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Chocoholic, Portland, OR
9th Jun 2008
Portland, Oregon

Portland is a very nice city, much larger and cooler than I expected.  It avoids the retarded A Street, B Street mentality, and so wins many Brownie points with me. I spent the early afternoon in the gardens and the late afternoon in the Nob Hill and Pearl districts.

In Washington Park there are two beautiful gardens, the International Rose Test Garden, and the Japanese Gardens.  The former is a collection of the world's finest roses, in particular winners of various competitions.  It was great to see and smell them, and to chuckle a their names.  Some were named after the breeder's foibles or loved-ones, others after famous persons or in time for world events (Neville Chaimberlain in 1941, Silver Jubilee in 1981, Peace in 1944, Queen Elizabeth in 1951, etc), and still others apparently after newspapers (Liverpool Echo and The Sun).  There seemed to be a lot of British names in the collection. 

The Japanese Garden is apparently the best outside of Japan, according to the Jap ambassador to the US, though I'm sure he was just being polite.  It featured many plants that I could even name (acer japonicus being the most important), huge koi, an enormous raked-gravel garden, and one of those cool plink-plonk bamboo devices that fills with water before inverting to create its onomatopoeic sound.


I had to take care of some mundane business in getting my oil changed.  This dull task was made entertaining by the kitsch retro outfit, a drive-through establishment where one sits in the car as they tinker.  The mechanics wore 1940s uniforms and called-out their tasks to one another, from the foreman at the bonnet to the greasemonkey under the car, who then confirmed the same back to him ("checking the water / checking the water .... water level's good / water level's good".  The garage had even installed three cameras around my car and a monitor next to me, so that I could observe the whole car, the engine and the underside.  It was pretty cool.


After that I went to Twenty-third Street, or as the locals would have it, Trendy-third Street, which is full of cool boutiques in wonderful old buildings.  I spent a good few hours sampling the offerings of one of the many microbreweries; my favourite was the Terminator Stout. I'll report tomorrow whether it'll be back.

After the beer I enjoyed a good hour in the famous Powell's bookshop, in which I bought some second hand books, including those which the mighty Amazon had been unable to source for me (a novel in Hungarian called Gabi and an obscure textbook on the same language with - tada! - a cassette tape). 

On the way back I encountered my second stroke of bad luck.  I was ticketed for making a "dangerous" left turn.  I did indeed make a left turn, but it was certainly not dangerous; I and the oncoming car, both first in our respective lanes, were sufficiently far apart for me to have turned safely, enabled by his junction being staggered back an additional 5m.  Unluckily for me, a bored policeman was behind my fellow driver, and he pulled me over.  He ticketed me for a dangerous turn, something I was not really able to refute since American policemen look sternly upon anyone who would try to knock them from their pedestal of righteousness; but what was the most annoying was that he lied to me.  He outright lied, falsely accusing me of a another crime that I did not commit, and then lied about what he saw.  As this fat lying bastard, Erick Thorsen*, number 23581, approached I turned off my engine and removed my seatbelt, just about to get out to speak to him when I remembered that armed officers feel threatened by unarmed weaklings, and I remained in place.  He accused me of not wearing my seatbelt, which I refuted and explained the above, he then outright lied and said that he saw me driving without it on, which I again refuted. As anyone who's ever driven with me knows I am a stickler for seatbelts; am I not, Ricardo?  I would never drive without wearing it.  He then went to ticket me, I thought for both offences (especially as he walked off right after my second refute with words to the effect of 'fine!' muttered), but in the end just for the turn.  I am due in court next month.   Yuck fou, Oregon.

Again advice on what to do is appreciated, bearing in mind that I have no intention of committing a driving offence in Oregon after July, and that I do not live in Berkeley Run any more.



* For the benefit of this liar when he Googles his own name in a month or a year.

Next: Portland: downtown tour
Previous: Oregon coast, Salem, to Portland.

Diary Photos

Chocoholic, Portland, OR

Rose Gardens, Portland, OR

Rose, Rose Gardens, Portland, OR

Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

Koi, Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

Waterfall, Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

CastrolCam, garage, Portland, OR

Twenty-third Street, Portland, OR

Powell`s Books, Portland, OR

Driving ticket, Portland, OR

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