I've wanted to visit Portland and the rest of Oregon for a few years now. This was my first chance. I drove to Portland in the dark so I haven't seen the scenery of the state (I'll get a view of that tomorrow as I drive down 101 to the redwoods).
Its been 2 years since I've seen a really large city and having lived in Helena the last year I've begun to think of Billings, MT as a large city. So its a bit of a culture shock to see a skyline, light rail, and a variety of good bars and resturaunts. The weather has been great. Blue skies and no rain which is apparently quite rare here in Portland. I've been really lucky with the weather so far . . . hope it keeps up.
I've stayed with Mark and Ashley as well as their pet pharrot (Olive) and dog (parana). Olive likes to hide in things like sleeping bags, backpacks, duffle bags, etc. A lot of my stuff now smells like pharrot. Sometimes Parana and Olive play together which is very funny. On Wednesday we went to "The In Bar" which is one of the many shops, bars, and resturaunts right by their house in northwest Portland. The In Bar is definitely the smallest bar I've ever seen. It probably had room for 15 people. But apparently it has live music (1 man bands only).
Thursday we went downtown and also made a quick visit to Portland State where we were solicited to sign a petition allowing medical marijuana to be bought by a caretaker or family member of a sick person with a license to grow it. The socitior seemed willing to take my signature if I wrote down an Oregon address (regadless of its validity) but I declined.
In the afternoon we went to SW Portland and visited a few breweries. First the Lucky Dog Brewery which had a great spot to play darts and a great stout. Then the Roots Organic Brewery, which I was probably not cool enough to hang out in. Later we visited the Green Dragon which had at least a hundred beers on tap. They had a "meet a brewer" thing going on and Mark discussed breaking into the industry with him.
I definitely enjoyed the city. It was really pretty, well designed, and had a pretty cool social scene. Still there is always a feeling that the city controls your patterns of movement and thought in ways more rural areas don't. Its not exactly true, but I can definitely relate to the old Jeffersonian idea that rural America is the land of "values" and the city is a zoo that takes away your humanity (even though I know this is far from accurate). After all modern democratic cities never treat its inhabitants like zoo animals . . .
Edit: I forgot to mention that there is a community access channel here that gives homeless people their own 30 minute show, which is generally just a guy (or woman)in a park spouting out whatever thoughts come into his head. Now from my experience a very large percentage of homeless people have some kind of mental illness, which as you can imagine only get's worse during conditions of homelessness. So its pretty interesting to hear what these guys have to say. They do speak in sentences, but I don't think the thoughts are organized enough to say that there are any paragraphs of more than one or two sentences. Sort of a Neitzchian fragment thing . . .