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this is not a dream

I am continuing my previous post with more photos of my first trip to Portland, Oregon.  There was so much to see (& do) I wish I could’ve captured every single moment in a photo.  Here is my summary of my trip, in photos…


There was so much foliage around us.  It was so amazing, as though an urban cityscape was dropped right in the middle of a lush forest.  I loved taking in all of the tree-lined streets & beautiful flowers.  Seeing all of the different colors of plants & flowers, it was like a unicorn pooped a fantastical rainbow over the fair city of PDX.


The great Bridge City is well known for all of its funky art glory.  I tried to take as many snapshots as I could of all the interesting art I found along the way.  Some were cute like the music quote (“You can’t touch music, but music can touch you.“) from the Regular Show or the “Keep Calm and Eat Donuts” quote from Blue Star Donuts.  Others were beautiful like the “Keep Your Chin Up” mural or the two framed art prints in our hotel room.  There were also a few unusual, yet cool ones like the bicycles sculpture, the cardboard station wagon & camper, & the crack pipe application warning sign.  Look!  We even saw a graffiti drawing of Pedo Bear!  Don’t even ask how I know that Pop Culture/Anime cartoon character…


When I say more nature, I mean it.  Every street was practically lined with trees from beginning to end.  Every lamp post had a hanging flower pot.  No matter where you look, you just can’t escape the greenery.  It really softened the rigidness of the metropolitan city.  It wasn’t all boxy high-rise office buildings, sleek glassed apartments & quaint retail shops.  All of the flowers & greenery really made you feel at ease amongst the hustle & bustle.  There are plenty of parks & parklets strewn about the city, so you can take a break & unwind after a day of hitting the hard pavement.  We also happened to arrive just before the 2014 MLS All-Star Soccer/Fútbol Tournament.  So there were MLS (& especially PORTLAND TIMBERS & Adidas) decorations all over the city! (I was so disappointed that we were leaving the day BEFORE the All-Star game…so, I had to bring home a Portland Timbers t-shirt from the Providence Park Stadium shop.) Can I get an ‘Amen!’ for the hottie Tim Ridgewell, please???


There was so much beautiful architecture to look at…a feast for the eyes~!  I am not very knowledgeable in architecture or design, but I do appreciate cool-looking buildings & well-crafted design.  I absolutely fell in love with all of the apartment buildings surrounding my hotel.  Semi-tall buildings constructed of steel, glass, brick & wood with a minimalistic look, that’s my type of architecture.  That’s what I like.  I’m cool with living on the 10th floor of a glass box, as long as it’s overlooking the city skyline or a park (& not facing a brick wall or overlooking a dingy mall parking lot).  I was just in awe every time I walked down any number of streets & admired all of the buildings, especially the apartments.  It almost made me want to drop everything & move to PDX straight away…ALMOST.  I also loved how some of the streets in the Pearl District had deck-lined sidewalks.  It kind of made me feel like I was walking on a beach.  Also, I had to visit the Heathman Hotel.  I’ve heard about it through a book series that I recently read. (Yes, yes, I know that book trilogy is becoming a clichéd joke, but please give me a break!)  I just wanted to see if the description matched what I had read, & it did…but also I received many recommendations to have drinks at the Heathman Restaurant & Bar, & they make really delicious cocktails…a perfect place for some pre-cocktail cocktails before you hit up Pepe Le Moko or Kask for some even more delicious pre-dinner booze BEFORE you partake in your evening meal.


And finally…the last bits of odds & ends from my trip to Portland.  I’m a bit out of sorts as I finish this post, so I’m just going to make a few bullet points.

  1. Powell’s city of Books is the best place to hang out at 11:30 at night when you are slightly tipsy from “hitting the bottle” since 3pm in the afternoon.
  2. I not-so-discreetly took a snapshot of the 2 really handsome & attractive baristas from Barista (the coffee shop).  This was taken at the NE Alberta St. location. (If only I could whistle…)
  3. Salt N Straw Ice Cream is probably one of the best craft ice creameries I’ve ever tried.  I’d have to say it’s no.3 on my list of favorite craft ice creameries.  My no.1 choice is Humphrey Slocombe from San Francisco, & my no.2 choice is McConnell’s Ice Cream from Santa Barbara, CA.  I don’t really care for the liquid nitrogen made Insta ice creameries.  They’re like the “flash fashion” of the dessert world.
  4. I just had to put in this one tiny little Portlandia reference.  This is a nod to the Tina & Lance “Cacao” sketch from the show.
  5. I saw this really cool “Welcome” sign in Japanese on the door of a sushi restaurant.  It was a nice little touch.  The sign says 「いらっしやいませ」(Irasshaimase) which literally translates to “May I help you?”, but in this context it means “Please come in”.
  6. One night we were sitting in the patio section of Clyde Common eating our dinner when we spotted 2 luxury cars parked out in front.  A couple of guys had rented them for a party, I’m assuming to impress their girlfriends or to possibly try & get laid later that night.  Everyone that walked by, even the partygoers, stopped to take multiple photos in front of this Lamborghini.  I’ll admit, it is a pretty luxury super car.
  7. However, I prefer this R8 over the Lamborghini, hands down.  Performance-wise, the R8 outdoes the Lambo, & I think it looks better than the Lambo, but everbody notices the glitzy Lamborghini first.  I am an Audi fan through-&-through.  Well, I am a slight VAG (Volkswagen Auto Group) fan.  Both Lamborghini & Audi are under the VAG umbrella, so…they’re both pretty awesome cars.
  8. My 6-year old nephew (who lives in Los Angeles) is a HUGE NCAA College Football fanatic.  I don’t even know how he got into college football (maybe from my brother & his dad), but he just loves anything related to football (even the NFL).  He knows more facts & info about college football than most adult men.  My nephew could impress the guys at ESPN for sure.  One of his favorite teams is the University of Oregon Ducks…. So needless to say, I had to rush over to the Ducks Store to get him a few souvenirs.


