Two planes, and we are in the other part of the Americas (America). We spent the last week with friends in Portland, luxuriating in small comforts like drinkable tap water, good food and having conversations with people that aren’t us.
Portland is unassumingly brilliant. It’s famous for bike lanes, brew pubs, food carts and hipsters, but its laid back livability is what really appeals to me. It’s kind of like the Lower Hutt of the future (and without Queensgate right in the middle). It’s not stunningly beautiful, but is full of pretty green neighbourhoods, each with a cluster of great restaurants or bars. These are all linked together by avenues shared by cars and cyclists – I’m sure there are some militant bikers out there* but it seems like there is less of a divide between cyclists and drivers than you might find in NZ.
We have eaten very well in Portland. At the food carts we tried Cuban sandwiches (better than in Cuba), cult Thai steamed chicken, honey butter biscuits (like salty scones), double fried chips with peanut satay and chipotle jam. We drank IPA off the IBU hops scale. We ate at a Southern bbq restaurant (the meat is smoked for 10 hours) and at a super trendy Thai street food joint/whisky bar. Yum.
Tomorrow we are back on the bikes, off to explore Oregon (which I hear is a bit like Lord of the Rings).
* Here’s one exception