27 March 2007

Biking Up Mountains, Losing Money, Lecherous Old Men and Knuckle Brandishing Homeless

Quick Post (yea right):

So the first full day in Portland was..interesting

Got up around 8am, juiced some fresh OJ and had hummus and flatbread for breakfast. Biked over to Stumptown Coffee on Division, which was a hilly 3.5 miles. People told me that Oregon was rainy but I didn't think they meant constant, unrelenting face pelting rain. Maybe it was just that I was biking 30 miles an hour up and down hills, but it seemed worse than I imagined. So I made it to Stumptown around 10am, waited in line about 15 minutes (apparently this is normal, from reading online), and ordered 4lbs of coffee, and dropped about 50 bucks on that. Ordered a latte (bastards didn't give me anything free), took some pictures of one of the guys roasting beans there and had a phone conversation with my mother. I saw some pretty interesting people there and, for being in the middle of what seemed like the suburbs, it was really busy. I left after about an hour and the bike back to the hotel was much easier, since it was mainly down hill. I took an alternate route through one of the parks and dive bombed about 35mph down a huge hill through the park while it was raining. The flowers here are starting to bloom and with winding around a small lake in the park, it was one of the prettiest moments I experienced here so far. On the way back, I stopped at an ATM since I had to pay in cash to get the coffee. I was drenched by this point, so I went back to my hotel and changed clothes. After chillin for a few, I biked west across the burnside bridge, which connects the two sketchiest areas of portland (i know how to pick em). It actually had a nice view crossing and the traffic wasn't too bad since they closed down a lane for construction. After crossing I went to Powell's City of Books, which was ridiculous, 4 or 5 stories of what seemed like millions of new and used books. Being the pirate I am, I didn't buy anything since I've gotten used to free media (music, books, etc.), but it was still impressive. Leaving Powell's around 2pm, I was starting to get hungry so I just started roaming around looking for food. I found some cool buildings with concentrically braced frames (whole foods and a parking structure), which was kind of interesting since these are supposed to perform poorly in earthquakes compared to eccentrically braced frames, but I digress. So I roam around a little more and see a young gay couple walking down the street holding hands so I stop them and ask where a good place to have lunch is and they recommend Thai Peacock, which was a couple blocks away. I head over there on my bike and the place is pretty empty. I just order green curry, which was ridiculously good, although for some reason I felt like the people who owned the place were Chinese. Anyway, after that, I continued west on Burnside up the hills and into the park at 24th ave and burnside (about another mile). I make my way up this path which, as I'm starting to realize is true of all of Oregon, is completely covered in moss. It's meant for cars, so it was not too steep of a grade and I bike to the top, which overlooks Portland. The view was pretty nice, although there was a little too much vegetation around to see everything. I continue up and finally make it up to the Rose Garden which has hundreds of different types of roses. While I was there, I ran into a young couple, Alex and Tempest, who were locals. I wonder how locals here have the time on a Monday afternoon to take a walk in the park, but perhaps that's the pace of life here, which is pretty sweet. I continue to poke around for awhile but it's getting late, and colder, so I bomb back down the hill, which is a little scary since there are cars everywhere and it's really curvy and it was raining. It was definitely a much faster trip on the way down. I came to some really huge, ridiculous houses in a neighborhood called Arlington Heights, which was kind of ironic because the ghetto that I lived in, in LA during the summer of 2005 was also of the same name. I wonder which came first. I continue down the hill and was feeling a little tired from all the biking, so I stop at the other Stumptown on Starck, which is close to Powell books and connected to a new location for the Ace hotel, which is where I'm staying in Seattle in a few days. This place is empty compared to the Division location and I order a coffee. So here, they brew all their coffee by the individual cup AND you get to choose what kind of beans you want too, so that was pretty sweet. I think I got the Kenya, but I couldn't remember. The guy working said something about it being a little brighter than the Guatemala, which is supposed to be their lightest bean. I have that, and it's great, and while I'm creaming and sugaring it up, some dyed hair freak girl who looked like she walked out of Santa Cruz creeps up and asks if she thinks people should have to work for money. It's just me and her in the place, so it's kind of an odd situation, but I entertain the conversation. I'm feeling like I've had a lack of human interaction and as we're talking I realize that I'm talking really slowly and quietly. I guess after awhile of not talking, you forget how to a little, but after 10 minutes or so, I'm feeling the coffee and get some more energy. So Evelyn, dyed hair artist freak girl, is painting in the cafe and we get to talking and somehow, get on the topic of how people often wanting what they don't have, which almost seemed like a truism to me, but after I thought about it, it kind of begged the question for why people don't want what they have already. So that was my thought provoking conversation of the day. I'm feeling tired and have to pee so I say goodbye and head back over the bridge to the hotel, a mile away. I'm feeling insanely tired by this point and want to take a nap, but figure if I do that then I'll be out for the night. So I take a shower and change my clothes and decide to treat myself to a nice dinner, at this restaurant I saw a block away from my hotel called the Farm Cafe. They use all organic and locally grown food, but suprisingly, the prices weren't very bad and I ended up only dropping 25 bucks on a green salad, salmon ravioli and a glass of riesling, including tip and all.

