This is an experimental post. Not so much ground breaking and life changing as much as trying to answer the question of how to put a lot of photos into manageable subsets and not make the post light years long. My affection for flickr has grown over the past year. In my opinion it is the absolute best way to share photos on the Internet.
The way this post will be arranged is the best solution I could come up with. I could have just posted links to my flickr account, but that really is defeating the purpose of the blog. So i have done a kind of amalgamate of the two. I personally think it works and looks pretty well.
Here is a short primer for how I think it is viewed the best. First off I have divided my trip into 4 categories and those are represented by 4 paragraph explanations and 4 slide shows. My suggestion would be to read the paragraph first then make the slide shows full screens by clicking the play button then making the whole slide show full-screen by clicking the box with the 4 arrows going outward. At that point I would pause it by clicking the play button in the bottom left. I have written a description for every photo posted and to see that just click show info in the top right. You can then navigate through them using the arrow keys on your keyboard or clicking the nav arrows on each side of the photo. I know that’s a bit lengthy and probably unneeded, but like I said, this is an experiment. Now to the actual trip.
The reason for my visit wasn’t purely driven by my desire to see the 4 corners of this nation, but more because some friends from college got jobs out there; my old roommate being one of them. That was compounded by the fact that two friends from Purdue were staying out there for the summer. The fact that it wasn’t the Midwest didn’t hurt it either. I had been meaning to make a trip out there for over a year and all those reasons compounded in taking a roughly 2 week stint in the grand Pacific Northwest.
The atmosphere is probably what struck me most about Portland. My main experience with large cities had come from Chicago. It’s only about an hour train ride away from my hometown so that is/was usually the destination for city going. The year prior my large city exposure came from NY, NY. Even bigger, meaner, smoggier, and bustleier (hey, English is a tool and I will use it how I see fit!) than Chicago. Portland, by contrast, is very laid back, health conscious, and your views contain more than tall buildings. It was not as dirty as Chicago or New York either. It was a big city without the big city feeling. For the reason in particular I liked Chicago, New York, and Seattle (I’ll get to that in a minute) a little more. If I am going to live in a city, I really want to be in a city. Some might not care for it, but I like the busyness, the high rises, and the dirtiness of a city. It’s just a different environment.
That being said Portland had one big problem. Unemployment and subsequent homeless. I read a headline while I was there that said Portland had 23% unemployment. That is like saying 1 in 4 has no job. It’s quite startling. Just about everywhere you turned there was homeless around. They generally didn’t bother you by asking for handouts like they do in Chicago, but on occasion you did encounter people who would ask for any extra change you had on you. A pretty funny story pertaining to that was that one night coming back from Athul’s place, which is in downtown Portland, waiting for the Max (train). Without going too much into it the Portland transit system brakes down when the sun sets. Their schedules are never met, and sometimes you just get stranded. NOT COOL PORTLAND. During the day you can pretty much count on the train to be there within 5 minutes of when it says. All bets are off when it’s night, so make plans for that. So, as Aaron and I sat waiting for the train back to Beaverton, where he lives which is just a suburb of downtown, an inebriated, homeless gentleman approached us and opened with, “Hey guys, I don’t want any money or anything I just wanted to talk.” No problem buddy! Call me chatty Cathy. Boy did I eat those words. He leapt right into how he is not getting laid and how he used to “get so much pussy back in the day.” I was not about to share my entire sexual dossier with the guy (and I had a hunch neither was Aaron) so we both nodded and occasionally threw in an awkward laugh. He is the coup de grace of the whole story. We probably talked to him for 5 or 10 minutes and then came “so you guys got any change?” There it is. The real reason emerges. He got bupkis though because we didn’t have any on us. Mislead me will ya!
I did like how “green” and health conscious everyone seemed to be. It was a nice change from the Midwest. The Max, which is the main way to get around the city and it’s environs is pretty much just a train that runs through the center of the city. I really like taking trains, it’s normally cheaper and I can do stuff while I’m traveling. It’s a shame there is not more of them, but America is so big that unless it’s a major city the infrastructure is just financially and logistically infeasible. Bikes were also a very popular mode of transportation, which is great because I love bikes. They even had a place to put your bike on the Max so you could really be green, another very cool feature. Being a vegetarian usually leads me to a very small portion of the menu or a long line a questioning and special requests. In Portland, there seems to a lot of followers to the vegetarian ways because there was usually lots of delicious veggie options at the restaurants we went to.
That leads us to the first picture category. Foods! I wish I would have taken more of the things I have eaten because most were really good. It might seem a little weird to take pictures of your meals, but it is such a part of our social being as well as a necessity that it only seems natural that it’s a large part of the trip.
These pictures are mostly from around the Portland Area. I had some other pictures from the train ride home that I didn’t really have any other place to put them so they make an appearance here too.
Around town + Misc.
One of the coolest things about Portland is that visible from the city is gorgeous scenery like mountains and trees. I think if you ask just about anyone in Portland, one of their hobbies will be hiking and with good reason. Just outside the city is so many trails and breathtaking sights to be had. Very very cool.
I told you I’d talk about it. Seattle. Portland is really close to the Washington/Oregon state line. So close in fact that some people live in Washington and commute to Portland everyday. Being so close to another major city I had to take a trip there. Seattle is only about 3 hours by car from Portland. Very manageable. It feels quite a bit more established than Portland too. It had tons of high rises, hills, and even a little dirt. I really liked Seattle and wouldn’t mind living there one bit. It was very hilly walking around which might make bike travel a little more difficult or better yet another excuse to get in better shape. I ended up taking more pictures of Seattle than anything else; completely by accident, but it is a really neat city.
I want to thank Athul and Aaron for showing me a good time and letting me stay at their respective domiciles. I will most likely be making another trip out there whenever I face plant into a pile of money. Thanks also to Katie and Chelsea for including me in their daily activities, I relatively certain my days would be less fun without them. In short, Portland trip ’09 a success!