What would I like to talk about first?
(Organize by events?)
Portland is still a curious mystery. The initial arrival into the city had me thinking it was sort of unimpressive. I crossed the Columbia River in Vancouver, the north end in Washington, and everything looked like just another ordinary city.
But continuing south on the freeway, taller buildings opened up on the horizon on a small hill which looked to be the real heart of Portland.
So this brings up point number one: Portland really is this small isolated city, and surrounding it is lots of the civilized wasteland of America that consists of mostly nothing. It seems to create this pocket, because wandering around Portland, you don’t feel the busyness of the outside world. It remains distinctly Portland, and a small feel that can allow you to not feel claustrophobic or surrounded. (In fact, walking around on the East Side, you borderline forget that the rest of the world is there). The traffic sucks and is not fun to drive in, but I was just informed upon coming to the hostel tonight (Tuesday the 26th) that the public transportation in the area is really good, that in addition to the busses, which I saw one cute girl with bangs get on earlier this evening, there are some cool trains that are cheap and easy to maneuver with (I have since ridden a bus, and yes it is quite nice and easy. Sadly, no cute girls with bangs on my bus…bangs…bus…bangbus…heh).
But I didn’t start out in Portland. I started in the Columbia Valley River Gorge area. I wanted to do some hiking in this area of majestic-looking photographs, and as I drove along highway 14 along the the river, there was some very pretty scenery of the gorge. I stopped off at this locking causeway dam to use the bathroom, started singing the Goldeneye James Bond theme song, and there I found out that just across the highway from the dam was where a section of the Pacific Crest Trail cut through. Fuck YES that was PERFECT.
(MORE on the gorge and PCT…)
I headed up the hill looking for a cafe to look out over the Portland area and chill and write and drink a coffee. I never found a cafe, but I did find an awesome forest called Washington Park (Or Mcklennan Park, or Forest Park? I would ask people later about the park on the hill on the west side, and they never fucking agreed on what the name was) that had these mossy stairs (*picture of staircase*). I wandered these woods with other exercisers and nature-goers. Found an Indian statue titled “Coming of the White Man,” and these Indians looked pointedly on alert, haha.
At the top of the park, I found a dude and chick who were bicycling. As I approached them while they were stopped, she put a miniature boom box in his back bicycle pouch that played music. Hell yeah.
Coming out of the park, I found a construction man who assured me that if I followed the road under construction, I would loop back down to the main city area. I followed this loop around what appeared to be a giant hole in the ground with a giant wall. I asked a construction chick what she was making: “What are you making?” and she got confused. “What am I making?” And I said “Well, your group. You are a part of it, right?” I at least wanted her to feel like a contribution to whatever bigness was going on, haha. And she said it was a renovation of the dam I think. Which is kind of interesting, because I think I heard there are a lot of dams at work in the area being built or restored, and maybe some nature people are opposed to the environmental impact or something. Personally I don’t know. Dams are impressive looking structures and a neat source of power, and a really cool scene in the James Bond film “Goldeneye,” but a big part of me wonders if it is like rivers are veins and arteries of a continent, and if you are damming them, then no good can come of that (just like in your body).
(Although….Beavers build dams and that seems to be ok…and water seems to have an uncanny ability to just redirect itself and follow new courses wherever it goes…so maybe dams aren’t bad, I dunno…but Beaver dams are SMALL, and very UNobtrusive to the flow of the river, and while dams may not be harmful to the river or water, they *may* be harmful to the land, just like damming veins or arteries isn’t bad for your blood, it would probably be bad for your body. ANYWAYS…)
Then I came out of the above and down back into the main city. Great.
And so the above hilly area was awesome. Reminded me of The Goonies in the beginning where they all live. Very iconic of the Pacific Northwest I think with the hills and mossy trees of the Ewok home and the *coolest shaped houses in the U.S.,* many of which can look almost like castles. (Maybe it’s a hybrid of traditional New England Houses with Southern Plantation Houses and Southern Coastal Houses? That seems like a fairly accurate description). However, I knew this area was probably for the rich fockers, which my Lyft driver accurately described later as “Yuppies.” Those people with big money from elsewhere coming to cool places. The houses still looked neat, and someone’s front garden smelled SO WONDERFUL (LOTS of neat houses in East Portland too…some almost with yes a very much ‘swampy’ feel that was also apparent in Wilmington, NC…so that’s interesting).
Came back toward my hostel because I could tell I needed to use the bathroom. Good thing too because it was getting ready to rain, so my umbrella in the trunk of my car finally got some awesome use.
Ate breakfast at the hostel. Got a little mentally lost browsing the internet’s future plans for my upcoming road trip and stuff. Muddled my noggin’ good. Shits. Finally left to clear my head and began wandering toward Powell’s Book Store, a famous used book store in Portland. Browsed the books, spent too much time and muddled my head again, haha, but thankfully I ended up turning down 2 of the 4 books I had in my hand (I really have no business getting 4 books, seriously). Left to clear my head and wander further.
