, we left for home. It was a HOT drive through eastern Washington and Montana, and the A/C could not keep up. We made it back to MN the next afternoon after continuous driving and honestly - I was glad to be back.

That's really all I have left to say on the matter - I took several photos, which will be posted up eventually. I'm just too.....blargh to bother right now.


  1. Cities make me feel nervous, the big busy main bits, anyway, where everyone is in a hurry and grumpy, all the public transport is packed and people give you dirty looks for sitting next to them and having a huge bag. I like the smaller, more bohemian areas with little old houses and loads of cafes.

    Ah, I hate stairs without risers, always think I will somehow hurt myself. At least it has a railing! It's a shame when houses look nice outside but are inconvenient though! and as someone who lives in a hot place like Australia, I know how much lack of airco sucks!

    The bookshop sounds fantastic! Huge, cheap prices and pagan books! :)

    I dream of one day trying all the Voodoo doughnuts flavours! So far I have tasted none!

    Mmmm I love all things lavender!

    1. Most of Voodoo's popular doughnuts consist of the ones with bits of breakfast cereal on top or Satanic designs in icing. A novelty sure, but probably not worth the money.

      I suggest making or buy plain doughnuts and then going crazy with decorating on your own. I might totally give that a try. I'd rather make my own maple bacon pastries anyhow. :)

  2. I'm never a big fan of huge cities; I can put up with them for as long as my interest is held by the architecture, but I rapidly feel closed in and surrounded by grime and too many people.

    With the numbers of homeless people and closed shops, it seems like the area must have recently hit some pretty hard economic times. It must be very difficult for the people affected, but it also does not sound very appealing to tourists, which is going to mean there'll be fewer tourists, and therefore less money going into the local economy.

    The stair/ladder thing looks very steep! The sink sounds a real pain; good bathroom facilities are really important in holiday accommodation.

    1. I totally agree with you about putting off tourists, I wonder if that's something Portland has considered in their lack of keeping the streets clean and safe...?

      Yeah, the sink was awkward but thankfully the shower was fantastic and really easy to turn on and off.