Vacation – Day 7!

Day 7 – We are now in Portland!

After a short drive from Newport, we arrived in Portland this afternoon at 2:00. Did you know Portland is bisected by a river and has many bridges? I didn’t know that, but it’s true.

We took the light rail into downtown (very convenient from the motel) and met Stella at the enormous, overwhelmingly cool Powell’s Books (a whole city block of new and used books!). Erik got some music books and I a couple of drawing manuals, and then we went out in search for dinner. We found very yummy food (and a super-spicy chile masquerading as a green bell pepper… that was painful) at an Ethiopian place, and then we headed to Cacao and kind of exploded our heads with chocolate.

Cacao was beautiful and full of all kinds of chocolate from all over the world, mostly single-origin darks. You could sample whatever you wanted, so Stella requested three dark milk chocolates, and we sat and tasted. I also ordered a wonderful iced dark drinking chocolate, which tasted like eating a really good dark chocolate bar without having to chew it. It was lovely, and surprisingly not diluted at all (there wasn’t actually any ice in it, so I’m not sure how they got it cold, but it was great).

So far Portland is interesting; I think it might be the first time in years that I’ve visited a big city that I’ve never ever been to before. We were sitting on the light rail and Erik remarked on how clean everyone looks here, and it’s true. At first I speculated that it had something to do with hair (no one seems to do anything to their hair here, as opposed to LA where every head seems to be bleached or highlighted or in some other way carefully maintained), but that’s not the only thing. Eventually we decided it might just be that the air here seems very clear, and people don’t wear much makeup or bling out their outfits — or of course do much to their hair — whereas in LA the air is full of particulates and so everyone might actually be dirtier, in addition to putting a lot more stuff on their skin and their person. But I still think there might be something else at work here; people in Berkeley, SF, and San Jose don’t radiate cleanliness in the same kind of way, and the air virtually anywhere in the US is cleaner than in LA… so… what is it about Portland? Or is it just that most people are so white…? I have no idea. I promise I will continue to study everyone in Portland to try and figure it out. 😉

It has been twelve years since I last saw Stella, and back then we called her Kate:

1996 Crater Lake group

It’s so heartening to meet up again with a kindred spirit from a long time ago and still feel the same connection. We’ve kept track of each other in recent years through our blogs and flickrs, so I didn’t have any doubt that I would recognize her when we met, or that we’d be able to talk and enjoy each other’s company. I had a lot of fun spending the evening with Stella and I’m so glad she was free to hang out!

Good times indeed.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]