Tag Archives: Oregon

Ringing in the New Year in San Diego

I have arrived in San Diego!

Flight – The flight out of Portland, Oregon was easy. Departing at 11:30 am, the plane was fully booked, and only 5 minutes late taking off. The trip was quite smooth despite some cloud cover on the way out which had me wondering if we’d be in for a bumpy ride.

Mount St. Helens Off in the Distance

A snow capped Mount St. Helens was visible out the window as we climbed to cruising altitude. A mountain with the top blown off of it is quite a sight to see. I remembered a trip I took there years ago and saw the astonishing view of hundreds of thousands of trees laid over like toothpicks on the hillside.

A California girl with blond hair, french tips, and pink luggage, sat near the window. I had the middle seat, which I usually avoid, but it was all that was left when I booked the flight. The isle seat was occupied by a short-haired lady, perhaps 10 years my senior. She had bad breath, but fortunately we didn’t speak the whole trip. The flight was relatively short at just under two and a half hours. This trip is a piece of cake compared to the upcoming 29 hour slog to Thailand.

San Diego – I actually arrived in San Diego a few days ago, on December 30th. The weather here is very pleasant during the day, hitting the high seventies, and cool at night. Some days, I just have to take to the hiking trails for some exercise. I’ve probably walked six miles since I arrived three days ago, and it’s a good start to my plan to shed a few pounds.

Welcome to San Diego

Welcome to San Diego

Hike – Yesterday, New Year’s Day, I went for a hike with my sister, who lives here in San Diego. She lets me stay at her place and in exchange I repair all sorts of things that have broken since my last visit. Well, all that didn’t require immediate attention anyway.

A Local Hiking Trail N.E. of San Diego.

A Local Hiking Trail N.E. of San Diego.

With the winter, here in Southern California, comes cooler temperature and a bit of rain. This really helps to green-up the normally subdued desert landscape. The scenes, above and below, will appear much less vibrant when the heat and nonexistent precipitation become the norm throughout the summer.

Looking Back at a Valley from Part Way up the Mountain

Looking Back at a Valley from Part Way up the Mountain Trail

It’s not uncommon to see rattle snakes on these trails. I’ve seen five or six over the years that I’ve hiked here. They usually sense you coming and scurry away before you see them, but sometimes they’re asleep and you get closer than you’d like. I’ve heard of many, many people seeing rattle snakes, but never heard that anyone was bitten by one.

Breakfast – I have developed quite a taste for Mexican food here in the Southwest. There are several good Mexican restaurants around the San Diego area, it might have something to do with Mexico being a stones throw away. I walked about a mile to a little drive-through Mexican restaurant that I frequent when I’m in the area. They have no indoor seating, only a few tables outside, but that works fine with the warm weather and virtually no biting insects year round. I ordered up a machaca breakfast burrito (they serve breakfast all day) with scrambled eggs, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro.

Machaca Breakfast Burrito

Machaca Breakfast Burrito

It probably weighed over a pound and a half. The tortillas they use are about 16 inches in diameter, which makes for a pretty large burrito. I applied the hot sauce liberally and enjoyed a breakfast I’ve not been able to duplicate anywhere else. $4.76 plus $0.37 tax (7.5%) Total $5.12, I include this for future reference to prices in Thailand.

Well, I’m off to take care of some of the chores on the repair list. Dishwasher, R.O. system, lights, etc, etc, etc…….

 

Last Few Days in Portland

 

After Christmas – On one evening I took my daughters out to dinner, but let them choose the restaurant since they knew what the city has to offer better than I. The destination was to be, Le Bistro Montage. This Cajun gem is on the East side of Portland, over the river. As might be expected at any popular place,  there was a 45 minute wait for a table. We started off with Gator Bites, though the Frog Legs were tempting (see the Menu). Jambalaya seemed to be a specialty, so I ordered up Alligator Jambalaya for dinner. Having never had alligator before, I wanted to give it a try. I found it very tasty, sort of a cross between fish and chicken.

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Alligator Jambalaya with Cornbread mini-muffins

Theaters – We took in a couple movies  too. The first was at Laurelhurst Theatre  7 Pub also on Portland’s east side. This cool little theater serves up beer, wine, pizza, wraps, snacks, and more. There were small tables in front of many of the rows of theater seats for food and drinks. Since they serve alcohol everyone is carded at the ticket booth. No minors allowed after 5:30 pm when they start serving alcohol. The movie we saw was All is Lost with Robert Redford. I had wanted to see that movie for several months due to my interest in sailing. I thought the movie was average.

The other theater was McMenamins Kennedy School. A very fascinating place. This was an elementary school that was closed in the 1970s, then bought and renovated into a hotel, theater, brewery, and restaurant. Again, food and drinks (alcohol) were served at the theater. The seats were nearly all living room style sofas and chairs set side by side. The movie was Enders Game. The storyline appealed to the younger generation as it was a teens- in  –      space      fighting aliens sort of fair. I’d rate this one average too.

One of the bars in the school was called, The Boiler Room (click on “GALLERY”), pretty cool use of old plumbing for railings and decor.