So this is when everything goes ape-shit. I'm getting my wallet out to pay and I can't find my debit card. I hadn't used it since I withdrew from the ATM earlier. I'm kind of flipping the fuck out in my head, but I figure if it's lost, then I can't do anything about it, so I pay in cash and quickly leave back for my hotel. I check my checking account online and nothings been charged. I'm flipping out, ripping apart everything in my hotel room and checking my car. I realized I was getting a little crazy, so I sat down on the bed in the room and think through what I did today. There's nothing else missing from my wallet except the card, not even cash, so the chance that someone stole the card and put my wallet back in my back pocket is slim to none. I came to the conclusion that after going to the ATM on the bike back from coffee that morning, I must not have put the card back in my wallet and I probably just put it in my pocket, where then it must have fallen out while I was bombing down those sick hills in the park or elsewhere. So I call and cancel the card and I have my other ATM card with me for my savings account, which I never use, and also my check book and my credit card and a 100 dollars of cash. So not everythings lost and it's more of just an inconvenience. So I decide to go out after this since I didn't want to ruin my vacation just because I lost a stupid card which was my own fault anyway, so i head over to the Silverado back on the other side of the bridge on Starck. It's half filled with old creepy men, some "normal" looking oregonian lumberjack people and a few people around my age. I order a beer and the bartender "forgets" to charge me, or maybe he actually did, but considering I was probably the youngest thing to walk in the door in the past few years, I figure he did it on purpose. So I'm drinking my free Stella and making conversation with random people, go to the bathroom, come back out, start conversation with a young couple named Ivan and Sander. Everyone's local of course AND it's karaoke night, so it's a pretty interesting scene. The place is packed considering it's a monday night. I didn't sing but Sander sang back at one by bryan mcknight, which he did a good job at. Some old man buys me a second Stella (read: free), and then floats off somewhere, which was convenient. So i'm clinging onto Ivan and Sander now since they're a few of the only people in the under 30 age group in the bar. I start a conversation with a guy who moved to Portland 11 years ago and was previously in New York and LA. He said he loved it here and read my palm. He said that I've already had two loves of my life and that I was going to live a decently long time and that I'm very ambitious and I am going to stick with what I'm doing for the rest of my life. Kind of generic but it was fitting either way. It's getting late and I remember that I want a doughnut from Voodoo doughnuts so I say my goodbyes and give the bartender my phone number. I felt bad earlier because he gave me a note that said I was cute and I should take my shirt off...ha...that seemed like just about the worst thing I could do at the point in time considering there were creepers everywhere reading to pounce, so I ignored his note, which was kind of bitchy but whatever. So right, I say my goodbyes and head over to Voodoo, which was a few blocks away. They're only open from 10pm to 5am and when I get there, after getting lost for about 20 minutes in the ghetto, the place is empty. I read that the line is typically out the door, but then I realize that they're basically sold out, which sucked. I ask the girl to give me the weirdest doughnut they have and I get a devils food cake with coconut marshmellow topping with a wad of peanut butter in the middle. It was definitely weird, but was actually kind of delicious. I drive back over the bridge, set my alarm and go to bed.

This morning I woke up and called my bank and apprised them of the situation with my card. I thought everything was going to be fine since there is an HSBC (my other bank) branch a mile away. But the bastards, apparently, can't do withdrawls for e-savings accounts. So then there's plan B. I call HSBC and beg them to reissue a new pin number for my ATM card I have connected to that savings account. After pleading for about 15 minutes, they finally let me do this, which I have yet to check if it actually worked or not. So I'm hopeful that will work out now, since I'm leaving for Canada in about 20 minutes. So I'm packing my car after all this bank business and I see a creeper creeping around the hotel. He blocks my path and asks if I have money to get beer. I say no (since I don't, actually), but I see an opportunity for a story here so I tell him if he holds on I 'll go to the market with him to buy him a beer. So we go and I bring my camera of course to the corner market and I get him so blue raspberry Mad Dog, which was more expensive than I was hoping, but I got a funny story out of it. He said apparently he had just gotten out of jail for brandishing weapons, which he explained were his fists. He came from Santa Barbara and has been living in Portland for the past two years. Well as the story goes, he had just gotten arrested for hanging outside of my hotel earlier this week and I guess he didn't learn his lesson, but anyway, he follows me back to my hotel (I can't really run away after we've been talking now for like 15 minutes) and he wants to watch cartoons in my hotel room before I have to check-out. Now i'm pretty open to some weird shit, but I felt like this was crossing the line, so I tell him that he should ask the front desk if that's ok. So i'm trying to get out of this weird situation as fast as possible, but he keeps following so I tell him I'm going in my room to finish packing and I want my privacy. So he camps out in front of my door. Naturally, I call the front desk and tell them there's a scary homeless man outside my door and if they could do anything about it. So i hear the girl come (I felt kind of bad since he was one dirty homeless dude), and she yells at him to leave. I just have this horrible fear he's going to be lurking around outside my hotel room when I try to go out there in a few minutes. I have a knife though so it's OK :). Well that's it up to now and I should get going to Canada but I'll post the pictures from yesterday and today when I get in around 3 or 4pm. Ciao!

1 comment:

speecialpants said...

Your Portland story is pretty funny from a local's perspective. Are you staying at Jupiter hotel?

Hope you enjoy & come back some time.

Also, Silverado is full of better types on the weekend. ;)