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.) But wait, there’s more!
The other day I rode the Portland Aerial Tram. Even though it has been a feature of the city skyline since January 29, 2008, it was the first time I had taken the ride to the Oregon Health & Science University in the hills above Portland.
According to the publicity for the Tram, the cabins “travel 3,300 linear feet from South Waterfront to Marquam Hill. Traveling at 22 miles per hour, the Tram cabins rise 500 feet during the four-minute trip. Each of the two cabins have a capacity of 79 people, including the operator. The Tram operates load-n-go. If you miss one, expect another in just a few minutes.”
I started at the bottom at the Willamette River where all the machinery was built to take me up and up away. For hikers it is a part of the 4T trail, which I was doing that day. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.) But wait, there’s more!
“There is absolutely no greater high than challenging the power structure as a nobody, giving it your all, and winning!” ―Abbie Hoffman
“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” ―Mahatma Gandhi
I spend the winters in Antibes, France, a small town on the French Riviera. Not far from Antibes is the smaller coastal town Golf-Juan where the King of Saudi Arabia owns a villa on the water front with access to a public beach.
Recently, the king and his entourage decided to spend three weeks there. A summer vacation it was to be. For security reasons, he closed off the public beach and without a permit built a temporary scaffolding to the beach. Mistake.
Needless to say his actions did not go unnoticed. Petitions were signed. Les citoyens ne l’ont pas accueilli avec de grandes manifestations d’amitié. Non, pas de tout.
The French will forcefully take sides, as the United States discovered during the months leading to the invasion of Iraq. In our own history we have learned that neutrality helps the oppressor but seldom the victim, and that one’s silence will encourage the tormentor but seldom the tormented.
But wait, there’s more!
Portland, Oregon likes its parades. It really likes the Junior Rose Festival Parade, which winds through the Hollywood neighborhood in early June each year.
Marching bands. Children in colorful costumes. Dance teams, some twirling batons. Floats. Bikes decorated in many colors Kids come from all over Portland and from parts of Vancouver.
The 2015 Grand Marshall was Spider-Man, himself. Portland felt honored that he could find the time from his daily life as a superhero and agree to join the children as they celebrated the coming of summer and the end of the school year.
The parade is so popular that families begin reserving spots along route early in the day by placing chairs and blankets on the sidewalks. (For the Grand Floral Parade they pitch tents and camp over night. For a short time, Portland streets become a large homeless encampment.)
But wait, there’s more!