Portland Day 1

Lan Su Chinese Garden
Originally uploaded by jesse.anne.o.
Guys, I didn't think I'd blog from Portland but since my boyfriend is at a conference the first 3 days we're here and I am both solo *and* a talker, I'm tapping away at my iPhone. (Sorr for all the typos! Autocorrect/spellcheck isn't kind!)

I am currently in NW Portland and thus far I'm not experiencing the euphoric Portland experience touted widely. It's like the entire homeless population of Golden Gate Park had a mass exodus to NW Portland? I've been asked for money in the last 24 hrs more times than I get hit up for change in NYC.

I headed out this morning looking for Voodoo Donuts and the Lan Su Chinese Garden (where I am now). I passed a bunch of transients/mentally ill folks (including a woman who had a bubbly giggle as she walked up to me to address me as "cutie" and not even ask me for change?) along with 2 big lines for mission handouts. When I hit Voodoo Donut there was also a line. It was like they asked everyone gainfully employed in this joint to support Voodoo Donuts at noon?

So I am chilling at the garden for a while and will try to attain vegan donuts later. I almost didn't pay the $9 to get into this 1-block garden but I have been trying to focus on *experiences* rather than purchases this trip. I had a mental meltdown last night when we arrived, we passed all these cute shops in SW Portland and my boyfriend kept mentioning "there's no sales tax!". And our hotel is 1 block from a Buffalo Exchange and "the quality of vintage is better put here".

I did buy 2 solid perfumes @ Whole Foods this morning when I shoppe for our incidentals - but I have been missing La'occitane's grapefruit citron solid perfume for a while.

I can't promise I'll stay strong the whole trip but I'm trying to keep London in mind. What's London got to do with it? Just a little 4 day trip I took a few years ago where I was so jazzed about the shopping opportunities that I barely soaked up anything culturally. While it's true that using a Lucky shopping guide did bring me to a lot of cute areas where we were exposed to "non-shopping" London by default, I shudder to think about planning a trip like that again. The one purchae from that trip I still know I have is a sacred heart ring from Crazy Pig that I wear daily. (I tried to buy a huge silver Zira ring to go with my NYC-purchased Dr Zaius ring but it was sized for man hands).

Anyway, wish me luck! I have been in the garden for well over an hour and I am heading out to see if vegan donuts will be available to me without waiting in line.


  1. Try to stop by the Kennedy School for a beer and a look around, it's such a unique place!

  2. I've heard that about the transients/homless population of Portland- could it really be worse than SF? Is it because the economy there is uh- to put it mildly not so hot?

    How is the garden/weather?

    Good luck with the donuts!

  3. it's like that where i moved from in arcata, too, with the spangers - they call them plazoids cuz they generally congregate on the plaza which is where all the businesses are, where within a three block radius i was once asked for spare change 3 times. the local businesses were always complaining & scheming & they even banned drumming on the plaza at one point in an effort to reduce their presence. i found it refreshing when i visited nyc & was never hassled.

  4. I hope you get lots of great experiences, and I like your mentality - what I've found most about travel is that so few things are truly unique to where you are - things you couldn't otherwise acquire via some outlet on the internet -- so why not spend more time on the elements of the place that you can't find anywhere else.

    Have a wonderful time taking it all in!

    Chic on the Cheap

  5. Okay.
    Step 1.
    Go to any other part of Portland.
    It's a quad of "Areas".
    You are in the only posh/straight area of town.
    It's nice, but the East side is where it's at.
    Try Alberta street between MLK and 33rd.
    Hit up Zilla Sake where Allowe will make you the best vegan japanese curry you ever had.
    Try happy hour for a deal.
    Tiny's Coffee Shop on MLK has a killer bagel/cc/salmon/caper sandwich.
    Lots of chill shops/galleries. Art everywhere.
    Also AMAZING veg/vegan food at Vita cafe.
    oh! oh! and Tin Shed.

  6. Hey,

    I am heading to Portland next week, i'm hoping it's going to be good! I'm making a note of 'those tricks' recomendations above. But i hope you find lots of good things to do...and less crazys wandering around.

    Oh and if you need any more london tips let me know (i went to the cutest Veggie Cafe called Mildreds this week in Soho) xx

  7. @anon - thank you! I'm trying to head over that way tomorrow (Sun). I've heard 2 people mention it so far.

    @Allisun - I know, I think it's funny that everyone thinks NYC is so bad but it's not nearly this bad.

    @Lyddie - thanks!

    @those tricks - thank you and yes I'm avoiding spending time on the W side at this point! I will try all of those - I accidentally walked in Tiny's from the guide I had anyway but they were light on the vegan options. I've heard good things about Tin Shed and Vita!

    @kathy - thanks! Hopefully I'll keep finding better stuff as the days go on so hopefully you'll be able to use some of them!


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