Pondering Portland

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I had the opportunity recently to visit the unique city of Portland, OR. Now, you know a city is unique if the bumper sticker slogan is “Keep Portland Weird.” I can’t say I found the city to be weird, but rather delectable in every way. There is the MAX transit system which is so proficient that apparently many teenagers do not even bother to learn to drive. There’s the mixture of different neighborhoods, north, south, east and west, from the emerging upper class Pearl district to the LA’esque Hollywood district to Forest Park, Hayden Island and more. You can pretty much find whatever you need in the city. It’s kind of like a big little city, with the requisite Nordstrom’s and chain stores, to independent shops and of course the exquisite restaurants.

No visit to Portland is complete without a stop at Mother’s Bistro for breakfast. I found this delightful spot through a search on Yelp. And with nearly 1,500 reviews, you gotta know the place is loved. I arrived early on a Saturday morning to be sure to beat the crowds. By 8:15am, the place was nearly full already. Sat at the counter bar, which is a good choice to meet people when dining alone. I immediately noticed the decor: Victorian bohemian-style crystal chandaliers with plush velveteen wallpaper. Reminded me of old country France married to downtown New Orleans. I had a goat-cheese egg scramble which was delicious, though I was dying to try one of their exotic Belgium waffle combos. Just couldn’t bring myself to blow my New Year’s resolutions quite that quickly in the new year! After seeing their specialty roasted coffee blend menu, I settled on a bold decaf French press blend. Exquisite. Great service. Friendly staff and friendly locals to chat to at the bar. Would definitely come back again. Do yourself a favor – arrive early and avoid the chaotic lines.

After breakfast, I wondered around the city taking photos. The only thing was, for this particular trip, I didn’t bring my good camera and boy did I regret it. The play of light and shadows – the things contemporary¬†photographers can chase for a lifetime – was in high gear. With a slight gust of wind and the sun burning the morning fog away, I found the most incredible sun-rays streaming off the top of a skyscraper. Eerily, it reminded me of a single, standing NYC trade center tower (with many fewer floors of course.) And I have to hand it to my handy-dandy iPhone: the pics turned out pretty darn good, considering.

Later, a friend drove me around various neighborhoods to get a taste of the area. What I loved best was that within 15 minutes in just about any direction, you are completely connected to nature. And then there are the views of Mount Hood and Mount Helen in the distance. I could go on and on, but since I wasn’t able to take the amount and kind of photos I would have liked, I’ll spare you the sordid details and leave you with a just a little taste…and hopefully wanting more.

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