Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Portland: A Great Place! A Very Fun Weekend!

As I had hyped in previous posts, my Memorial Day weekend was spent in Portland, Oregon. The reason for the trip was my friend Ben Deschuytter's wedding, which took place on Sunday morning. In addition to the wedding, there were many events throughout the 3-day weekend that I will highlight below through explanation and of course... pictures.

I arrived in Portland around 5pm on Friday after an on-time and painless flight. Dylan was kind enough to take the 40 minute tram ride to meet me at the airport. This saved me the time and effort of having to figure out where to go and what to do in order to get to his house, and allowed us to hang out on the stop-filled tram ride back into the city that featured the Rose Garden; a.ka. the future home of Greg Oden and the Portland Trailblazers.

After a 10 block walk from the nearest tram station, we made it to Dylan's house. Regrettably, I didn't take any photo's of the inside of his place, which is very nice, but I did get this shot of the outside. Dylan and his four roommates have the 2nd and 3rd floors of the house. A two minute walk from his front porch are streets lined with coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and young people. Great spot.

That night Dylan and I went out to a few neat places in the city for dinner and drinks, and met up with one of his friends from Lewis & Clark Law school.

Saturday morning we slept in and then headed out for what turned out to be a 5+ mile walk all over Portland, including the beautiful park above the city that features these spectacular views (click to enlarge):

The later part of the walk that I don't have images of was spent walking around the blocks of the city and some of the nicer neighborhoods with huge amazing houses on tree lined streets with lush, green, yards.

Saturday night I left Dylan for the wedding schedule. Ben's Parents reserved a floor on a boat in the Willamette River - which is the river that bisects Portland into East Portland and West Portland. The boat ride consisted of meeting Ben's family, hanging out with Ben and his friends, dinner, speeches, and a very creatively composed slide show. Ben's best man Jacob is a video editor in LA and is fluent in many creative software programs. His slide show left many of us, including me, very impressed. Southward down the river we were able to see some spectacular multi-million dollar homes, which added a nice touch to the glamor of the evening. Here is what a few looked like, as well as some other shots of this night.

After the boat ride, three of Ben's friends (who also weren't a part of the 3-man wedding party) and I went out to a club/bar called Dixie's. We had a great time, and the best way to explain this place is by saying it had a remarkable resemblance to Coyote Ugly - yes, females were encouraged and very willing to dance on the bar.

The next morning after sleeping about four hours, we woke up and went to the wedding. Due to our lack of knowledge of the city and inability to understand complex directions, we turned a 30 minute drive into almost a full hour that was at times quite stressful. Luckily, we arrived at the 10:30 wedding at 10:31 and it didn't actually start until about quarter to 11.

The wedding was like no other wedding I had ever been to. I think this is mainly due to it taking place so early. As a result, there was no dancing, no MC, no alcohol, and the menu included bacon and eggs. Despite our heavy eyelids, the wedding was still very fun. The setting was pretty, the brunch was tasty, and we played a bingo trivia game regarding Ben and Kristi facts. Needless to say, I was much better at knowing the answers to the Ben-related questions, but my table had a Kristi expert so we did just fine. The wedding wrapped up at about 2pm.

Sunday evening I made it back to Dylan's house, where an old friend from Santa Rosa, Jason Pilgreen, met up with us. Before coming to Portland I had reached out to him letting him know I'd be in town. We hadn't seen each other since 2002, but had reconnected via MySpace over the past couple years. He left California several years ago to become a Duck at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Since college he has relocated to Portland. It was a lot of fun seeing Jason again, catching up, and seeing how well he is doing. Dylan came out with Jason and I before leaving for the Arcade Fire concert with one of his friends from school.

Jason was tired from a long weekend at Sun River for a bachelor party so he eventually dropped me off with Ben's friends, who were out at a few places in the city. Here is a group shot from later that night:

The weekend flew by and was full of fun times. I became very enchanted with Portland, a city I could definitely see myself living in. It's clean, beautiful, full of nice people, full of stuff to do, and is a great mix of city and small town. Yes, I realize that it rains quite frequently, but even with the rain, I still think it could be worth it. Plus, the rain keeps it clean and also keeps the price of living significantly lower than the much dryer California.

My flight home was Monday morning at 10:30am. Another on-time flight thanks to the great service at Alaska Airlines. The cool thing about flying in from the north on a clear day is being able to experience the magnificent view of the Bay Area. It was so cool I took out my camera to take some shots of San Francisco:

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