Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Portland: Cool groove, lousy weather

Portland Oregon is one of those dreamy cities that cause people to make absolutely meaningless declarations such as:
"Portland, man--I'd like to live there someday."

Other big-talk locales in this category include my home state:
"You're from Colorado? I love Colorado! I wish I could move there!"

And is there anyone who hasn't heard:
"If I could live anywhere, it would be Seattle. I love that town."

Now you and I both know that 99.9% of those people will never ever move to these places. I guess people just like having geographic fantasies, similar to their penchant for musing about writing the Great American novel or going back to school for something totally different than what they're currently doing. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, I came pretty close myself, after a recent weekend getaway to Portland, to uttering similar nonsense.

3 things I love about Portland:
The vibe. Yeah yeah yeah, you've heard this all before but it's really true. Portlanders are chill. Maybe one reason is that they don't have to fight traffic--the second thing you'll notice after the vibe is the fact that you can roll your luggage right outside the cute little airport and onto the Max, a clean easy-to-use above-ground light rail system. Riders of the Tube (London), the chikatetsu (Tokyo) or the Metro (Washington DC) will find it a treat not to have to deal with 100-foot escalator descents, complicated ticket machines and turnstiles (no Max ticket needed in the free zone in central Portland!), not to mention resurfacing above ground completely disoriented. Just step off the sidewalk right onto the train, and you're off! As a resident of Los Angeles I'm fairly averse to public transportation, but Portland really opened my eyes.
Finally, this may not make everyone's heart race but if you're a book lover, Powell's Books is one of the last living independent bookstores and it's huge--a whole city block! I could spend weeks in Powell's.

It's probably lucky that on my last day in Portland, it rained cats and dogs. Juggling a coat, scarf, purse, shopping bag, wallet, AND umbrella at once was a feat well beyond my abilities and a reminder of why I love LA. So Portland, I bid you a fond farewell and leave you with this comment: Freakin' awesome place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

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