October 13, 2022

PORTLAND DAY 2: taking a Powelling

Day 2 of West Coast time. It's very easy to wake up at the crack of dawn, considering we'd essentially flown forward in time. But the REAL reason I woke up at 1 AM was because my knees felt like they had become two individual incinerators.

I have never felt that kind of pain before, especially not in my joints. I ended up staggering and huffing my way to the kitchen, rummaging around for ziplocs?-- nope, none-- tupperware containers? Okay cool-- ice in the freezer? A FULL WORKING ICE MAKER, THANK YOU FLIPPER HOUSE.

So I ended up back in bed like this:

So yeah, clearly this was because of the hike yesterday. I'm not a terribly athletic person, but I've definitely handled hikes of that caliber. There are pictures of them on this blog! Colin and I have been going to parks and walking the shit out of them! What happened?! Well, we figured it's something to do with being on a plane for 6 hours and not stretching. I'm taking painkillers and chugging water to move my lactic acid or whatever around.

At this moment I'm feeling very stupid and pathetic, and also upset that this might ruin my ability to experience Portland. I'm especially upset that it might mean I'll miss out on chicken and waffles.

But I got waffles brought to ME.


I have never been inside you, but I love you. Delicious, pounded-flat fried chicken. INSANE amount of syrup. Paper to-go containers. That waffle was sweet potato gingerbread. Nothing could have made me happier to eat with my bare hands. You are my sun and stars. You saved me. I'm only here because of you.

By noon, after showering and drying my hair on the bathroom floor, I finally feel capable of staying on my feet without feeling like my legs are made of birch bark. I'm given some arnica gel and a knee wrap and I'm praying like a maniac that I can survive tagging along on the fun stuff.

First, Jaq took us to an outdoor equipment store that she was excited about. They had some pretty good deals, and a thrift store in the basement!

Like I said: I tend to be more into the look of outdoorsiness rather than the function of it. I am not a fan of slick synthetic thermal/rain-resistant/tech fabrics. I don't camp enough to justify buying a collapsible cup. Basically what I'm saying is that there wasn't much here for me. But it was neat seeing my sister act like a kid in a candy store, and the decor was pretty damn fun. I didn't even take pictures of the pop culture murals in the basement...

At one point an employee checked in with us and I just could not compute that someone that informal and alive-sounding was really on the job. Everyone is so young and god damn hip here.

Are those... children's lederhosen? But where are the children...


If I need a camping thing, this seems like a very fun place to shop.

Great store name #1.

As we were walking out of Next Adv., some brand reps started wheeling in a wagon full of seltezers or something? Amir apparently loudly said "I wonder what [brand] is all about!!" so they handed him some. It tasted like grape cough medicine.

We hung out on the corner, sipping this ill-conceived product and deciding what to do next. A guy in his underwear who seemed to be tweaking walked toward us, drawing dots on himself with something that looked like charcoal or an ink cartridge. We all just kinda watched as he stooped to put dots on the sidewalk leading to my brother's leg, haha. He moved and the guy just kept drawing where he stood. I traced the path here:

One thing you notice immediately about Portland is that the homeless people around here have really nice tents. In Ohio you mainly see people having to lean against doorways and stuff. I also heard that Portland has fewer shelters, though.

Girl eating lunch in an empty lot.

Don't know what this is, but I like it.

Next we went to Powell's Books! THEY ARE NOT KIDDING ABOUT BEING THE BIGGEST. And I've been to the Book Loft!

I didn't take any photos of the majesty of the place, but basically it's a big wood-orange subway station of a place, with tall bookshelves (I'm talking 3 or 4 shelves taller than I can reach), taller ceilings, and a color system so you know which freakin' room you're in. As soon as I walked up to the new arrivals table, a very stereotypically effeminate-London-posh-looking old man came up next to me and clutched his scarf like there was a gust in there, haha... amazing.

Once I got my bearings, I made a beeline for the German stuff. The travel section was mostly outdated destination books. But the LANGUAGE section... Holy shit I was not prepared for this.


I just about peed.

Oopsie. I was so excited I failed to get a stable shot of Nana's note.

I thought about a few of them, namely a fat medical book that cost like $75, and a couple fiction books written in the 70s that were somehow both middlingly-reviewed as being weird about women. At some point the Londoner guy came around and spoke to an employee in the exact cartoonish "yes, yes, no patience for fools" kinda way you'd expect. Another coupla guys showed up later that sounded like working class bros, but they were crazy excited about Faust.

