driving into portland, levi took over when we got there so i could take photos
trying to find burside, a view from the highway
near china town in portland
one of the many green areas portland has, this one had an interesting life size elephant sculpture
a view from my bedroom in seattle, with the one eyed nazumi looking at the city
a busker taking a break from playing his fiddle at pikes
pine off of pike, on every corner is a highly talented busker
entrance to pike fish market
some blue grass christmas carols
a pretty girl ordering coffee
sarah looking up at the needle with excited anticipation
seattle from the top of the needle
levi and myself drove out of bandon with the monday sunrise. me at the steering wheel, music blaring and heater on full. with the gray early-ness of morning all around, and the work bound commuters, we were off. patches of mist caught us unawares every now and then, the windy roads up the coast felt like navigating a rabbit warren, as we wove in and out of evergreens and polars and maples, most stark and bare, like winters waiting bride.
up the coast we went, although never coming into the oceans view, through back water towns, still for the most apart asleep, passing them silently. up and up, and through and through, over rivers as wide, and calms as clouds, past dams shrouded in fog, to the north of oregon we carried on. we stopped once for petrol in eugene, filled up and merged then with the interstate five. a huge, five lane highway, going both directions, straight as an arrow across the states. trucks in the right lane, slow and steady, one behind the other, carrying food, and gifts, post and parcels. and the speeders in the left. at midday we found ourselves on the outskirts of portland. a big business and industrial district, congestion in the streets with bumper to bumper traffic. we found metro metals, the company that i was going to sell my scraps to, went in, weighed up, then went into a snug little office with big burly men standing all round waiting for their cheques. i found my place in the line quietly.
i was paid three hundred and ninety three dollars for all the scraps. good money, for a little bit of work. by this time we were starving, so we headed down to to portlands city center. we somehow found china town, parked the car, and went on explores. walking up and down the busy sidewalks, trying desperately to find a cheap place to eat. nowhere could be found. up and down, past book stores, sushi restaurants, vegan chinese restaurants, and fancy high fashion stores, but nowhere to eat cheaply. until we found a little road with street side vendors. the best smells were coming from the little stalls. vietnamese, chinese, philly cheese steaks, burgers, indian and pretzels. all so good. i bought us a big helping of tofu panuk paneer and a couple of naan breads. so yummy. eating with the rest of the portland locals on the side of the road, bicycles whizzing by, trams screeching to a halt, and business men in blue suits hailing down a cab.
portland is so beautiful. old and new. bicylce paths, and skate paths all over the city. i found burnside road, but not the skate park unfortunately. ive decided that after mexico, when i am back in portland, ill find it, and go for a skate. portland is also the cycle capital of the states. driving around one gets feeling that if capetown, and grahamstown were combined, the result would be portland. there is the biggest bookstore also there, called powels. walking around it feels like youre in hogwarts, a big castle of books, from the floor to the ceiling, aisle after aisle of towering shelves of books. so many books. so many good books. then the coffee shop, tucked away, where you can take your book, order a cuppa, and sit down and read for as long as you wish. oh portland. pretty portland.
after our explores, the sun began to set, so we went to pioneer square, where the big city christmas tree is. so big, so many lights. the local news broadcaster is in the square, so we went down to the windows and looked in, waiting for our chance on television. oh the fun. the lights. the festivities. the smiles, and the city. we walked around, caught the light rails around the city, visited an ice skating rink, and made fun of the couples holding hands and wobbling around on the ice.
after that we navigated our way back to china town to the car, to find that it had been impounded. we didnt know what to do, except phone all the available numbers, stating our case, trying to get the car and keys back. we finally managed to get hold of somebody who directed us to someone else, who we in the end got the car back from. thankful to get the car back, we decided that it would be good to head home and get a good nights rest to wake up early enough to not miss the train. i slept like ive never slept. dead to the world. on the floor, scantily covered with a few blankets. i woke cold in the morning, but on time. ate a breakfast of cooked oats with peanut butter, and a super sterk cup of coffee. got into the car and headed down the highway in the morning dark, with the morning traffic, into the cbd of portland, to the train station.
a grand old building of marble and ploished brass. high ceilings and big double doors. porters and cashiers dressed to the halt. anticipation. the sound of the train approaching, boarding, tickets being checked, passengers chatting away in the vestibule on their phones. the initial lurch of the train, the slow and steady push and pull, push and pull sound of the train. listening to mum, reading, drawing and watching the country side spinning by is how i spent the duration of the journey. it was so beautiful. mist dancing around the stark trees, and over lakes.
seattle arrives. skyscrapers loom over, coppers, sea greens, blues and grays into the cold blue sky. there kristen meets me, she seemed to be in a rush. i had just arrived. we hopped into the car and sped off into the city, from that moment on, i have been plunged into a world so vastly different from anything ive ever experienced. oriental dragons climbing lamp poles, trolls under bridges, koi fish swimming the walls of the highways, russian returants, statues of lenin, the self proclamed center of the universe freemont. hipsters, thugs, druggies, asians, prostitutes, druggies, rockers, punks, nerd and geeks, indie cats, preppy girls, meth heads and the mill of the road, all in seattle, all just carrying on carrying on. and all around seattle are the andies. yje mountain range, often forgotten in its shround, and then the majestic mount rainier, summit at fourteen thousand feet. a small piece of the swiss alps in the states.
i cant explain in words how good ive been treated. ive been shown so much love here. its overwhelming. its kindness i didnt know existed. we went to the needle, and saw seattle from a hundred and eighty feet above the city, all three sixty degrees. the lakes, the suburbs and the heart of seattle. down walking around, you cant help to notice how many starbucks there are. one on every second block almost. this week has entailed lots of shopping, lots of eating, and lots of doing nothing. also on one of the days of doing nothing and shopping and eating, i ordered myself my computer. my money had come in, and i found a mac that was perfect. and i am proud to say, that it arrived today. all silver, and special and new and shiny and pretty, all eight point eight ounces of it. all fifteen point four inches of it.
another exciting thing we did was to check out pikes market. fish throwing, men violining saws to make them sound like whale songs, buskers and dancers, gems and art, flowers and cheese, all along pike street, over flowing with people, oh the beautiful, interesting people.
lots of love from seattle.