Monday, June 27, 2011

Where's the Bicycle Park?

I think that's the phrase I've heard most here in Portland because everyone rides a bike here and every place of business has a place to park and lock bikes.

Well, I've been in Portland for about a month now and whoa is this place for me.  My first thoughts were that this city is a lot like Boulder, but in Metropolitan form.  There are even "Keep Portland Weird" bumper stickers, which I saw first in Boulder.  Residing all within the same city limits are hippies, yuppies, naturalists, liberals and businessmen.  Strip clubs are hidden around the corners across from Buddhist temples and yoga studios.  People are proud of their locally produced products and there not only are recycling trash days, but compost days too.  The level of friendliness is off the radar here (I suspect because winters are rainy and dreary and everyone has to find a way to keep warm), but the summers are mild and happy.  All and all, I haven't wasted a day of my unemployed bliss here in Portland; there's been A LOT to explore.

The great thing about Portland is that you can be shopping at the mall one minute and find yourself walking amid old giants the next, secluded from all city life.  The parks that lie within Portland totally take you away from the city streets and hide you among tall trees and flourishing ferns.  It really is incredible.  So far I've visited Tryon State Park and Forest Park.

I've also ridden my bike quite a bit along bike paths that take you along the river into downtown and around the city.  Biking is the best way to get around in a new one honks their horns at you.

I've gotten up above the city for a view of the volcanoes you can see on clear days: Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier.

Oregon is also wine country and so of course we've done a wine tasting tour!  My very good friend from Tahoe, Katie, moved to Oregon and we all met to get a little tipsy.  Andrea, Omar, their friend Scott, Katie and I vineyard hopped and enjoyed the incredible views while learning about wine.

The Columbia River Gorge is also a stunning sight (only 45 mins away from Portland!) and I've only camped one night there so far and did two hikes, all spectacular enough to keep me coming back for more.

I'm also attending meditation evenings at a nearby center, which is a new experience for me. With all this free time on my hands I figured I should try to better my mind with some new practices.  I'm trying to better my health too with running and exercise, but Oregon has this damn good chocolate peanut butter ice cream from a local creamery, Tillamook, that is IMPOSSIBLE TO RESIST!!!

And living with Andrea and Omar has been amazing.  We play trivia on Wednesdays, basketball in the park, cook dinners for each other and they've gotten me hooked on LOST.  It was wonderful attending Andrea's Bridal Shower and hilarious partying at her Bachalorette party.  Her friends have adopted me and I feel quite at home here  Oregon has a balance of it all!

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