Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Oregon - Day One

One of my favorite girls in the entire world lives in Oregon now, and I haven't seen her in a few years, so I decided a trip to visit her was in order.  Iris spent much of last year in Thailand, but is now back in the States to finish up her last semester at OSU.  She's a spontaneous world traveler, so I knew I needed to grab some of her time now, before she jetted off to her next destination!  My hubby was kind enough to let me take a few days for myself while he held down the fort.

My journey started super early on a Friday morning.  My Virgin America flight departed at 7am.  When I got to the airport, parking and the ticket counter weren't too bad, but the security line was quite busy.  I got in line and a girl got behind me.  Every step I took forward, she took one and bumped into me.  If it wasn't her bag hitting my back, it was her literally stepping on the back of my foot.  When the line would stop, I could often feel her phone (that she was holding in her hand) against my back.  Seriously?  What is the deal with that?  I turned around once and gave her a look, and she apologized.  Then she kept doing it.  I just don't get it.  How does someone not realize what they're doing, especially after being told, and then continue to do it?  How come the constant bumping into someone else didn't bother her too?  That annoyance kept up for about 20 minutes. As I got closer to the front of the line, where the TSA agent checks your boarding pass and ID, I saw multiple people fumbling to find their ID as they walked up to the agent.  Others handed him a boarding pass for the second leg of their flight, which was incorrect, so they had to fumble to find the correct boarding pass.  Again, seriously?  You had 20+ minutes to get your two documents in order, and you couldn't handle that task.  It's time to evaluate where you are in your life.  After getting past that nonsense, I was happy to find that my flight was on time and all passengers boarded efficiently.  We were ready to takeoff, but we just sat there.  And sat and sat and sat some more.  I saw some official looking employees walk to the back of the plane a couple of times, then go to the front of the plane to talk to the flight attendant and pilot.  At one point, the pilot even went to the back of the plane.  He seemed very annoyed.  Finally, a passenger from the back of the plane was removed from the flight.  She was mumbling angrily as she walked up the aisle.  I don't know what her problem was, but I was glad we had a 40 minute delay on the ground to deal with her, as opposed to being stuck with her in the air for nearly 4 hours!

I finally arrived in Portland around mid-day and was eager to see Iris.  I texted her that I was heading to baggage claim and she texted back, "waiting at virgin arrivals in a gray blazer." What?  The Iris I know would not be wearing a gray blazer.  That’s just not her style.  I looked all around and didn’t see her standing anywhere.  Then I realized my mistake.  She was waiting outside in a gray Chevy Blazer, the vehicle.  Hahahaha.  Blonde moment.  I got my bag, found her, and we headed off on our adventure!

Our first stop was Bunk Sandwiches.  The line was out the door, which it pretty much has to be since their ordering area only allows for a couple people.  Surprisingly, there was a table open, so we caught up a little bit over lunch.  The food was good, but the conditions were cramped!  From there, we went to check out our lodging for the night.  Iris had found an affordable place for us on airbnb.  We were renting the bottom floor of a tri-level house.  It had a bedroom, kitchen area, private bathroom, and separate exterior entrance.  A family was living in the upper levels, which could have been weird, but it wasn’t too bad.  The father was sweet and he wanted to help us with any of our plans if we had questions.  For the most part, he left us alone, which was great!  After dropping off our bags, we went to OMSI– the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry.  The line to buy tickets was super long, and it seemed pretty crowded, so that was a bit of a bummer.  But, much to our surprise, a lady with kids walked up and asked us if we’d like to be her guests.  She was a member and was able to bring guests in for reduced prices.  Score!  We bought tickets to an IMAX movie and to the Sherlock Holmes exhibit for much cheaper than it would’ve been as a non-member.  We spent some time in the permanent exhibits and watched the movie and then headed over to the main attraction.  The line to get into the Holmes exhibit was long, but it moved well.  Once we got inside, we were excited!  It was definitely an interactive experience.  There was a crime scene to study, and then you proceeded to visit different stations that would help you interpret the clues found at the scene.  For instance, there was blood spatter on the wall at the crime scene, so nearby they had set up three apparatuses that would spurt out red liquid on a glass frame so you could compare the pattern. Each would appear as the result of a different trauma, so you had to determine which one matched the crime scene and notate that in your notebook.  Then there was a section where you had different patterns in the sand to observe and decide which matched the crime scene.  One pattern was from drag marks; one was from a single set of footsteps; one was possibly from two sets.  Which looked most like the ones found at the crime scene?  There was a similar setup for bullet trajectory and for determining if a toxin was used.  I’m telling you – it was really cool!  Once you examined everything and marked down your guesses, you then got to check your answer and see if you were right.  Neither one of us got all the stations correct, but I chalk that up to it being really crowded and us not being able to spend as much time in each area as we would’ve liked!  Regardless, I highly recommend checking out the exhibit if you’re anywhere near the Portland area.  It’s too advanced for small kids, but pre-teens and up will enjoy it.

After that, we headed to dinner at Le Bistro Montage.  The food and cocktails were yummy, and the wait and bar staff were friendly and fun.  We got some red velvet cake that was delicious, but couldn’t finish it all.  We took the rest to-go and got to see one of the things that restaurant is known for – very elaborate to-go containers!  For Iris’s pasta, they placed it in a box and then made a huge whale, with spout, out of aluminum foil to place it in.  They made a rose out of foil to accompany our cake container.  It was cute, and I liked that extra touch.  We went from there to the White Owl Social Club and met up with a couple of Iris’s friends.  We had a couple drinks and shared funny stories.  By that time, I was pretty exhausted from the long day, so we headed back to our room.  Day 1 was in the books!

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