Sunday, October 21, 2007

Day 18: Portland, Japanese Garden, Buffalo Reunion, Pt. 2

Japanse Garden
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Portland is about the greenest city I've ever seen. It rains a lot, but there is also an abundance of park land, gardens and tree-lined streets within the city limits to benefit from all the precipitation. We spent the day in a part of Portland that they claim is the largest urban forest in America -- apparently it had been logged and city planners decided to mark off the logged area as parkland a hundred + years ago -- the result is a gorgeously green area of the city filled with hundred year old pines and fir trees.

We spent most of our time wandering around in the Japanese Garden, a traditional affair sculpted out of the urban forest area. It had just rained, the sun was slightly out, the greens were stunning. Some of the leaves were starting to turn, so a few reds and yellows had also started to appear. Afterward we visited Powell's books -- probably the biggest, most comprehensive bookstore I've ever been too. I spent two hours there and managed to see about 1% of the place.

When Aaron and Michelle came home from work they took us out to a little restaurant on Alberta Street called Vita's, which is in a funky little alterna-neighborhood reminiscent of Allentown in Buffalo. Everyone in Portland complains about the gentrification and all the people moving in from other places, especially SF, which has gotten prohibitively expensive, especially for the young. I'd remind them that in other places infrastructure is decaying, people are leaving, and no one wants to move there (ahem, Buffalo). Anyhow, Michelle and Aaron have been there a year and seem to love it, as evidenced by big smiles on their faces that were somewhat less visible when they lived in NYC. Seems Portland is very vegan-friendly, another reason for those smiles.

In the evening we got together again with Joel Bettridge and Michelle and Aaron over at Tom and Alicia's for some hardcore Buffalo reminiscing.

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