Portland Day 1

Arrived in a gray, wet Portland after starting my day at 4:00am. Only one hour earlier than my usual beginning, and soon enough, I was moving fast to get myself out the door and down to SFO. Small plane, short flight and 2 empty seats next to me made for a very pleasant morning travel experience. I only have a few essential belongings with me, snugly packed into my Marmot Kompressor Plus pack. I love the traveling lite, don’t need any unnecessary items weighing me down. I love that my life is in the pack. I strap it on and off I go. Simplicity. Gratitude.
Opted to not use the services of a car rental agency as I heard from multiple sources that Portland has a very good transportation system. So far, that advice has proved correct as I have been able to get wherever I need to by foot or by the local rail system. With only a half cup of coffee and a banana in me so far, I was energetic and ready to go explore. I rode the rail from airport into downtown and then transferred to a different line to head in the direction of a cafe that was recommended to me. Fortunately, I exited a few stops too soon and ended up walking through a cool neighborhood called The Pearl District. Lots of galleries, eateries, etc…Lovejoys Bakery was recommended and it did not disappoint. I opted for a breakfast sandwich; fried egg, blue cheese, tarragon, bacon, frisée on a ciabatta roll.

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Um…YUM! I had to resist the many other tasty items from the bakery, such as the scones, cookies, etc…my day was only just beginning and I wanted to keep exploring. Walking around, the streets were a bit quiet, still a little wet from some early rain, but the air smelled good and fresh and the sun was beginning to shine through the clouds. I was delighted to be spending my Friday morning tripping around a new city in my jeans, sneakers and feeling free. I love my job, get a great deal of satisfaction from it, (but, it’s always nice to take a break) and I truly appreciate that I am afforded the means and flexibility to take a short trip as this….

Sauntered into a gallery that showcased some abstract paintings in the window. Inside, it was actually a 3 part gallery; part paintings, blown glass, wall hangings, sculptures, and lots of other cool creative art. I become mesmerized when looking at abstract paintings….they are my favorite and one of my secret or now not so secret goals is to have some kind of space to see what I can create in this fashion. Need everything; space, paint, canvasses, etc…and I know, just like everything else, when I become committed enough, I can and will make this happen.

Making my way back towards the hotel, I also needed to go to the Apple store because once again, I forgot my outlet charger! Grrrr
Oh well- I also needed some new headphones cuz one of the earbuds had lost sound. So, found the store near my hotel and got what I needed. Talking to the guy who helped me, told him I was here to run the race on Sunday. He says, “I am too. Half the store is…it’s a big race, like 30,000 people.” Whoa! Had no idea there was gonna be THAT many! (Btw, once I dug around in my bag, I found my phone outlet charger…so now I have 3! )
Checked into my hotel and just chilled out for a bit. Great corner room on a top floor with a nice view.

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Later in the day, I took the train over to the convention center/expo to pick up my race bib #, t-shirt and peruse. I had also pre-ordered another race shirt they had for sale so I picked that up too. I love both my shirts! I can’t recall the last time I loved an actual race shirt….but I love this one and the one I purchased!

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Afterwards, I walked about 1 mile to a coffeeshop I had wanted to visit: Coava Coffee! It did not disappoint. They are located on the east side in a quieter area and the place is very industrial: huge tall ceilings, very open space, limited seating and a nice, chill vibe. The rear of the space was occupied by a guy who does woodworking and some pieces were on display for sale. The whole place oozed art and creative expression. And, my cappuccino was excellent.

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Later in the day, I was back on the west side and went into Powell’s Bookstore. Pretty overwhelming for the mood I was in, so I just picked up a few cards and left. Need to go back…
Next, dinner!
I got a recommendation to try Tasty & Alder, and once I looked inside I knew I’d like it. Dark wood colors, cool bar area, semi open kitchen. And BUSY by 6pm. I waited for 45 minutes just to sit and eat at the bar area. Well worth the wait. Service was very good, from the hostess to the wait staff. It was loud and bustling, but I didn’t mind as I loved feeling the energy all around. Directly in front of me were two of the cooks, moving fast and doing their art! The happenings of a kitchen….the rapid movements, the individual touches and signatures….love it.
I ordered my customary cosmopolitan, and to eat, 2 Alaskan Cod tacos with Fresno aioli and escabeche. Yum, yum, yum. Also, a side of grilled broccolini with grated Parmesan on top. More yum. A delicious and fulfilling meal.

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After dinner, I made a spontaneous decision to attend a play on the east side. I had seen a flyer for it earlier when I was tripping in and out of some stores. The play was called “Independent Women”. I hadn’t seen a community play in about 20 years so it was nice to be back in that kind of creative space and atmosphere. The cast was 7 women and it was part dialogue, part singing, part performance art. All very cool, interesting and poignant. All subject matter touched on what it means to be a woman and the types of messages we receive, how they have changed and not changed over the years. They did a very powerful segment on their bodies. Our bodies. Women’s bodies. I just want to say this to any woman who might read this; you are more than ok. Just as you are. You don’t need to be prettier, thinner, fatter, taller, lighter, happier, more serious, married, coupled, with child, not with child, straight, gay, whatever….you don’t need to be a stay at home mom and you don’t have to work 60 hours a week. You don’t need to be anything more than who you are at your core. And, you CAN do, be and create anything that YOU want.
If you want to be tattooed from head to toe and sell flowers on a corner, go for it. If you want to be a lead prosecuting attorney in New York, go for it. Just don’t settle. Ever.
Took a taxi over the xxx bridge, looking out into a beautiful Portland skyline and called it a night.

Day 1: most complete.

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