Old Plumbing Used as Railing

Old Plumbing Used as Railing

Portland – Portland is a crunchy town that has a great public transit system and sparkling clean. It’s very artsy which makes for a lot of visual stimulation as you stroll around the city. There is a myriad of delicious restaurants and extensive shopping.

Brick Sidewalks of Portland

Brick Sidewalks of Portland

My time in Portland is done for now. Off to San Diego, California.

Happy New Year to all!!!!

Merry Christmas from Portland, Oregon

I’ve arrived in Portland!

Air Travel – The rerouted flight went along without much trouble at all. The final leg of the flight was non-stop from Charlotte, NC to Portland, OR. The Airbus 321 departed only about 25 minutes late due to an issue with the paperwork. Seems some fuel was unaccounted for. Part of the delay was made up during the flight, despite a 136 knot headwind, and I arrived in Portland at about 9:15 pm. The first class seat was a welcome, and unexpected addition to the trip. The jovial lady taking care of the first class cabin was a veteran stewardess, professional, courteous, and witty. The dinner she served was barbecue beef, garden salad, shrimp cocktail, mixed vegetable (broccoli and carrots), and a dinner roll. The beef was tender and tasty, the veggies were a bit over cooked for my liking and the salad was getting a bit limp as might be expected having been prepared many, many hours earlier. Pairing with complimentary cocktails, vodka tonic was my choice du jour, rounded out a tasty meal for this hungry traveler. Things were looking up.

Arrival in Portland – By the time we landed I was feeling pretty exhausted, and experiencing that wired feeling you get from being over tired. My daughters met me at the airport to give me a ride to the hotel. Hugs and seasons greetings all around. We had not seen each other for many months and it was good to see them again. Our spirits were high and everyone was happy knowing we’d be together for Christmas.

Within an hour we arrived at the hotel. It’s usually a 20 minute ride but, due to distractions from conversation and the general euphoria of being together with family again, we missed an exit and took a bit longer sightseeing route. My youngest daughter was pretty tired and opted to head for home as we arrived at the hotel.  My eldest daughter, who lives about 12 blocks from the hotel in downtown Portland, opted to stay a little longer. We enjoyed a cocktail at the hotel lounge and chatted, catching up on what we’ve both been up to. After a half hour or so I walked her back to apartment and headed for the hotel.

It was now just after midnight here in Portland and I had been going for about 24 hours.  The king size bed was a welcome sight. I expected to be sound asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow but, it took over half an hour to finally fall asleep.  Five hours later I awoke. It was nearly 9:00 a.m. Eastern time (6:00 a.m. here in Portland) and my internal clock decided it was time to wake up. Oh well, I guess I’d have to catch up on sleep another day.

Christmas Eve – Ah, what to have for breakfast? I ventured out of the hotel to have a look around and see about finding something for breakfast. The first thing I saw were some street food carts directly across the street from the hotel. There was Mexican, Falafels, Greek, and a Thai food cart. A Thai food cart! Perfect I thought. I knew from researching about Thailand that I would be eating from Thai food carts very often, and very soon. I figured I may as well get started  and it would also give me a reference point to compare the carts in Portland to the carts in Thailand. Hmmm, not really what I had in mind for breakfast though. I opted to get an egg-roll for $3.00, and to keep looking for somewhere for breakfast. The egg-roll was tasty, but still cool in the middle, not quite long enough in the deep fryer.

Back at the Hotel, I stopped at the front desk for a recommendation for breakfast. The athletic looking young lady was more than eager to offer her opinion. After a short list of near-by eateries was discussed, I opted for her top pick of Tasty n Alder. It was a bit more than a mile walk through the streets of Portland but, as I discovered, more than worth the effort.

Tasty n Alder is one of the “diamonds in Portland” as a tourist put it that sat next to me as I enjoyed a fantastic breakfast. I had: Polenta & Sugo with mozzarella & over easy egg.

Polenta & Sugo with mozzarella & over easy egg

Polenta & Sugo with mozzarella & over easy egg

After breakfast I texted the gang and a plan for the day was set. We’d go for dinner and head to Peacock Lane to see the Christmas Light display. Apparently, the residents of Peacock Lane have been doing, and overdoing, Christmas light displays since 1920. A quick Google search will likely give you a bit more insight than I can offer here.

Dinner was at Thai Chili Jam.  A preview of the many Thai meals in my future. The food was excellent and the owner taught me a few new Thai phrases as a bonus. Life is good.

Christmas Day – I joined the family at their three bedroom apartment late in the morning. A cozy place on the first floor. In the living room was a natural Christmas tree with brilliant silver and blue ornaments and twinkling lights to set a festive mood. Beneath the tree were many cheery, brightly wrapped gifts with shiny gold and silver bows.

“A Christmas Story” marathon was playing on the TV as friends and family watched the traditional show. The air was filled with the aroma of Christmas dinner being prepared in the galley kitchen; a bone-in ham, with sides of scalloped potatoes, and corn. Christmas cookies made by Grandma, from old family recipes handed down from generation to generation, would finish the feast.

After dinner the younger generation played a multifarious board game called “Terra Mystica“. I watched as they moved their pieces and planned their strategy. My eldest daughter won in the end, and all declared the game to be exceptional.

It was truly wonderful to be able to spend Christmas with my children.