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around downtown portland during a late november afternoon

Going away from home for a long time makes the homecoming sweet if the home is worth coming home to.

I relish the return. I was away from home for three months, I was missing my kitchen and the gadgets there and the meals I like to make, I was thinking of my favorite places to eat in Portland that I had not visited for some months, I was looking forward to conversations with family and friends in words heard and spoken and not written. The return is always sweet.

I must relearn how to live in the apartment. I must stop myself from speaking French to a server or a bus driver. I need to go shopping for food and resupply the pantry and that is always fun. The yoga classes must start and I must begin again the routine at the gym.

And, too, I want to wander the streets of Portland and remember. I was out and about the other day in the late November afternoon, capturing random moments that happened to draw my attention.

Portland, a foodie town, boasts hundreds of food carts. SW 9th and Alder might be considered the hub, the granddaddy of locations. Around one city block and extending along another it is the largest of the food cart pods. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Near SW Alder and Alder is O’Bryant Square—sometimes called Paranoid Park, Paranoia Park, Needle Park, or Crack Park—where many, including me, will take their lunches.

Some think it got its less-than-favorable names from the Blake Nelson young adult novel Paranoid Park and the 2007 Gus Van Sant film, based on the novel, which takes place in Portland, but Blake and Van Sant’s Paranoid Park is Burnside Skatepark.

The South Park Blocks is a wonderful long, narrow rectangle shaped park filled with elm, oak, and maple trees in the center of downtown Portland. It is the location for the popular Portland Saturday Market that is open every weekend from March to Christmas Eve. Portland State University is at one end. The Portland Art Museum lines part of one street. Portland Center for the Performing Arts is on the other side as well as the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall which is next door. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Looking up while standing in the center of Pioneer Courthouse Square one sees the modern glassy buildings hiding behind but dwarfing old ones. Look here turn there and one detects the modern shooting up while the aged squat. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Director Park is not a park. It is a concrete platform with a fountain, artworks, a cafe, and a glass canopy. In the fountain, where little kids wade during the summer, is a ball that commemorates teachers. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

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