That’s pretty much all from my travels to Stumptown, Bridge City, PDX, Portland… Until next time.  Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée’s family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.

The first time I saw Midnight In Paris, I was on a looong ANA Airlines flight to Guangzhou, China (with a layover in Tokyo, Japan).  I had pretty much seen all of the films on the in-flight entertainment movie listings, & I was not all that enthused about this film, since I am not much of a Woody Allen fan (nor a fan of his work). so I decided to give this one a go…lest I pass out from sheer boredom.  This film truly surprised me, because I liked it, really liked it. (Yes, Mikey. I really liked it.)  I have pretty much fallen in love with the city of Paris all over again through this film.  Watching this film makes me think of the animated movie Ratatouille: from the delicious, sumptuous food, to the grand architecture, & the overtly passionate love that emanates from every single pore.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

 I know that the real Paris is nothing like how it’s portrayed in movies.  The film industry always makes the city look less grittier & rigid, & always casts a soft rose-colored glow over this fair city of love.  In Japan, there are tourism programs that the Japanese residents can take, which will give the visitors an orientation into what to expect when traveling to Paris.  This orientation program for tourists provides a harsh dose of reality, pretty much a slap to the face, to help visitors face the fact that “Paris ain’t what you expect it to be from all the Audrey Hepburn movies you’ve been binge watching on Netflix.”  So, I know that you’re not going to find women in flowy summer dresses riding vintage red bicycles with a basket on the front filled with fresh baguettes & a bottle of red wine.  Nor will you find exquisitely dressed upper-crust ladies-who-lunch dripping in Chanel with their teacup terrier dogs perched neatly in their handbags roaming the couture lined streets.  Paris is just like any other touristy city, except with better pastries.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

This movie, Midnight In Paris, really captivated me from beginning to end.  At first, I was a bit surprised to find Owen Wilson cast as the main romantic lead actor.  When I think of Owen Wilson, I usually think of a comedic, funny character, but he fit perfectly as the goofy, whimsical, charming character who, by walking the streets at midnight, paints a vivid love letter to Paris…his true love.  I wasn’t all-too-excited about Rachel McAdams portrayal of Owen Wilson’s fiancée in the film.  I didn’t really think that the two actors paired well or had any chemistry with each other.  I know Rachel McAdams’ character was a woman who was not as excited about being in Paris as Owen Wilson’s character, but when she was acting unhappy in the film, it really showed.  I mean, she truly looked like she didn’t want to be there (or in the film either).  She just gave off that disinterested vibe throughout the entire film.  However, that did not take away from the fun, lighthearted nature of the film…to be transported back in time to schmooze & confer with your literary  & artistic colleagues of the “golden age”.  Oh how incredible it would be to stumble upon a rickety taxi cab, only to be swept up in a frenzy to a party hosted by Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald!!  That would surely be a riot!  Not to mention having Gertrud Stein observe your scribbles only to give it praise & adoration.  Or to strike up an intriguing relationship with the mistress of Pablo Picasso, &  have your name wind up in a dime store novela.

Seeing Owen Wilson’s character wander the streets of Paris late at night, listening to his narration of the city made me feel as though I was walking alongside him.  The more I watched & listened, the more I yearned to visit Paris myself.  I was imagining myself strolling along tree-lined streets & soaking  up all of the sounds & aromas wafting in the air.  Or lounging around in the park, after buying a warm baguette, some fromage & a basket of strawberries from the nearby market.  Or browsing a vintage bookshop, hoping not to look out of place, & desperately trying to decipher the words on the covers of the books.  Perhaps I would be sitting in a quaint café where nobody speaks any English (hilarious miscommunication ensues), sipping a small coffee & gazing at the passersby.  No matter the scenario, I would be over-the-moon just to be in Paris (for the first time in my life).

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

What’s my favorite movie scene?  I am a total sucker for sappy happy endings, but my favorite scene of this movie was when Owen Wilson’s character Gil was having a discussion with Marion Cotillard’s character (& semi-romantic love interest) Adriana about the “golden age” & about how they were not feeling satisfied being in their own time.  Gil explained to Adriana that he was a man from the future who traveled back in time to the Roaring 20s where he met her in his version of the “golden age”, but she explained to him as they had traveled back to the 1890s, that that time was her version of the “golden age” & she didn’t want to leave.  Gil was trying to explain that no matter how unsatisfied you are in your own time, you have to make the best of it, because no matter how many times you run away or where you run to, you will always be looking for something more &/or something better.  It will just become an endless loop.  And of course, my most favorite scene is the end…

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September 2014

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