Monday, August 29, 2011

Oregon Trail: Portland

So if Oregon is all about the trees, Portland must surely be all about the bridges. And I thought the Bay Area had a lot!

We spent a couple days in Portland, and found we liked the city quite a bit.  It almost had a San Francisco vibe (hipsters, hippies and the just plain crazy), only it was cleaner, less confusing directionally, and the downtown light rail was free. Free! This poor MUNI prisoner was in heaven.

Anyway, upon arriving, we checked out the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
It reminded me of the Tech Museum in San Jose, which means we definitely enjoyed ourselves.  And though there are inevitably a lot of children at these types of museums, they aren't just for kids.  The exhibits are informative, and if you take time to really read through them, you'll find you learn a lot!
Giant mouse made with a bowling ball, and tons of "brain puzzles".
Seriously, they had patent books! I'm so glad they didn't give my man Tesla the Edison-shaft like he usually gets.
They had a Bodyworld-esque exhibit of fetus development that was just amazing.  It showed babies in each week of life, and though fascinating, it was also pretty somber knowing that it was the actual baby shown, and that the kids never made it for one reason or another. Obviously no pictures there.

No pictures allowed either for their special exhibit on gaming.  Let's just say Sak and I spent more than half the museum time there...playing old favorites of ours like Lemmings! It was basically a big arcade. Very popular.
They also have a submarine, though we didn't go inside.
For dinner, we went downtown to Thai Peacock.  I don't know why, but there is an abnormally high amount of Thai food in Oregon.  Not that I'm complaining though, it's delicious!
Pineapple fried rice! Yum yum.
Followed up by a visit to the exalted largest independent bookstore ever: Powell's.

It was a maze of fantastic finds, and I left with some postcards and a used Star Wars novel. I liked that they even had vintage maps and posters of Oregon, and a "rare books" section on the top floor.

The next day we had breakfast at Kettleman Bagel Company - Stumptown coffee and an Oregon lox bagel! Mouthwatering.

Then it was off to the zoo!
Loved all the little statues placed around the zoo.
Bobcat and bear!
If I were a zoo creature, I wouldn't mind living at the Oregon zoo. It was very green and spacious! They even let the bears climb up the trees!

Though I was bummed that the beaver family was sleeping, there were still lots of other animals out and about!
Wolf and giraffe!
Then I saw two meerkats in a bland little habitat with a water cooler for a home.

But it turns out these guys are senior citizens, and can't handle a steep termite mound. :P

After the zoo, we headed back downtown for lunch.
These water fountains were all over the place. Are they drinking fountains?
We ended up on a row of food trucks, where we had a Korean burrito and a horchata!

Then we kind of did the "wander" thing.  And I took my obligatory Chinatown photo.
This marks my 7th Chinatown location.  Someday maybe I'll go to real China.
Though, from what I saw, Portland's Chinatown was mostly restaurants.  A day later we returned to the area to do the Shanghai Tunnel Tour, which I loved-loved-loved.  Sak and I were huge fans of the Cities of the Underworld series on the History channel, and it was just like that! (Actually, I'm pretty sure it was an episode.) We went through the storefront service entrance manhole-thing, which we have a ton of in downtown SF.  Makes me wonder whether there is interesting bits of history in our underground lairs!

Not too far from Chinatown was the famed Voodoo Doughnuts!

Though I wanted to try all the weird ones, we stuck with a bacon maple bar and a classic voodoo doughnut.

Though the bacon maple bar looks really simplistic, it was amazing.  So amazing that I think next time I buy doughnuts I will put bacon on top of them. A definite, no-fail, food pairing. It was worth the line and prices for this place.

Though we only had a little taste of Portland, we definitely liked what we saw! I would definitely visit again, maybe for an anime convention? That would be fun!
Me and the world's smallest park. Nothing screams "tourist" than standing in the middle of a intersection and posing for a picture! :D  Thanks Marie for all your trip planning help!

Up next we had the long (but fun!) trip home.


  1. what a fun city! i had no idea. free public transportation? reason alone to visit.

  2. I've been following you since I fell in love with your Weddingbee posts (as you are AMAZING and so creative; plus I am also living in Cali, but want to get married in my hometown in Hawai'i), but crazy enough, I also do the Chinatown picture as well! I've only got five, but am inspired to travel more! :)
    Thanks for always posting amazing-ness!

  3. We love Portland and Marie is the best isn't she? I think Matt & I will have to use your post as a guide on our next visit- complete with worlds smallest park! :)

  4. I've never been to Portland, but have heard good things about it! I tried Stumptown coffee for the first time in New York, and it was so good! Love the animal photos, and the fact that you take pictures of yourself at the Chinatown gates wherever you go - what a fun souvenir!

  5. Haha so funny! The world's smallest park. you guys WOULD go to a tech museum on vacation! And a gaming exhibit?!?! Sign us up! :] Seems like lots of fun! I can't wait to visit Oregon's coast someday.

  6. Yay I am glad you had fun in my town! I love it when people come to visit and like it. And I'm glad I was able to be helpful!

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