i have adventures (sometimes)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Day of the Experimental Roses

I went to the laundromat and the machine texted me when my laundry was done. It texted me. We really do live in the future. To my disappointment, I just had to wait for the dryer in the normal way.

With my clothes clean and my day off to a slow start yesterday, I decided to have lunch before going adventuring, and walked down to the Bay Leaf for a disappointing sweet and sour mango tofu.

Less sweet and sour, more mango and tofu please.
Then it was off to Washington Park for adventures in trees and roses! I started at Hoyt Arboretum, which is like a great big zoo of trees, which makes it better than other zoos in several respects, and I loved it.

The road goes ever on and on.
ADVENTURE. (In my new second-hand magical pixie adventure dress.)
Dead or just sunbathing?
I didn't have time to spend all day there, as I would have liked, so I picked the Redwood Trail, as those sounded like the most interesting trees.

They didn't have really huge redwoods, but they were still pretty massive. I was pleasantly awed. They also made for an excellent epic setting for my journey from my obscure village to where I would use my newly-discovered powers to help defeat the threat to the kingdom. The dress seemed to demand that the powers be newly-discovered, but I felt like I really developed as a character along the literal and symbolic road.

I'm sorry, I've done a lot of English Lit in my time.

But happy traffic might.
I picked up a hitchhiker!
The trail eventually brought me out at the International Rose Test Garden. I don't know anything about gardening, so I can only assume that a small number of roses sometimes grow into triffids or otherwise present a danger to the planet, which is why they need a secure facility to test them out.

Caution: experimental rose growing.
Any one of these could bite your head off.
I'd managed to go very quickly from "I could walk in these trees and have adventures forever!" to never wanting to let my poor feet touch the ground again, but I wasn't about to miss out on Powell's, so, apologising to my feet, I got them to take me there.

Powell's is as big as an entire city block, full to the brim with a totally overwhelming number of new and second-hand books. The shop has its own map.

Since I'm travelling and shouldn't be buying books anyway, I restricted myself to the sci-fi and fantasy section, which was enough to keep me going for well over an hour. I spent a good deal of time ricocheting around, following the helpful "If you like X, then you may like Y" signs from my favourite authors to ones I hadn't heard of.

Guide me, o wise recommendation labels.
I always judge books by their covers. It's why I hardly ever read sci-fi.
At last, after some time browsing books in the coffee shop, I settled on a comic fantasy I'd been bounced to by "If you like Terry Pratchett...", and relinquished the others. I figured that I couldn't really justify buying more than one, since they're mainly for emergency use if my Kindle battery dies while I'm travelling, and I'll have to give them away before I go home anyway. But Powell's still got a little of my money and a lot of my love.

I was determined to get going early today, after completely failing to do so every other morning in Portland, but I had another night of vivid dreams, further interrupted by the weird cat, who had somehow managed to get stuck in my room. The walls are thin here, and I assumed the noise was just a bear or a dragon or something outside the window, and it took me way too long to realise that the call was coming from inside the house, and get up and let the poor thing escape. Presumably back to behind the stove.

One day I'll sleep all the way through a night again. Those were good days.

But I did finally manage to get dressed and get to the Portland Saturday Market. There wasn't much for me there, since it was mostly fancy artsy stuff, but there were some interesting characters around.

I gave him spare change.
Citation needed.
The marketplace preacher was slightly less interesting than the guy shouting about the end times I'd seen the day before, but he had a pretty good rant going. I didn't snort with derision until he mentioned "evolution theory" as one of the many reasons we're all going to hell. If anything's dooming the human race, dude, it's the fear of science (well, and those evil atheists and gays).

Fed up with Jehovah's Witnesses, Judy finally began construction on the moat.
I went to the Farmers' Market next, where I had a bit more success in that I found vegan pizza and brownies and no one told me I was going to hell. But I did find myself suddenly and irrationally grumpy. I grumped through Chinatown and around downtown for a bit longer, but all the tourist spirit had gone out of me. I reflected on the number of hipsters, and came to the realisation that Portland, a bit like Cape Town, seems to be very self-conscious about being Portland. I think it might describe itself as rad.* I feel like living here would be exhausting. I'd probably have to grow a beard.

(An even more accurate song about Portland, also via Eugene.)

Or maybe that's just the bad mood talking. I probably shouldn't be eating this much sugar.I'm sure Portland and its people are lovely and genuine. Maybe they all just have really cold chins.

I felt better after an iced tea at Sweetpea, then spent a totally ridiculous amount of money at Food Fight!, once I'd overcome my panic at once again being in a shop where I could buy everything. I reasoned that I had to spend a lot of money, because I had a coupon that would give me 20% off on purchases over $20, and I have a 20-hour train ride ahead of me. The confluence of all these different twenties obviously meant that it was fated for me to spend a lot of money on snacks.**

Lentil chips and pumpkin seeds and stroopwafels, oh my!
Fully prepared with snacks, tomorrow I board the train to Santa Clara to see my good friend Brianne. I can't promise what sort of condition I'll be delivering myself in after a trip that long, but the train was way cheaper than flying, and I figured that the discomfort would make for a more interesting blog entry. (You're welcome, internet.)

So, next up, California!

Unless the experimental roses get us all first.

*And I do realise that I reflect on the annoying hispterishness of Portland as a dreadlocked vegan in an entirely second-hand outfit.
**Citation needed.


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