Portland, Baby!

June 21, 2001

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136-3632.jpg (46363 bytes)136-3659.jpg (46438 bytes)After waking up late we headed straight south on I-5 to Portland. It is an open secret that Portland is my favorite city in the US, and not only because they have the largest photo store of the west coast and no sales tax. Somehow, Portland and vicinity reminds me of home, as it is green, has weather, public transport -- all things rather unknown in the SF Bay area. Earlier this month when I got to the office with my Green Card stamp in the passport my friend Genevieve's first reaction was "so, looked at the job listings in Portland yet?" 

Not so fast; first we had to stop at Jet Chevrolet, south of Seattle, right off I-5, exit 142B I think. I don't want a Chevy, mind you, but I needed to take some pictures in their parking lot. Yesterday from the freeway I spotted a fighter plane there, an old Sukhoi SU-22 with Czech insignia. So today first task was to waste some bits on this relic from my home land. Back 30 years ago, who would have thought that this machine, protecting us from the claws of imperialism, would end up in some capitalist's parking lot, intriguing customers and passers-by? Hehe. I just wonder how much it cost them, plus shipping.

137-3730.jpg (115987 bytes)136-3675.jpg (149453 bytes)After a quick lunch we headed down to Portland. Portland is my favorite city, but the traffic is definitely not something to write home about, or at least not in good terms. The roads felt to be completely clogged, and we were going in the "easy" direction! When we made it to the motel we just dropped off our stuff and headed east to the Columbia River where I have been many times before, and which I felt I had to show Essan because of it's many waterfalls. 

136-3674.jpg (148587 bytes)136-3676.jpg (140317 bytes)The waterfalls were not quite in their peak because of the current drought I guess, but they were nice nonetheless. You can see some of the typical water pictures around here. Unfortunately I was experiencing problems with my rented Contax 645 camera, and even managed to set the wrong settings on my digital SLR, which made the pictures look less than optimal.

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Since I love my gadgets (and they provided good information on this trip so far), we followed the advice of Vindigo / Zagat and went to dinner at the Typhoon Thai restaurant at 2310 NW Everett Street, which was the highest ranked Thai restaurant in the city (they have another branch on Broadway but this seemed "cozier"). Beware, they close at 9pm on weekdays, which was the time at which we arrived. Even though the staff didn't seem too enthusiastic about our late arrival we were offered a table and menus and urged to order quickly. So we did, even though this was fairly difficult as they seem to have a completely different menu from any other Thai restaurant I've ever been to. During the wait for the food we could study the restaurant, which used to be a car shop of some sort in a previous life; with pull-up garage doors people were sitting inside (where lifts used to be I guess) and outside (in the parking lot, so to speak). I don't quite understand how the restaurant got a 19/30 rating on "decor" as the only decor seemed to be the awards they have received ("one of the top 100 restaurants in the nation" and others), but I do understand how they got 25/30 for food: it was simply amazing! And spicy: for the first time ever I was thinking about quitting halfway because I could not take it. But the food was so good that I just burned my remaining taste buds. But it was worth it any day. This experience makes it the best Thai restaurant I've ever been to, pushing Suriya restaurant of San Francisco to 2nd rank.

After so much good food we went for a brief walk through downtown and enjoyed some nightly vistas and headed back to the motel, to be well rested for the long drive home the next day.

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