Day 4 of Portland
Here I am, watching Planet of the Apes again on Starz because I’m too lazy to change the channel to one of four English channels I get – though, right now, BBC World News is looking mighty tempting – so I figure I’ll make a cuppa hot tea to ward off the creeping chill in my apartment and update my blog so I’m not weeks behind.
At this point, I guess, not more than three weeks behind.
Friday was more of the conference, and I think I found every sectional from 8 – 5 that I could possibly attend and fill my time with. At lunch time, I decided to venture out of the mega-packed convention center – after all, a few restaurants for a couple hundred hungry teachers is definitely not worth the wait – and try out the Foursquare app to find some place to eat. I only have an hour and half to do so, and everything nearby is going to be crammed full of more hungry teachers. The Farm Cafe sounds nicely homey and just what I wanted for lunch, so I decide to wander over the bridge to find this place.
After a ten minute walk, I find Farm Cafe – but it’s definitely not open for lunch. Boo. I don’t feel like walking back, so I keep on wandering in the hipster neighborhood for some sort of lunch spot. The Burnside Brewery is just a bit much for right now, but as I stroll deeper into the mess of repurposed buildings, I see Grendel’s Cafe. People are enjoying the very crisp fall weather outside, so it looks friendly enough.
|Farm Cafe: Closed for Lunch|
|In search of pumpkin lattes:
Inside, it’s got that shadowy but hip atmosphere that likely draws all sorts of crowds from the area. I fixate on a “make-your-own-sandwich” and a pumpkin latte. Sounds good for a chilly day and a quick lunch – and a break from the massive teacher crowd. I sidle up to the window seat and start talking to a girl next to me who’s studying art history textbooks. We end up talking about car issues, and, since I’m really not privy to those any longer, how she wants to be a teacher overseas. Bingo. That jumped into a much longer conversation that ended up lasting for a little longer than planned. But, it was awesome. I have come to like long, random conversations with strangers.
Then, just as I’m ready to go, what to our wondering eyes should appear, but the most bizarre Christmas tree – without the eight tiny reindeer:
|Look closely: The station wagon has a tree strapped to the roof, and it goes
way beyond Charlie Brown tree. It’s a maple tree with Christmas lights.
|Welcome to Portland|
|Cocoa-braised lamb shank
with cilantro, spinach,
mushrooms, & sweet Granny
After our amazing dinner and all the catching-up in between, it’s time to head back to our hotels. As for me, I make some hotel decaf coffee – perhaps not the best coffee in the world, but it’ll do – throw on Duck Dynasty on A&E and get out my cartoonish map of Portland to plan out my Saturday – the last day.
|Lemon crisp shortbread w/ honeycomb
candy pieces and a honey-chamomile
ice cream dollop on top.
Since the weather promises to hold admirably and the conference ends mid-day, I’ve got an entire half-day to spend in the city seeing the things I have on my Portland bucket-list. Though I didn’t have time for the botanical gardens or the Japanese gardens, I can still get through my list: mailing a flat-rate box home from the Post Office, the riverwalk, the Burnside Saturday Market, the bridges, Chinatown (irony, at its best), Skidmore Fountain, Stumptown latte, Voodoo Doughnut, and Old Town Pizza, above the Shanghai tunnels. I plot my trip on the map, figure out the trams, pack up some of my stuff, which is bursting around the hotel room like an explosion. I’m sure housekeeping loves all the shoes.