Made my way down to what I think was Old Town. Saw Voodoo Donuts and yes, they had the line. So no, I wasn’t going to wait. One dude complimented my “Salt Pouch,” which technically I guess that is what it might have been intended for in the store I bought it, and other people like to call it a “fanny pack” or “purse,” but after hearing the name pouch, I think I liked that, but henceforth it is my “Jones Pouch,” aptly named for Indiana Jones. (Traditionally I have viewed it in a military-esque fashion as something for my missions or operations, but Jone’s exploration is much better I think. At least for now).
I tell him thank you, but then he wants a dollar. “No thanks,” I say, and continue further. Looking for a cafe or place to have lunch, I wander, and eventually cross a bridge over into Portland on the other side of the river, which I would come to learn is quite different). Spent a lot of time on the middle of the bridge taking in the awesome views up and down the river with the rain lightly falling while holding my umbrella and the rumbling of the bridge under my feet as traffic pounded over. A good moment that I was hesitant to leave.
Started wandering the eastern side of the river. First thing I ran into was a small glaive with a tree in the middle and some of those balancing stones. And above the glade, EVEN MORE stones (*See two pictures*) These balancing stones are seemingly massively popular across the sates (and maybe the globe? I dunno), mostly I think with new-age-neo-spiritual crowds. And I fucking hate them. Haahah. I think they are pretentious as fuck, and happily when I saw a few by the river in Spokane, I kicked them all over. YES!!! (If you see these stones, I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about, like they give you the impression that you think you really shouldn’t knock them over, like it would be sacrilege to someone else’s creation or whatever, but I happily read some Forest Ranger’s article that “No, we do not want you to create balancing stones. Please leave them as they lie.” Haha. And I like to knock over people’s metaphorical “pretentious stones).” I DID NOT, however, knock over these stones because there was some homeless looking dude in the glade, and I don’t need to piss off the local hipsters too much too quickly (although I DID tear off one of their “EATING ANIMALS” bumper stickers ‘cleverly’ placed on a STOP sign haha). It’s not like I felt anything spiritual about the glade, and that is what I thought it was made to look like, but in case it is a meaningful spot, I’m not right away wanting to jump in and fuck with it either and earn some animosity of some spirits. (I’ve actually been running up against lots of PETA people in recent months or years, so either their movement is growing, or maybe I should experiment with not eating animals for a month or so, see how my body and mind reacts. The point is that gorillas don’t eat meat and they are still beastly fucking boys).
After the stone debacle, I shortly came to what I will call the “Hawthorne District” (based upon the other Hosteling International Hostel that is over there) and I decided to make the other Hostel my general destination in a roundabout fashion.
And it was wandering over here still pondering this mystery and confusion and curiosity that was Portland that some beginning solid idea began to take hold. It was “If Portland were a color, then it would be like a dull orange, like a faded rust color, almost a brown. But rust in a positive sense, which is hard to pinpoint.” Conveniently, around this time there were some perfect pictures to help illustrate the idea that was forming. So rust in a positive way, like maybe an old heirloom that is ready to be polished off. Or a brown, where it would be a combination of a great many things and colors, but mixed together in a sort of confusing sense. (*See two pictures, building and orange puddle*).
So yeah, it was definitely positive (albeit nothing so glorious), and I began to feel that maybe Portland itself had a vague or confusion notion about itself, which I came to love as more time and pondering went on because I thought that matched me rather well, and this is perhaps why I was having difficult pin-pointing how I felt about its murkiness because I have the same struggle in myself, and for anyone that has given it any effort whatsoever, it can be a struggle to pinpoint and get a feel for who they really are.
Some examples of this brown confusion of mixture – the yuppies on the hill. The obvious Far Left Liberals with the BLM and Impeach Trump signs, and interestingly enough a strong element of “Resist” Movement that seems like some sort of Feminist thing, although likely radicalized to some degree, like they want to see themselves as soldiers or something. [TOO funny that we played “Resistance” last night, and DOUBLY fun(ny) and interesting that EVERY game I was a SPY hahhhah]. But add to this the amount of strip joints, including the one I went to last night where the bouncer was happy to be open about his support of Trump. He said that someone once asked if he was nervous about voicing it in this environment, but he was like “I’d like to see them step up” (because as a bouncer should be, he was a big solid dude who is not afraid, and likely eager, to see someone want to fight him). Not that he will go looking for a fight (unless maybe he’s drunk?), but he is more than happy to have one come his way I suppose.
(And this was the second time that I’d heard Conservatism wasn’t THAT unheard of in the Portland area. Just at a wedding I was at in Spokane, my good friend and old roommate John said he was definitely interested in the Portland area, and he is about as Texas conservative as you can get, although he is an intellectual too, and a fairly good open-minded thinker).
