The Dream of the 90s

As related earlier, we did not take the direct route from Charlottetown to Portland: we left Charlottetown on Monday afternoon, and arrived Portland late on Wednesday evening, more than 48 hours later. But along the way we got to see several old friends, ate some good meals, drank some good coffee, and got microdoses of two cities we hadn’t visited in a long while.

But arrive in Portland we did, last night just after 10:00 p.m., on the Amtrak Cascades train from Seattle. We navigated our way through the deserted and foreboding streets of Old Town and checked into our lovely, minimalist room at The Society Hotel.

We’ve been gradually adjusting to the four hour time zone difference between PEI and the west coast, and this morning we didn’t wake up until 8:30 a.m., which means we’ve come close to reaching a new equilibrium. We ventured out into our new neighbourhood, stopping first in the park by the river to all Ethan to pee, then to Deadstock Coffee, and finally to Mothers Bistro for breakfast.

Fully sated, we then walked up the street to Powell’s Books, suitably overwhelming (most impressive infrastructural feature is a magic-seeming elevator with three doors); I emerged with a foot-high pile of books about type, bookbinding and fashion design (I sense a visit to the post office will be needed). By the time we were ready to leave my friend Oliver–our reason for visiting Portland in the first place–appeared at the end of aisle 939 as appointed, and we headed off with him for an afternoon of adventuring.

Said adventures included a stop at Nuvrei for iced tea and cookies, shoe shopping at Keen and REI (see [wee] Oliver’s new shoes below; they’re made of wool), and a visit to the dog park (where Ethan displayed his typical “you don’t have me on a leash; why is it in my best interests to come when you call me” confounding behaviour).

After a pit stop at Oliver’s house, we rendezvoused with Oliver’s sweetheart Cheryl for a excellent Indian meal at Swagat.

And now we’re hunkered down at our hotel, enjoying our first early evening this week.

This trip has a whirlwind character to it, and we’re certainly in no danger of overstaying our welcome at any juncture; we couldn’t keep up this pace for weeks on end, but as a the-journey-is-the-destination trip it has a lot to recommend it.