Portland


Wasn't overly enamoured with Seattle, it's a city. It's fine. On the greyhound on to Portland, Oregon I met some normal, nice people for a change, Madlen and Martha who I discovered were hiring a car in a week from San Francisco to go down the coast of California then on to Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Within a few minutes they had invited me to join them on their road trip to share costs and driving which sounded very good to me. We'll see if it pans out.*

Portland was much more agreeable than Seattle, especially the people, the hostel and the bar that became my local for the two days I was there. On the first night I chatted baseball with some sports fans which resulted in me giving a one hour tutorial on the rules of cricket. The night continued on to a house party to celebrate a girls birthday. The house had three residents plus two others renting the sofas, one of these sofa residents was passed out very drunk, people were stacking various objects on him and I learned that the rule is 'If you pass out with your shoes on, you get a penis drawn on your face'. When the man woke he got very stressed at the girl who drew the penis saying "I work for a charity raising money for kids so you'd be responsible for kids not getting any money". He also had a job interview the next day which I hope he didn't get. Despite his charitable work he seemed like a dick and his response also suggested he wasn't planning on washing before heading out the next day for his interview and fund raising. Another questionable, very stoned looking character offered to become my weed dealer, I declined and then an albino rat woke up and came out of the hood of his hoody. The rat was passed around and seemed happy enough until he bit a chunk out of the birthday girl's ear. She thought this hilarious even though it bled badly for the rest of the night.

Day two in Portland was spent in the best bookstore I've ever seen, Powell's books. Promised myself I'd come out with one book but the excellence of the place meant I got four. As the sun came down I went to a part of the city where thousands and thousands of swifts slowly gather to form a bird tornado before all diving in to a school chimney tower to go to bed. A hawk came in for some supper but the flock of swifts all chased him off, it was an amazing display of nature.

Back to the bar in the evening I chatted to Gentry, a guy I'd met at the party who has a chip on his shoulder and with good reason. He was born in Newcastle and moved to Portland when he was thirteen. When he arrived no-one could understand his geordie accent and so he was held back a year by his school and forced to attend speech therapy classes. He now spoke with an ugly American accent, I felt bad for him.

*It did pan out, I'm three weeks behind in this blog.