A few weeks ago Brent and I flew to Portland to visit two of our favorite people: our son Greg and his wife, Katie. The whole time we were there, I had this odd feeling that we had traveled to another English-speaking country. We definitely weren’t in Texas anymore. Here are a few things I learned about Portland:
1. Portland lacks that ridiculous spraaawl of our Texas cities. You can actually get along for days without a car. This is more valuable than a small-town Texan might think, because parking in Portland costs roughly the same as housing. Greg and Katie walk everywhere, except Greg drives to work.
2. I fondly imagined PORTland as a coastal city and, therefore, flat. You know, like our Gulf Coast cities such as Corpus Christi or Galveston, many of which are flatter than the road maps of themselves. Boy, was I ever wrong! We found a few streets that were level for a block or two. Other than that, the area where we spent most of our time — traveling on foot, mind you — tilted at anything from an obvious slant to dizzying steepness.
Lest you think I’m kidding, here’s the street we had to walk up to reach Greg and Katie’s apartment building. I went anaerobic every time I dragged myself up that last block.
3. Flowers and stuff grow like crazy in Portland. And, as much as I hate to admit it, everything is not necessarily bigger in Texas. Take these trees at Washington Park, and the gorgeous blossoms in the Rose Garden.
4. The neighborhood where our B&B is located was every bit as hilly as the adjoining district where Greg and Katie live. Really? … Switchbacks on a residential street??
5. If you try to take a photo of the city’s business / industrial district from a bridge, and there’s another car beside you, the resulting picture will look like a car ad.
Hmmm. Come to think of it, that would be true of any city. Never mind.
8. I had no idea how cute the shopping district would be. We found all sorts of restaurants — even a couple of Mexican places, which we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to try because we were, after all, in the Pacific Northwest. We’d heard rumors.
9. And that cute shopping district is, as it turns out, a wonderful place to have a first “In Real Life” encounter with a dear online friend who was already like a sister to me. Jody Collins, you ROCK for driving down to visit (and eat, and, you know, shop).
I came back to Texas contented with Greg and Katie’s situation, even though I missed them before we ever landed at D/FW. I also brought back a fresh appreciation for our mildly rolling hills.
Thanks for reading,