Portland Day 1: Rainy City Daze

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If I spent any significant amount of time on my hair, I could not live in Portland. From the moment I walked the girls to the bus stop until I drippingly  returned in the late afternoon, water fell from the sky in varying degrees of intensity until I gave up and put my now-birds' nest in a bun. Mind you, I do have a rain coat with a hood but I can't manage to get the thing to stay on. Oh well, small price to pay! My first day here was about as "Portland" as I could get. I woke up around 7 (hooray for going back a few time zones!), walked my cousins to the bus stop where we said hi to the resident ducks, then set off to figure out the transit system into downtown. Though taking the MAX significantly increased my travel time compared to driving, its pros far outweighed the cons as all I had to do was figure out where to make a couple connections. 

As an architecturophile (yeah, I made that up) and lover of all things bridge, my first destination was the waterfront to traverse both the Hawthorne and Burnside bridges, two of the most iconic. As I said, it was already drizzling, but the grayness simply lent a cozy feel to the day and - even better for what I was doing - brought out the vivid colors of the architecture and nature alike. It also brought out a seal, which bobbed and splashed about in the Willamette as I watched. 

A huge part of this trip for me is scouting out locations for prospective clients; where we could do their destination engagement, elopement or family photos, so one of the first places on my list was Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade as it seemed not only a pretty location with an iconic background, but also perfect for an afternoon walk, adding another layer of enjoyment to our shoots. I'm all about symmetry and using the local landscape to frame my subject so this place was perfect. An added bonus: while I would certainly love to photograph there in the sunshine with a cloud-dappled blue sky, the industrialness and vivid greens of the trees were still quite a lovely backdrop despite and because of the overcast day. 

With no agenda and nowhere I needed to be, I enjoyed a nice walk along the water as I tried not to get run over by the tens of cyclists zooming around me. Most looked like they were riding to work - a romantic ideal I have always thought I'd enjoy - and I even saw a runner with a small backpack who looked like she was doing the same!

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Day 5

Eventually, I made my way toward Powell's City of Books, a bibliophile's (ha!) dream, as I'd been told. The store really was incredible: 8 rooms full of books organized by genre and then further categorized within each room. I spent a significant amount of time browsing the travel books, almost settling on Peter Hessler's "River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze," the first of his four books documenting not only his own 7 years in China but the changing face of the culture as well. But as a card-carrying library member, I couldn't make myself spend money on a book, so I settled for a nice pair of tacosaurus socks instead. Very practical, you see. 

At this point in the late morning, I was in desperate need of a warm beverage and while the coffee room sounded nice, it was time to find the next hang out spot. I quickly google mapped "coffee" and took off to the closest one, only a few blocks away. Tilt Coffee, tucked away within Tilt the restaurant, boasted an open industrial building with soft yellow light (not food photography friendly!) and that hip/industrial kind of feel. It was perfect! They apparently make their own house syrups with dark brown sugar to add complexity, so I warmed up with a double shot vanilla latte and an apple hand pie. Both were fabulous and I hang out there for a good hour slowly munching, sipping and browsing the interwebs. It was only on my way out that I saw the enormous case of other flavors of hand pies - notably key lime and peanut butter cup - that may bring me back for more business as I abstained because of a workout later that day. 

Instead, I walked over to Moberi were I enjoyed a kale, spinach, mango, mint, line, agave and coconut water smoothie. This is pretty close to what I have for breakfast every day anyways so it was quite tasty. Moberi is known for its bike blender power - and they did have a bike there for those wanting to try it out - but I did not have to do any work for my smoothie other than hand over my money. 

Nearing "go home" time, my one last stop of the day was the "Keep Portland Weird" mural, a familiar phrase to this Ashevillian. On the way I finally ran across a few crazies, namely some guy shouting from a street corner about the dangers of drugs and decrying those who sold them. As I passed, I was not-so-politely told that I need to stop pushing drugs to kids. I said that I would, though art is not a drug so I have no plans to stop pushing my brand of magic. 

After walking in a few circles to find the right bus stop, I finally got on only to be told I was on the short line rather than the full trip out to Beaverton so I had to get back off. Luckily, I got off right near a Trader Joe's so was able to get a little shopping done while waiting for the real bus. I accidentally got on the short line again and went one more stop then stood in the rain for 15 minutes before finally getting on the correct bus. That was not the end of my transportation troubles, though, as my little [accidental] experiment in seeing whether the bus would still stop if I stood up but didn't pull the rope evinced that the bus, in fact, will not stop. I got off two stops later and had to walk a little over a mile in the pouring rain (my phone had turned itself off because its old and dislikes cold so I couldn't get picked up if I wanted to) before finally arriving back at the house. 

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I had walked 8.5 miles so decided to relax a little bit before doing my workout, but relaxing is not a thing you do with Stella and Lucy around. Between dance contests and playing with Winnie (their dog) I helped a bit with homework until it was finally time to run or miss my chance. I obviously couldn't skip the workout so after my warmup I set off for the lake a few blocks away which turned out to be the perfect place to run! I was doing 1k reps and it turned out that the short paved loop around the lake was somewhere around 1,100 - the perfect distance for the repeats and a jog rest between each. One of my favorite parts about traveling is getting to run in new places as I feel like its the closest I can get to experiences somewhere as a local. Put into one snapshot, the Beaverton "local" picture is an earth-toned image of a winding park trail at dusk lit by the warm glow of the surrounding neighborhood homes, rain- and duck poop-dappled with here and there a few dogs pulling their more sedately-walking owners, the quiet hum of far off traffic interrupted by the occasional quack. And then, of course, there's a crazy runner unintentionally splashing passersby as she unsuccessfully attempts to evade puddles. All-in-all it was a very pleasant workout even after the very long day. 

When I returned, I was bombarded by requests to play games, give piggy back rides and arm wrestle, all of which I happily obliged as I cooked dinner. Everyone went to bed pretty early leaving me a couple hours to work on my blog and such but while I worked on photos I could barely keep my eyes open...at 9:30. I gave up and went to sleep, hence the late post. Tomorrow (today - oops) is networking day so there will be perhaps few images (and may not even *gasp* a blog post), but plenty of working nonetheless.