Thursday, October 10, 2019

And now, for something completely different . . . Portland!

Well, it's finally time for the Left Coast Sherlockian Symposium this weekend.

So forgive me if I take one blog post away from focus on Sherlock and John (or Holmes and Watson, if you're not on as intimate terms with them as some of us), and just talk about my first trip to Portland, Oregon. One of the great achievements of Sherlockiana in my life has always been getting me to go places I might not otherwise wander. And now Portland.

Flying in was a different experience . . . the individual snow-capped mountain or two (not like the Rockies), the great wandering river (not like the Mississippi), the near-water landing (not like La Guardia), and all the deep green between. Glad I grabbed a window seat for the first time out.

Since the streets seemed a bit complex for car rental, and I didn't want to take the light rail in, I went with the cab option (around forty bucks from the airport) and a cabbie with both a little crabbiness and a little language barrier (who still got the job done well enough), and made it to the University Place Hotel and Convention Center.

I don't believe I've ever been at a hotel quite like the University Place. Built around a triangular courtyard and pool area, it has that room-doors-that-open-to-the-outdoors thing, which might be a nice wake-up the temp hits the low forties and you open it to that morning chill.  As the name says, we're right next to the university, and right around the corner is an entire block of food trucks. With said autumn chill in the air, however, I chose dim sum at the Duck House for a little indoor dining tonight, which was equally close.

There are a variety of trams and light rail things to watch out for, in addition to cars, as you wander the streets of downtown, with it's variety of purveyors. This area is a mix of downtown and college town, and there's a market/deli a few blocks down with all sorts of curious little food things. (Dessert tonight was a little pack of little "Hello Panda" chocolate creme filled cookies. Mmm.)

But tomorrow morning will be the true exploration of the area: Both Powell's Books and Voodoo Donuts are about twenty minutes in the same direction, with maybe a stroll by the Raven and Rose to scout it out ahead of tomorrow night's opening festivities on the way back. But who knows what else one might stumble upon in this very non-standard place called Portland.

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