Monday, June 6, 2011

The Portland Chronicles!: Hipster Hunting and More Books than God Intended there to Be

Powell's City of Books in the Pearl District is the largest bookstore on Earth. Mere words cannot describe to you the monolithic literature housing facility that is Powell's. Imagine, if you will (which you won't), a brick building that eats up an ENTIRE block. Now imagine its reach towering five stories into the sky. From travel topics (detailed info on every state, country, and many cities... because they can), to an entire aisle devoted to atheist philosophy, to every Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/Star Wars/any book of cultural significance in dozens of different languages, Powell's covers every single vast expanse of topics that exists in human thought. I myself spent long hours in the mountaineering, Christianity, Judaism, travel, botany, and sociology departments. Each department was made of multiple aisles, and nearly any author I was searching for could be found in some capacity in Powell's.

Nob Hill is a residential district that houses many small curiosity shops and restaurants. When I say houses, I am being more literal than usual. Most of these businesses exist in actual houses! It feels like a small town, and yet the cultural scene explodes to life in the Nob Hill and Alphabet districts. Everybody, from stereotypical hipsters (hate mail, bring it), to elderly fitness gurus, to an abundance of talented entrepreneurs, coexist in this small community. I found myself most enjoying Tea Chai Te and their lovely collection of teas (kiwi milk teas are delicious!).

I'll try to keep them rolling. Tonight, the Storyline Conference starts!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Portland Chronicles!: Or, just how lame of a name can I come up with?

I'm currently in Portland for the next several days to attend Donald Miller's Storyline conference. And because I can somehow improbably find more time to type on vacation than my full days in Wyoming, I decided to attempt to... dare I say... chronicle it? So over the next several days I'll be releasing some hopefully quirky snippets about my time in the Northwest to, in the end, remind you all that I am an annoyingly eclectic writer.

The Willamette river is perhaps the most striking feature of Portland. Its waters are serene, and the many riverwalks alongside are well cared for and are in constant use. My travel-companion and I enjoyed some pasta at a restaurant near the Willamette last night to celebrate our first day in Portland, spending our hours viewing the boating community. The boats would slowly glide down the unperturbed watercourse, and the smiles on the skippers' faces told the entire story of the Willamette, one of peace and delighted respect for nature's gifts. Nature and city were woven together in their finest when Portland founded itself alongside its banks those many years ago, and the citizens of Portland are quite fortunate to call the Willamette their own!

We happened to (coincidentally) be in Portland whilst the downtown area celebrated the annual Rose Festival. Founded in 1907, the Rose Festival brings distinction to Portland through the celebration of the seasons and of life. Thousands of denizens swell up the downtown metro for several weeks of jubilation in celebration of Portland, ranging from the local independent brewery scene, to the cultural liberalism that so separates Portland from the culture of the rest of the nation. We might just be attending today (only to represent Wyoming of course... *wink, wink*).

So there's a small highlight of the events of our first day here. More posts are to follow, so Heath (said traveling-companion) and I will be more than happy to give you a more in depth rundown via email.

Enjoy summer!