Ultimately, I walked away with the paper airplane book and a German copy of Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries. They only cost me $10! That's partly restraint, and partly that I was the only one of our party still browsing after 40 minutes. If I had a ladder and more time, I bet I coulda found at least one more gem.

Dad asked how well I can read German, and I told him I could understand the gist of most books because I read at a 7-year-old's level. Then he said "I got a book written at a 7-year-old's level" and pulled out a Mike Tyson biography. Oh my god.



After THAT high, we headed to the Japanese Garden. But we don't plan good, so we got there just as they were closing. You know what was free, though? The Hoyt Arboretum. Mother Nature's tree museum.

Did you know that Redwood bark is squishy? It's like poking a steak made of wood pulp.

Apparently people do weddings and stuff out here, and there was even a bride awkwardly abandoned by her photographer on the trail. That or she was a frail mimic hoping to catch a lone elderly person. Either way, great location for that.


We only walked one trail, but it looked pretty sweet.

Next we went to the Rose Garden! The lead-up to the garden was a tennis court wrapped in roses, which made for some extremely fucking sexy landscaping.

Honestly the whole place was very nicely laid-out. If you're a rose fan, this place is for you. If you're looking for anything else, maybe not. But the fun part here was that we all started smelling them and comparing faves. A lot of them felt engineered to smell how they look-- light-sweet, dark-intense-classic, pink-powdery.

Gotta watch out for bees bathing in the pollen, though.

My personal faves.


Roses are less fun than trees, but my grandma got a kick out of the pics.

Then we swung by the Pittock House, which belonged to some rich Portland guy.

This is where it matters who you go vacationing with-- if I was with Colin, we would have gotten the tour and spent an hour in there learning why this guy and his family were important. But because my family isn't Colin, we just walked around to the backyard and checked out the skyline for a few minutes.

To be fair: it's a nice skyline. It was also a weirdly crowded spot? Just people sitting on the benches and chilling. There was a guy near the benches playing what sounded like Indian music from his pocket.


No idea what's in it.

I looked down and read "Li'l Caprice drove by here about 5 years ago" in a fake-excited voice. Jaq nodded and laughed. It was later revealed that neither of us know who Li'l Caprice is.

Jaq frequently bemoans the lack of classic suburban Tex-Mex choices in Portland, so I was a little concerned when she chose Matador for dinner. And yeah, it's got some twists that are a bit off the theme compared to what we're used to. But they have some pretty yummy carnitas. It comes with sheets of red pepper to put on your tortillas, oh man... also their house salsa is really garlicky and good, chimichurri-y, and I need the recipe.

My other sister and her boyf sat by the window, which would eventually have a very perturbed bald man at the table outside it. The guy stupidly (or generously?) decided to text with his back to the window, so they could read what he was texting. APPARENTLY he was having a domestic dispute-- his ladyfriend was texting him appeasing cutesy shit like "I love yoouuu" while he kept responding with stuff like "Pay the bills you owe. Why is there a weird car in the driveway. Do better or this can't work." Godspeed to him, I guess...?


Loved the decor and atmosphere. I liked what I got, but I wasn't envious of anyone else's plate. They put queso on street tacos, of all things. I usually love street tacos...

For dessert, we stopped at my new favorite ice cream chain, Salt & Straw. This shit is extremely my jam.

So, first thing: I notice on their menu that they charge 50 cents for perfume. Which is listed for 0 calories. Because it goes on your ice cream.

These guys partnered with Imaginary Authors to do culinary scents-- edible perfume to enhance your experience. They come in Floral, Citrus, and Cocoa. I... really wish I knew how to use these. They don't taste like much of anything on their own. Kinda stings when you spray it on your tongue. Really stings when you spray it on your tongue the fourth time to scare your sister.

They also had these INCREDIBLE twee forest animal and monster paintings that could have come straight out of 2008. Remember when everyone just fucking loved yetis for some reason. PORTLAND!!!

They ALSO. Had a bunch of wild flavors for Halloween. Some of them sounded virtually impossible to stomach for a whole cone (Licorice? Humans don't actually eat that. Bubble gum pieces?? I HOPE people don't eat that), but when I heard they had a flavor with real bugs in it, I knew I had to get a sample spoon. It was good ice cream! I felt at least one bug.

Ultimately, though, I bought a scoop of chocolate brownie with a floral perfume on it. Very neat experience, kinda luxurious. Plus their brownies tasted even better than in my favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor! A perfect fun + food experience. Loved this as a bookend to a packed day.


Whimsical, tastes great, has amazing stupid ideas like ice cream perfume. I'd be willing to trade Jeni's for this.