i took a trip (almost two weeks ago now) that i’ve been meaning to write about, but had to digest it a bit, masticate on it if you will, let the enzymes and parasites (symbiotic) do their thing to it, to extend the food metaphor, before i could write about it.
well either that or i’m lazy… oh and did i mention K has been gone since i got back from vaca? her to california for work and me back here with mr. puppy. he takes a lot of time/energy/patience. makes me glad i have a partner in this doggy experiment. but i digress…
the trip was to the pacific northwest, what i would consider the last “region” of the continental US that i have not been to. i’ve seen the southwest, both desert (arizona) and mountains (san diego). i’ve been to the upper midwest (duluth, mn — cleanest american city i’ve ever been too. eerily similar to munich germany in cleanliness). of course the “eastern” midwest like illinois, indiana, ohio, pennsylvania, michigan. been to the northeast (nyc) and midatlantic (dc, balitmore). seen the south too (florida, louisiana, and texas even). i guess really the only place i haven’t seen in person is the plains states, but i’ve seen pictures so i think that counts. although from what i’ve heard lawrence, ks is a cool town.
we flew into portland, which is a great town. oregon in general reminded me a lot of ohio, actually… in a weird way. portland itself is a lot like ohio towns of similar size (minus the street cars and healthy people – you could probably pick portland up and set it down in ohio and i doubt many people would think it didn’t belong). just the way the buildings are built and the city was laid out, just somehow seemed very midwestern to me.
the people in portland, well orgeon in general, are a different thing entirely though. i think you find a lot more “hippy types” out there (maybe “west coast types” is less insulting). the lifestyle definately appeals to me. there are more “local” type produce places or grocery stores. what seemed to me to be a lot fewer fast food joints and a lot more non-chain-eateries. they’re very bike friendly there as well (i learned ten speed bikes are now called “road bikes” and mountain bikes are “all terrain bikes” or “ATBs” for the concise) which is cool. i keep thinking i’ll buy a bike here at the bike co-op but then always think it’ll be a waste of money. again i digress…
we met K’s friend… K2… in portland the evening we got in. i also met a long time internet friend, D. (i’ve written on meeting people from the internet before) again, i was not disappointed meeting this dude in person. he was very nice, very cool, and had interesting things to say. i think that overall you are more likely to enjoy someone in person having spent time to get to know them online beforehand. this is probably because online friendships are so easy to break, so if you don’t share something in common with the other person, the friendship will dissolve quickly. however, if you do share something in common, then it’s easy to pick that up in person.
ps. portland has amazing donuts. many people already know this.
the drive from portland to eugene was amazing, even though i spent a lot of it with my nose in a book. (an aside about the book, i wish i would’ve read it before actually going to portland… c’est la vie) we spent the day going down the “back roads” and hitting up some pretty good wineries. i learned a lot about wine that i did not know before, and seeing the countryside and areas surrounding the wineries was very cool. only one of them was in a semi-urban area, in mcminnville. they all had good wine and i ended up lugging back 4 bottles in my checked baggage. i’m amazed it didn’t disappear (more on that in a bit).
eugene was a nice town. again, very reminiscent of the midwest (to my eyes). eugene is similar to columbus in many aspects. college town. younger population. lots of culture and all that jazz. oh yeah, great beer too. actually, better beer in eugene than in columbus, sadly. i tried a few new brews there, including one by ninkasi brewing and of course fat tire. i had a couple others that i can’t quite remember, oh yeah, except that excellent burton barton that i found. fucking delish. one thing i did miss though, and this goes back to that whole “west coast type” of people i think, is that they do not have fried anythign on the bar menus. i wanted some good ol’ fried cheese, motz sticks, but alas they were not available. maybe you can find something like that somewhere in eugene, but not the places we went to.
our gracious hostess took us to the coast for an afternoon of walking, wishing it weren’t so windy, remarking on how windy it was, hiding from the wind, and eventually going up a “hobbit trail” into the hills that butt against the beach (where there was no wind). i cannot stress how windy it was. i mean, this is like a constant wind. not some puny breeze. i’ve felt the ocean breezes on the east coast, and while it can be mildly windy for a couple hours, most people would still describe it as a breeze. i think the correct word for the wind in oregon would be a “gale.” a fucking endless gale screaming over from the far east, to wrend asunder the great west coast.
wind aside, it was one of the most amazingly beautiful places i’ve ever seen. the forest runs right up to the water. there are a lot of rocks and sizable waves that make for some very cool sights and sounds. the beach itself is eroding from the banks, and there are these ledges, probably 10 or 12ft high, the walls of which are made up of something similar to sandstone that people carve their names into, or pictures, or whatever. i wish i’d taken a picture of that.
my trip back was mostly uneventful. i had the typical regret of flying american airlines. they stuck me in midway for an extra hour or 4, but i did make it home without having to stay overnight. of course, i did walk through the door to our apartment at 130am, but i’ll let that slide. in chicago i saw my first drug dog while sitting by our gate (the 3rd of the evening). i was reading and listening to my ipod when i heard some weird noise. i look up to see 3 cops and a dog directly in front of me. one of the cops is talking to an african woman nearby. the woman is holding a small child. another cop directs the dog to sniff the woman’s bags, while she keeps her children at a safe distance. the dog sniffs. nothing happens. the cops leave and the woman looks very scared. i wonder how something like that happens. to me she looks like a completely normal person (wearing a headscarf, but normal. not threatening in any way). is it possible that some racist or otherwise insensitive person has called these cops on her? mentioned a head scarf and foreign accent? it was unsettling to say the least.
let me recount my experience once back in columbus. i get off the plane, go pee. the airport is dead (it being like 1230am on a tuesday). i walk to the baggage claim to get my bag. the bags start coming. the bags keep coming. i’m watching this one goddamn black suitcase that looks a lot like mine go around and around (each time, “OH there’s mine… SHIT”). i watch the staff come and collect all the unclaimed luggage without seeing my bag. i’ve played this role before, so i go to the american baggage office to start the tedious process of lost luggage (what color is it, what brand, what was inside, is your name on it, do you have your claim ticket?). there is a girl there lining up the bags that just now were orphaned. i decide, on a whim, to look through the bags already there to see if mine… there it is! nice! the girl says something like “found your bag?” and i reply with “yeah, it’s weird that it beat me here but i’m glad it’s here.” her: “yeah, don’t complain!”
i get home. i figure i’d better check the 4 bottles of wine that i had so carefully packed the night before in eugene. i mean, i had this fucking system where i think my bag could’ve fallen out of the plane at 60,000ft and those bottles would’ve been secure. i open the bag and my shit is a complete mess. the bottles are all crunched down in the bottom of the bag, not nicely secured amongst dirtly clothes with books perfectly positioned to keep them all in place. “FUCK”, i think to myself. i check each one, nothing broken, no clothes sopping wet and stained as if by blood. it looks like my suitcase has been ransacked, then i see this…
goddamn government. thanks for nothing. at least you didn’t steal and/or cause my shit to get broken.
by the way, “Smart Security Saves Time”? are you kididng me? did this particular crop of beaurocrats just not read 1984? could they be any more overtly orwellian? *sigh*
check out some pics here