ANYWAYS, can’t explain too much of the intuitive feelings I get of places and people, because likely it is like:
- Doesn’t make enough sense to people, and I don’t like trying to explain those things if people aren’t going to get it anyways and
- It might be like a Joke, where if you try to explain it, it won’t be funny. Like the explanation might TAKE AWAY from the sense of it.
I continued wandering on and the Hawthorne District was awesome, my favorite, which I wasn’t expecting because it didn’t have the hills. It was more flat, but far more “small town college” feel of lots of beautiful trees and scenic walking areas, quiet. Probably more of a cultural and creative side, (where the west end of the river was more money, yuppies, tourists, and partiers. Funny enough, my Lyft driver later pretty much confirmed this. Which was NICE to witness, because I’m really good with this shit, even if I still lack much confidence in the work. She said she even picks up so many people from the east side of the river to take them home back across the river to the west side haha). Found the best vintage clothing store in the world where I only had a short time inside, but found a great jacket that was described as “Sexy, stylish, vintage Navy harbormaster jacket.” Perfect long blue lighter coat for spring/summer with gold buttons. I think I’ll have to go back there tomorrow if I have time because there were so many other potential treasures.
So Portland…after 1.5 days…it is still ‘City of Mystery,’ but not mystery as “big glowy mysterious” but mystery as maybe in “Archaelogical site” or gemstone in the dirt or something…there is much to be unearthed here I think. Even my hike yesterday when I found the Pacific Coast Trail was symbolic in that it’s an amazing epic hike far off from what mainstream America would do, and yet I crossed this cool ass bridge called “Bridge of the Gods” that had no pedestrian way, so you’re blaringly crossing right next to cars, and I imagine this would feel shockingly disjointed for anyoen that truly hiked the PCT for months on end. A shellshock with civilization. And yes even when I crossed, there was a small tourist town I went down into because there was a park right on the river below I spotted, but the town felt really out of place with the rest of the hike.
Thus, Portland is this tiny little spot in the midst of a sprawling mass of rest of city that is a city of not really anything. And so far it creates a nice strange little bubble that I can’t quite put my finger on yet. And again, it’s not like a strong driving curiosity, those things which are EASY to follow, like a big cave or old castle or whatever, but more like a ‘quiet riddle?’ (Maybe like a painting that catches your eye for some unbeknownst reason you don’t know why, but you find yourself just staring at it for hours, seeing more and more? Hmm…
Departing Portland this morning. I added a *tiny few* notes above this morning to clarify some points, and did some small edits. One thing I forgot to mention was on my first night in Portland, walking around it seemed like it was really “dark,” like not well lit. Not sinister dark, not dangerous dark (although I’m sure those elements exist – I’ve heard tales of various break-ins, so that seems popular), but I have decided it is ‘shadowy dark,’ which I absolutely love. And oddly enough someone I asked about this didn’t seem to think it was dark at all. So maybe it was just me noticing this, maybe not. But maybe the dark and the shadows also have something to do with helping keep it a mystery and a bubble.
I learned there is also a solid occult community in the area which I am excited about. My barber/hairstylist yesterday named Lida, who would be PERFECT for my future beard and hairstyle (she mentioned “Skullet or Jedi Rat-tail,” which I thought would be awesomely perfect for my future).
I also found Mt. Tabor, a giant hill-mound in East Portland that just kind of rizes up out of nowhere, but is really neat for views and stepping out into nature for a bit. And walking more in East Portland, yes definitely confirm a good small town feel. Many many many blocks and streets over there are super chill and easy and pleasant to stroll down.
And Portland feels less rusty this morning. I think that analogy still really fits for some days and areas maybe, but it may be changing. CLAY might be a better image for it? Hmm…lots of cool mossiness everywhere though, so can’t ignore that part. And overlooked, unappparent mystery that doesn’t necessarily dazzle but slowly draws one in is still rather fitting. (Like a good hike? Hmm…)
ANYWAYS…that’s about it.
- Final Notes
Last night at the titti club, so many girls and so few guys, overwhelming haha felt like my eyes were popping out, wanting to look everywhere, not just at the scandily clad or naked girls, but at the dynamics and the situation and the environment…who the people were, how they were reacting, etc. Also kind of curious to watch the stripper in the way she moves her whole body and form, rather than just watch her eyes, boobs, ass or pussy.
But more importantly, when I got dropped off by my cool Lyft driver back at the hostel, some either drunk or crack-dude stumbling about tried to talk to me or ask me a question, and I do what is best and completely ignore them and not give them attention, but he kept persisting and trying to ask and talk to me, and when he recognized I wasn’t going to talk to him, I heard a loud “FUCK YOU” before I got in the hostel and gently closed the locked door behind me lol.
Which brings up a side note is that while in Portland, I noticed a lot of people yelling at different times. So I wonder if it is a yelly city, or just something I was queuing in on while I was here for a few days. I mean the yelling would make sense if they really do strong radical groups…