Thursday, October 21, 2010

Forest, Mountain, and Port Land, Continued

I started the next day with very high expectations for Portland's gold standard in local, fresh roasted, direct trade coffee, Stumptown Coffee, but coming from a town with its fair share of coffee snobbery, I was sadly disappointed with the potent blend of caffeine, self importance, and uncomfortable seating that I found there. I knew that I had to be at the wedding in the Hoyt Arboretum, in Washington Park, by two, so I gave myself a few hours for a leisurely* bike ride through the area. Something in that plan went horribly awry, however, and at 1:50 I found myself on the side of a huge mountain covered in forest, gasping for breath, completely disoriented, and wildly attempting to flag down passing cars for help. At last, two angels dressed as rich old ladies pulled up to me, and, having just left the Arboretum, agreed to shuttle me up to the summit. They asked me if it was, by any chance, a Polish wedding, and I diplomatically responded that it was quite possible, not knowing to what they could have been referring. I arrived in the lovely meadow just in time for the traditionally dressed polka band to march in the wedding party, and it all made sense. Someone please remind me to have old men in lederhosen play accordions at my wedding? Thank you.

I would definitely recommend Washington Park to anyone who has any interest in anything beautiful or alive. The park is home to Portland's famous Rose and Japanese Gardens, the aforementioned arboretum, the Oregon Zoo (which is surrounded by an antique railway that unfortunately is only active from May to September) and winding roads, trails, and woods where gorgeous castles, mansions, and fairytale cottages cling to the hillsides, engulfed in lush foliage. One could easily spend all day there.

The reception included the three things universally necessary for a wedding to be considered a success in my book:
  1. Live dance music (requests accepted!)
  2. Beautiful cake that is equally pleasing to eat as to look at
  3. An open bar
They also had a delicious buffet, homemade fake mustaches, and when I decided the time had come to start a limbo tournament, all attendees humored me and thereby secured their status as "Awesome."

Apparently the third time is the charm, because the next morning, in my desperation to experience true Portland café heaven, I found the little gem of Three Friends Coffee House. The kindest barista on earth steamed me a velvet cappuccino, complimented my choice of biscotti, and let the voice of Bessie Smith waft through the sunny room as I sank into a very satisfactorily squishy armchair. With that worthy goal accomplished, I knew that Portland and I could part ways amicably.

The train to Seattle took a little over three hours, and was uneventful save for the unceasing horror/intrigue of watching a fellow passenger consume a seemingly never-ending stream of prepackaged snack foods and sugared beverages. Literally from the moment we pulled away from Union Station, until the announcement of our arrival at King Street, he had moat of brightly colored cellophane, and plastic creating a protective wall around himself and the rest of the passengers, and a growing layer of sodium, corn syrup, and saturated fat building barriers between his arteries and organs and other important anatomical things of that nature. I continued to chew on my ever-hardening hardtack as we rode past the misty forests and innumerable inlets of the Puget Sound, and the shiny city formerly known as Duwamps came into view.

* I never do anything at any pace but leisurely, as a rule.

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