Ah, the sad fact of blogging is that, the more interesting my life is, the less likely I am to write about it. Here’s how my past five days have gone:
Friday: Pack my Chevy Metro full of snacks and my iPod full of audiobooks, then drive out of Colorado and most of the Wyoming east to west. Sleep in the Metro in a tiny, truck-filled parking area by the side of I-80.
Saturday: Drive all day, across a sliver of Utah and into Idaho, while listening to Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Lullabye. Check into a Super 8 motel, which feels incredibly luxurious after the I-80 parking lot. Toss and turn through some very strange dreams. (Chuck Palahniuk can do that to a girl.)
Sunday: Visit Twin Falls, Idaho’s main attraction, Shoshone Falls. I’ve seen these waterfalls before, about ten years ago, when I was in Twin Falls for a college theatre conference. I think I’m more impressed now. I take lots of pictures and squash a souvenir penny before hitting the road again. Gaining an hour as I pass into the Pacific time zone, I pull up to my house (for this week) in Portland at 9:30pm. To my slight surprise, the roommates I found on Craig’s List do not kill me, roast me, and crunch my bones. Instead, they welcome me to Oregon.
Monday: I spend most of the day recovering from my drive (sleeping in) and sitting in a lovely mom-and-pop coffee shop, The Fine Grind, using their internet connection to plan the rest of my trip. I spend the evening drinking terrible beer with my four new roommates, all of whom have moved to Portland within the last month. I hear about their home states (Minnesota and Virginia), their plans, their job searches, and the best and worst things they’ve learned about Portland so far. I’m thinking this is much better than Super 8 motel.
Tuesday: Walking tours of downtown, two of them, about five hours worth, with two hours between—plenty of time for me to get lost on the busses and trains. I come home knowing all about Shanghai-ing and why this place is called Stumptown. I’m also wondering how the tour guide, who was the same bubbly young woman for both tours, can still stand up. I fall asleep, exhausted, at 7pm.
Wednesday: Now I’m at Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which my roommates tell me is Portland’s official coffee shop. (The tour guide told me yesterday that this place is called “Stumptown” because huge forests were chopped down to build Portland, so many trees that it wasn’t worth the trouble to dig out all of the stumps, so they just build on top of them. It’s kind of a graveyard for trees. Still, it’s lush and beautiful. I kinda like what they made of the place.) I don’t like this place as much as I did The Fine Grind. The music here is loud, hair-band rock, as opposed to The Fine Grind’s acoustic folk, and all of the people here so far, in front of the counter and behind it, stare vaguely at me as if they haven’t had their coffee yet today. Still, they roast their own coffee here, and the aroma is wonderful. There’s a spot near the counter where one can watch the coffee roasting while giant mixer arms stir the beans. I suppose this place just isn’t my style. It’s mostly the music.
My most exciting plan today is to do lunch with Ted, an old, dear friend of my relatively new, dear friend, Brian. Brian and Ted both hail from Saint Cloud, Minnesota, but Brian ended up in Boulder and Ted ended up in Portland. I’ve met Ted twice when he came out to Colorado to visit, and now I think everyone in the world must have a crush on Ted. It’s not just me. My happily married friends moon over him. Brian seems to have a heterosexual man-crush on him, as do a couple of other guys we’ve hung out with. Ted just has that effect on people. I imagine Ted’s lovely wife has a crush on him, too, and having met her once, I’m convinced that she matches him. So, no need to be flustered and girly. I just get to do lunch with a guy who makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy. That, and I get to ask a long-time Portland resident what I should go see, and what it’s like to really live here. I think that’s my favorite part of tourism: sampling different lives. How would a Portland-dwelling Anita be different from a Denver/Boulder-dwelling Anita?
I hope to blog more soon. I have tons of pictures from yesterday, alone, but I’m not sure just now where I packed the cable that lets me upload them to my computer. I have several thoughts to blog about, like why I’ve left Colorado just now, and the marvelous souvenir I got from Portland’s famous Voodoo Donuts, (I think it’s the beginning of a beautiful collection!) but all of that may have to wait until later in the trip—maybe sometime when the place I’m staying at has an internet connection, and I don’t have to endure hair-band shouting as I blog. More exciting entries are coming soon, I promise!