I’m staying in Beaverton with my friends Matt and Sheri. We were all Peace Corps volunteers in Mauritania in 1987. Yeah, no one knows where Mauritania is, so don’t worry. Its on the bulge of NW Africa. That was really a whatmeworryjustgo adventure. We were quite an incestuous bunch. Out of a group of 40 volunteers, I think there were 5 marriages, a 25% marriage rate within the group. Matt and Sheri are still going strong, raised their twin daughters in this house. Now, Beaverton is exploding in population and they are considering moving somewhere else in Oregon or Washington state where they can get a larger plot of land and enjoy less traffic, or staying put and making some considerable renovations to this house. Retirement is looming for them, so do they Love It or List It?
I took the Max blue line light rail into downtown Portland to make my necessary visit to Powell’s bookstore. Always my second stop when in Portland, after I have visited Jordan at Lewis and Clark. I had a specific book to look for Imperium by Robert Harris. Set in Rome circa time of Spartacus, Crassus, and Pompey. The hero is Cicero, a lawyer and orator. No wonder Aaron, ex-lawyer, loved the book. I love that it is set in ancient Rome. I love historical fiction. Powell’s delivered, as always. I also got Jordan a book, Foundation by Issac Asimov, sci-fi from the 1950′s. And just to go for a wild card off the Powell’s best seller non-fiction wall, I got The Evangelicals – the Struggle to Shape America by Frances Fitzgerald. I’ve been so annoyed and perplexed by the evangelical support for The Dumpster that I thought this book might fit the maxim ‘Know Thine Enemy.’ … enemy in the political arena. We always will be fellow Americans and should work to help each other, not fight. Otherwise we would be Syria and Afghanistan, and who wants that?
Odd observations of the Powell’s bestseller non-fiction wall: two books have octupuses on them; three have the word ‘F*ck’ in the title (Potty mouth Portland); four have Feminist titles; 2 seems to celebrate the superiority of Nordic civilzation (which is true); Fire and Fury is way down at #40, where it should be; Comey’s book is not even on the wall, where it should be: F*ck all this current White house b*llsh*t, they are more important things to read about than Dumpster squalor.
Out and about in the Pearl District: Out of Powell’s and into the rain. So happy I am not riding in this today. Found Prasad vegetarian kitchen, which is in the same space as a Yoga Pearl. $7.00 Mighty Bowl with brown rice, black beans and kale and a miso dressing. Simple, healthy, yummy. Then off to find pints. Skunked at the Deschutes Brewery, place was packed, not a seat or standing bar space available. On to the Rogue/10 Barrels intersection. Looked up and noticed a second story rooftop patio on 10 Barrels. Decided to try 10 Barrels, since I have already been to the Rogue taproom in San Francisco. Bar area also packed in 10 Barrels, so I venture up the stairs to see what the patio is like. The bartender is wiping off the tables and seats, the sun is breaking through the clouds. Maybe 6 other people are up here. I order a nitro stout, and by the time I finish my beer I have stripped off two layers of light jackets, the sun is warm, and there are about 50 people around me. This is urban Portland at its best! I order another pint, and before I’m halfway through it, both jacket layers are back on, I have moved under the small awning, it is raining again, and only about a dozen rain jacket hooded drinkers are defying the rain. “Oh Oregon, you never disappoint with your shitty weather,” – Chris M, Southern Oregonian.
Scooped up by Matt and Sheri and off across the willamette to East Portland and the Hawthorn District and SE Division street. Very attractive neighborhood obviously on the rise, so many building renovation projects in a short stretch of Division st. Mixed use buildings, commercial street level topped by apartments, a modern looking architecture. Get off on the lush, leafy side streets and you see cute craftsman cottages with small, landscaped verges. Dinner at the Bollywood theater, Mumbai street style food on small metal plates. Packed here, too. Excellent food, spiced but very mild heat. Down the street to Salt and Straw, the uber-hip ice cream shop, the line going out the door. Man on cell phone walking by, ‘Hey this ice cream shop has a line going out the door, it must be good.’ It must be good. Self-reinforcing loop…Line creates chatter which eventually increases length of line. Ice cream itself is really just ice cream, but the flavor palette… I have a double scoop: Pear and Blue Cheese, Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper.
With all this good food and beer today, I feel fat. I am not going for a bike ride, however.