September 28, 2011

Portland Day 1 and 2

Friday, John took me to the train depot (thank goodness) and I got there 20 minutes before boarding.  The incoming train was late so I was there in more than enough time.  I couldn’t wait to get on board; Amtrak just introduced free wifi on their trains.  Due to the long travel time of 4 hours, I knew I’d want to use the internet.  We boarded on a double decker train; the seats were roomy and spacious.  You could almost lie all the way down and they had a place that popped up under your calves.  I got out the laptop and started looking for a signal.  Nothing was working.  The girl beside was doing the same and she wasn’t getting a signal.  We continued to pursue any options available but everything was password protected.  Then someone came over the intercom and announced that our train didn’t have wifi capabilities.  I was not very happy but at least I wasn’t going to be on there for 36 hours like the people going to LA.  I found other means to entertain myself.

Sarah picked me up at the train depot in Portland.  It was so hot there!  I was burning up after being in the freezing train for four hours.  We went back to her apartment for me to get settled in.  Then we headed out to Trader Joes so I could pick up some breakfast foods and to get Matt a few surprises.  I used to be the one that was obsessed with TJ’s and now he is too.  Haha.  I love it.  Next stop was the food carts.  Food carts are very popular in Portland and I love supporting them.  I opted for a squid sandwich at Euro Trash which was fried calamari with horseradish slaw on a baguette. 

 It was delightful.  I gobbled that down and we went back to her place again to chill.  I was so tired on my vacation it seems.  My body never caught up with the time change.  Sarah and I watched some tv shows (which is a treat in itself since I don’t have cable) and caught up on stories and what’s been happening in our life.  Later on, we went out to Cha Cha Cha’s which was a mexican restaurant with some great vegan/vegetarian choices.  I ordered the Cha Bowl with tempah.  It had greens, black beans, guacamole, chipotle tempeh, and other goodies.  The tempeh was just so-so.  I also ordered a guava margarita which was yummy.  I have been craving guava lately.  I’ve only had fresh guava fruit in Fiji and the season was short and limited in Rakiraki where I lived.  You can get guava juice in supermarkets but I’ve never seen the fruit.  We ended the night with some frozen yogurt at Swirl.  It seems that the self-serve frozen yogurt business has taken off everywhere.  They didn’t have the brownie batter flavor that I love but the chocolate and peanut butter was good too.

Saturday, we went to the Portland State University Farmer’s Market.  This was Sarah’s first time going as well.  It was definitely the highlight of my trip.  We paid for an hour of parking, so I knew I’d have to make it count.  The stands were gorgeous, the fruit and vegetables were so plump, bright, and inviting. 

This farmer’s market blows the Lexington Farmer’s Market out of the water!  I knew it would but still.  There were also a ton of stalls making food like sandwiches, drinks, burritos.  Again, there were lots of vegan and vegetarian options which were nice to see and lots of options for recycling.  I hope Lexington gets on board with better recycling receptacles around town.  Plus, the great thing about Portland businesses is that they use to-go containers that are recyclable.  I love this place but Lexington is home.  I didn’t buy anything but I could have spent a ton of money there.  We left and stopped by the food carts again for a snack. 
We re-grouped and then Sarah, Stephen, and I headed to Mount Hood.  It was an hour drive and the scenery was beautiful.

Mount Hood is cool to see far away and sort of boring up close.  We parked at the Timberline Lodge where The Shining was filmed and went on some of the trails to take some photos.  Afterwards, we stopped at Ice Axe to get some drinks and appetizers.  The French onion soup I ordered was really good.  We headed back to Portland and did a little shopping then relaxed for the evening.

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