Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Like A Heatwave

We arrived at our Portland hotel at 10:30 in the morning.  As soon as the valet opened my car door, I could tell something big was happening.  The valet was all atwitter.  There was an energy in the air.  Everyone in front of the hotel seemed nervous about something.

I was not nervous.  I was stoked.  And tired.  We'd gotten up at 5 a.m. because our flight left at 7.  We'd booked this crazy flight because it was last minute and we had to.  We were supposed to drive up but that didn't happen. (See earlier post for the tragic details.)  Anyway, I was ready to see Portland.  I wanted to drop off our crap and walk around the city.

"Where can we get a good brunch walking distance around here?"  Tim asked.

"Weeellll," the valet said, "Mother's is a great place for brunch but it's almost a mile from here and we're in the middle of a crazy heat wave!"

Dude looked truly freaked out.  The high in Portland that day was supposed to be 103 degrees.  Apparently that doesn't happen up there, like, ever.

But, we're used to Texas heat.  We've walked around Austin in 105 degree weather with 50% humidity.  Whatev, I thought.  We're doing this.  So, we dropped off our bags and hit the streets in search of food.  We went to Mother's, ate a good meal, then sat playing with our iPhones, both of us looking up tourist attractions in downtown Portland.

We decided to hit Powell's Books first.  Mainly because that's the thing I wanted to do the most and the thing Tim wanted to do the most was to keep me happy and avoid any meltdowns due to sleep deprivation.  (I'm like a toddler when traveling.  Keep me fed and entertained and I'm lovely.  If I'm hungry or bored,  you might have to put me in time out.)  It was another three quarters of a mile to Powell's but it didn't seem that hot to us.  We scoffed at the wimpy people of Portland and their "heatwave."  Heatwave?  Ha.  We weren't even sweating and we were walking all over the place.

I loved Powell's.  I wandered around in a lovely haze for almost an hour.  I did everything but fall on the floor and cry, I was so happy.  It's simply the biggest, craziest, most labyrinth-like bookstore I've ever been in.  (There's an app to guide you through the stacks, it's so large.)  Floor to ceiling books.  Used books.  New books.  Hardback books.  An entire section for Hemingway and so many different versions of Anne Rice books on the Anne Rice shelf that I had to Instagram it!  The children's section alone is three times the size of my local bookstore.  It's glorious.

After Powell's, we decided to walk around.  We looked in shops and got a feel for the downtown area. Portland is clean and lovely.  There's a river and loads of bikers.  There's a chill vibe in the air.  I felt myself begin to relax and forget about the missed first part of our trip and the fact that I still felt a little wonky from the flu we'd had earlier in the week.  We were having a lovely time exploring and then all of a sudden, around 3 p.m., we were hot.  We were really hot.  We were heatwave hot!  I felt bad for laughing at the locals and we sought refuge from the sun in a bar/brewery called Rouge.

The thing about Portland, I quickly learned, is that it's just not outfitted for heat.  If it's over 100 degrees in Texas, you can duck into any store, bar or restaurant and be blasted with some sweet sweet A/C.  But they don't normally need A/C in Portland so most places don't have it.  So we sweated our way through a couple of drinks in the hot little bar and decided to head back to the hotel for a couple of hours until it cooled off a bit.

We arrived back at the hotel much worse for wear.  I swear I heard the valet whisper, "I told you so," as I walked past him covered in sweat with red cheeks.  It took me an hour in the air conditioning, a shower, a large Figi water and half of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on cable to recover.

But, despite the weather, I fell head over heels in love with the city on our trip.  It really is like that one show makes it out to be.  I mean, Portland is a lot of awesome things.  It's books and doughnuts and beer.  It's cute boys in hats and old people on bikes and pretty girls with lots of pretty tattoos.  It's healthy food mixed with pizza.  (You can get vegetarian/vegan options pretty much anywhere.) It's fancy coffee and designer clothes worn with comfort sandals.  It's a 50 mph speed limit so you can look at the gorgeous trees.  Plus, a lot of people I love live up there.  It's pretty perfect.

And so, I came back thinking we should move there or at the very least plan to retire there.  But then I found out that it gets cold in the winter.  Like, cold cold.  Like, I'd have to buy gloves and fuzzy hats and (gasp) a real coat to live there!  I don't do cold.  If I have to put on anything heavier than my pleather jacket in L.A., I cry a little.  Once Tim took me snowboarding in Sun Valley and I was only happy in the lodge drinking hot toddies.  The rest of the time I spent dramatically rubbing my hands together and exclaiming, "HOW CAN IT BE ZERO DEGREES?!  SHOULDN'T THAT BE ILLEGAL?!"

So, yeah, not moving to Portland.  Probably not retiring there either.  But, I'm definitely for sure planning on visiting frequently because it's just an awesome town filled with awesome people and awesome food.  I'll just make sure I visit in the summer.  The non-heat-wavy summer.

*Thanks to Laurel & Lily, The McKimmys and The Dombrowskis for showing us around!