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Archive for August 19th, 2009

Photos of Portland, Oregon (Post 2)

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

portlandfromplane

I enjoy taking public transit whenever I can, when I travel. I like to say I collect subways, but I collect buses and above-ground trains as well. I added another system to my list while in Portland.

When I got in to the airport the first night (Wednesday), I had to take a cab in order to get to the Lantern Moon pre-conference reception before it was over. (An aside: the Lantern Moon people are wonderful and thoughtful, and their products are a delight to use.) I then took the provided private bus from that reception to the Convention Center area, and called a cab from there.

The cab was necessary as I had to get to my hostel before it was too late to check in for the night (their desk closed at midnight). All other transportation I took alone in the city, was the light rail (a train system which runs above ground).

portlandtrainstop

Collecting Another Train System

The system is clean and well-used but was not overcrowded at the times I used it. The one time I overshot my stop, I got off my train and then went to the other side to wait for a train going back the way I needed to go.

I was not there 30 seconds before a security officer showed up from what seemed like nowhere, and asked if I was OK. I told him I was turning around, and he said I was in the right place. He stayed with me until the train came. This was around midnight, I think on Friday. I did appreciate his presence and good company.

portlandbubbler1

Chinatown Detour

Thursday, on the way “home,” I decided to get off the train a few times to check out other sections of town. I had missed a lunch with others at a specific restaurant in Chinatown. I decided to see if I wanted to eat there alone at dinner. It was disappointing, unfortunately.

Apparently late dinner on Thursday is not a boom time in Chinatown. The area seemed in less than excellent repair as a whole. Although I found a beautiful and well-kept entry gate to the area (I love gates like this), I also found a shelter or food kitchen for homeless folks when I walked around a block off the main drag. I’m happy to know that those who need it, can get some care, but I think they would just as soon I not be in their space.

portlandchinatown

They paid me no attention at all (nobody begged or even looked at me). There were other pedestrians around, and it was not dark. It did not feel particularly spooky to this citygrrl, but I was clearly not where I belonged. I went back to the train and got dinner elsewhere.

I like to take photos out of the window of public transit vehicles. Here are a few shots I got in Portland, I’m not exactly sure where. I love old architecture!

portlandsubwayview1

This one is of the Portland Saturday Market, which I have heard about. I did not have time to stop that day, but it was good to see it through the window.

portlandsatmarket

Bubblers

I also got a few photos while I walked to and from the train stops. If you notice the third photo (train stop), and look at far right, you will see a small water fountain. I was told these are called “bubblers.” You see them all over, walking down the sidewalks through a neighborhood.

I was told these were installed because the thought was that drunk people would drink water if it was free to them and available easily. It clearly did not work… one night I walked by around midnight and a bubbler’s water was turned off, though it had been on in the morning. I only saw running water during daytime.

They sure are lovely and welcoming, in any case! Here is another photo with a multiple-fountain bubbler:

portlandbubbler2

Welcome, Stranger

Portland felt very comfortable and friendly to me as a midwesterner (I know a good handful of Michigan folks who have moved there and are not coming back). It seemed even more warm to strangers on the sidewalk, than home.

Here in Lansing, those who know me understand that I dress unlike others here. I’m an artist who loves clothing/costuming every day. Those in my life accept me for who I am. However, I am outside the norm by a large margin in my caftans and bright clothing.

My own small home city tends toward neutral clothing such as navy and beige, and blue jeans. Knitters tend to favor soft purples as well, for some reason. My hot turquoise and magenta worn with hot green, all at once, is something you don’t see much on an adult in these parts.

I noticed that walking to the train stop in Portland (wearing my colorful garb), I was approached at least once a day by a stranger who told me I looked nice. They kept walking, with the exception of a skateboarding kid on the train who really was interested in the polymer clay beads I made for my earrings. Nobody caused me any trouble, and they were not afraid to talk to me at all. I liked that!

Photos of Portland, Oregon (Post 1)

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

portlandcoffeeshop

It appears that I am done with Sock Summit on-location photographs. I guess since I got home 8 days ago, it may be time for another topic.

However, I am very fond of big cities. I was delighted to stay outside of the Convention Center area, so that I could see more of the city of Portland. The hostel I stayed in was quite nice, and the price was less than $30 a night (my dorm-style room had three bunk beds in it; I lucked out and got a bottom bunk).

For the record, this hostel has private rooms as well, but the prices are higher. I wanted to keep my costs to a very low roar, and this fit the bill.

portlandcolorfulhouses

I have found that I always meet interesting people when I stay in hostels, often folks from Europe. We had some folks from the UK and a woman whose voice sounded German, perhaps. Two of us in that room were there for the Sock Summit, but more of that later.

Location, Location, Location

The hostel was in the Northwest section of Portland, in an area sometimes called the Alphabet district. The streets are numbered in one direction and in alphabetical order in another.

This street-naming pattern was incredibly helpful the first day I needed to walk to the subway station. I got turned around twice, and both times I realized my problem only a few blocks out of the way, because of the street names.

portlandthaisweetbasil

Across the street from the hostel was the wonderful World Cup coffee house (first photo, across the street at right, brick and glass). I was able to get good tea, good orange juice, and a three-bean salad which I toted with me for lunch two days, at a much nicer price than food in the Convention Center.

I also really enjoyed purchasing from local entrepeneurs in the neighborhood. It just feels right, for this self-employed person to seek out small local businesses to support.

Kitty-corner from the hostel was a lovely grouping of amazingly colorful homes (. Just beyond those homes is a small, one-story green building. This is a Thai restaurant called Sweet Basil. I ate there on Thursday night, while I finished up my mini-Chippy-Sock Necklace.

portlandthaiinterior

The interior of Sweet Basil delighted me. Behind the bar, the wall was painted purple. Not only that, the food was gorgeous to look at and very nice to eat.

portlandthaitable

I was very hungry when I walked in. I was very full when I walked out. It was “just right,” as Goldilocks would say.

More Portland photos in another post. This one is getting pretty long!