Travelogue Portland and Vancouver 2005

 

This Travelogue is complete but sketchy

Last update 7/18/2005

 

 

Itinerary:

7/13-7/15: Portland, OR

7/15-7/18: Vancouver, BC, Canada

 

 

Tuesday 7/13/05

 

Fly to Portland from Denver on UA.  Flight delayed several hours.  Oh well.

 

Took taxi to B&B, US$30 with tip.

 

Staying at the White House of Portland B&B.  Big, old house with impressive columns in front.  Nice quiet area, out of the way but not far from the bus line.  Nice area.  Beautiful room.  Great breakfasts.  Recommended.

 

Consider: Stay at the Kennedy School B&B next time.  Much cheaper and potentially more fun.

 

Hooked up with Albert.  Dinner at E-San Thai restaurant.  Not Isaan food.  Good but ordinary Bangkok style food.

 

Attended odd but interesting talk by a woman named Caroline Casey that does Magic Activism (www.visionaryactivism.com).

 

 

Wednesday 7/14/05

 

Great breakfast at B&B.  They were able to accommodate my lo-carb diet.

 

Hitched a ride with another guest over the river to the old part of town.  Old Town uninteresting (as I remembered it.)  Chinatown completely uninteresting except for new Chinese Garden which is exceptional, amazing, fascinating.  I took the 1 hour (free) tour and learned an amazing amount.  Well worth the time.

 

Walked to Riverfront Park, not interesting.

 

Walked to the Ecotrust Building.  Really just a perfectly ordinary building full of environmentally friendly companies.  Café on first floor.  Didn’t stay.

 

Took bus to (22nd?) st.  Had lunch at a New York style deli.  Food was very good, but service was unbelievably slow.  Very un-New York like.

 

Walked to Rose Gardens.  Beautiful as always.  Got very tired and decided not to go to Japaneese gardens nor Arboretum.  Took bus downtown.  Boring area.  All the same homogenized Starbucks, Nike Store, Gap, Nordstrom as everywhere else in America.

 

Took bus back to B&B.

 

Dinner with Albert at Acadia Restaurant.  Excellent.  Gumbo was excellent but with a strong shellfish undertone.  Etouffee was good, but very light in color.

 

Afterwards we met up with a friend of Albert’s, then headed out to check out the very cool Beaumont neighborhood.

 

 

Thursday 7/14/05

 

Up early to get to airport in time for flight.  Flight delayed a bit.

 

Arrived in Vancouver, no issues.  Took taxi to B&B.  CA$25 with tip. Staying at the Alma Beach B&B, on 2nd St. near Alma.  Very close to Jericho Beach and the Vancouver Folk Festival.

 

The proprietor was not there when I arrived!  Had to wait around for ˝ hour to be able to get in!  Ugh.

 

Very hungry by the time I got out of there.  Took taxi to Granville Island.  Has become much more touristy since the last time I was there.  Lameass lunch at a place on the water.  Wandered through the market – very little interesting.  Wandered around the galleries, nothing much until a surprise at a jewelry and glass gallery where I found two excellent pieces.

 

Took the water taxi to the Yale St. area.  Modestly interesting. I hate the new glass tower buildings all along the waterfront.  Outstanding Mocha at Café O.

 

Headed back to the B&B.

 

Dinner at Lumiere (wow.)  Insanely expensive. About CN$175 with tip and one drink.  Opening with 4 gougeres, then Amuse Bouche of deep fried foie gras.  Appetizer was a “lobster and shrimp salsa”, which is a weird name since it was really chopped lobster and shrimp formed into a ring mold surrounded by a little chopped olive.  The main was a venison chop, there was a consomme course, mint soup, something with olive sorbet (!) on top.  Desert was chocolate (French word for base), followed by a terrific assortment of migniardise.  The whole dinner took about 2 hours.  I decided to walk home to take the air and walk off some of the dinner.

 

 

Friday 7/15/05

 

Up early for an excellent breakfast at the B&B. Unfortunately it was nasty, cool, overcast and drizzling.  I farted around to see if it would get better, but in fact the weather worsened.  Eventually I headed out, taking the bus downtown to stop off at the HSBC building at (street x street), where they have the amazing 100’ fall pendulum swinging silently through the huge atrium.

 

Since it was now actively raining, I took another bus to Stanley Park to hide in the aquarium. It is an excellent aquarium, but it appeared that everyone had the same idea I had.  It was teeming with people, especially families with small children.  After a short while I was so claustrophobic that I practically ran out of the place.  I barely saw a thing.  Oh well.

 

I took the bus to Gastown, which continues to be amazingly uninteresting while still managing to attract throngs of tourists.  I wanted to go to Chinatown (next door), and though my guidebook recommended taking a taxi 4 blocks to avoid walking through the skid row area, I thought that was silly.  I’m afraid its not silly.  I have never seen such a collection of walking wounded; insane, deranged, strung out with DTs, glue sniffers, drunks, heroin wracked emaciated hookers, and on and on.  In a beautiful city, the detritus of humanity, no doubt each with a terrible story to tell, if only they had the wits to tell it.  Finally I got to Chinatown, but was too weary and beaten down to enjoy what little there was.  I bought some fruit and waited for the bus back to sanity.

 

The bus was packed with more terrifying masses.  It made every stop, getting hotter and more humid as more and more people packed on.  Several times I considered running off and taking a subsequent bus, but I figured it would probably be awful too.

 

I got back to the B&B, changed my clothes, got together my stuff, and headed over to the folk festival in a light drizzle.  Ugh.

 

The first night performers were uniformly boring.  The weather was miserable.  It was a definite downer.

 

 

Saturday 7/16/05

 

Got up late, had another excellent breakfast, and dragged myself (late) to the festival.  It was cold, sunless, and occasionally raining.  The festival grounds were damp.  I set my blanket in a spot in front of the main stage, then headed off to see some music.  Within a couple of hours I finally started finding some great acts.  Then the sun broke through.  It was like someone flicked on a light switch.  Everyone’s mood improved, the performances got better, the sun was wonderful.  The whole day was magic.

 

 

Sunday 7/17/05

 

Another day at the festival, but this day dawned sunny and hot.  The performances were good, but not as good as the day before.  A lot of times I chose the stage I wanted to see based on the amount of shade more than the style of music.

 

 

Monday 7/18/05

 

I’d planned to pack up and head over to UBC to see the arboretum, but when I was packing I couldn’t find my passport!  I spent a couple panicked hours searching and calling the airport and the embassy to find out what to do.  At the last minute I found my passport in a pocket of my carry-on which I never use.  Whew.

 

The flight was delayed 1.5 hours.  On this trip I was 3 for 3 on delayed flights.  Hi Ho.