I realised I hadn’t told you much of the actual city of Portland, so here goes.
Portland is just south of the Washington State border, it is about an hours drive from the coast and has a population of about 537,000. Salem, with a population of 152,000 is the capital of Oregon.
Oregon is nicknamed the Beaver State and has a population of 3.8 million.
Portland is held up as being one of the most successful 21st century cities in the US and stands at the front of everything that’s cool and forward thinking in modern America.
Portland is situated on the banks of the Willamette River which divides the city into East and West. Burnside Street is the dividing line between North and South, so the city is divided into 4 quadrants, N.W., N.E., S.W., and S.E. All street signs in the Greater Portland area have the quadrant listed on signposts before the street name. ie. NW Davis St. and NE Davis St. are on opposite sides of the river. The settlement name was decided on the toss of a coin way back in 1844, “Portland” won over “Boston”
The city is set out in a grid form, similar to the style of our own, Adelaide. There are at least 6 major bridges that connect the East and West of the city. There is also a cable car or arial tram as it’s called. It travels from by the river to Marquam Hill, where there is a medical university and hospitals. Light train travel in the city area is free and frequent and is a very popular way of getting around the city.
Originally Portland was nicknamed “Stump-town” by early pioneers due to the tree stumps that littered the “Downtown” area. From a history of tree felling the city now boasts more parks than any other city in the US.
Bike riding is a very popular form of transport and it is said that you can ride a bike in Portland and live to tell the tale, it appears the riders are very revered and to hit a cyclist is a mortal sin, as the car driver, no matter the circumstances of the accident, you are in the wrong. Fitness also plays a big part in everyday life with joggers constantly pounding the pavement in the many parks, riverside and other areas.
One of the sights we were told about by two fellow diners on the train was Powell Bookstore.
This is an enormous shop that sells new and used books and magazines, and is the largest independently owned bookstore in the world.
The city also hosts a number of International Festivals: The Rose Festival, Portland International Film Festival, Queer Pride Celebration and THE OREGON BREWERS FESTIVAL. (don’t know why I put that in BOLD)
We have very much enjoyed our visit to Portland, It’s a wonderful city in a fantastic part of the world. There is so much to see and do here, we think a return visit may be on the cards. There are so many similarities between Adelaide and Portland but by the same token, they have their differences as well.
Time to relax, after the hustle and bustle, and thin air of the Grand Canyon. A couple of days to wind down…… NO, I DON”T THINK SO!!!
This city is crowds on steroids, from very early in the morning it’s busy, then, it just keeps getting busier. The weather was still very hot, around the century mark, and stifling heat rising from all of the road and footpath surfaces and the wind, you could feel it burning your face, like at home, when there is a strong north wind blowing over town.
The next morning we rose early and started visiting some of the many Casinos, even at about 10 in the morning there were punters playing the machines and the tables. This was the same in all of the rooms/Casinos we visited. The rooms are just amazing in size, when you enter them, you just can’t see where they end, they are like cities in their own right, and all the time the beeping, bell ringing, flashing lights and general noise competes with music being piped through the room, almost every ten steps you would be listening to a different song, different style, all this adds to what seems to be the attraction.
We really enjoyed the theme idea of each of the Casinos we visited – Paris was like Paris, New York was definitely New York, Venetia was venice complete with canals and gondolas; the Bellagio was brilliant, (Barbara’s favourite) MGM was the movies, the Luxor was Egypt to a T. All this sounds tacky but it really is quite sensational.
The rooms are all really well maintained and clean except for the air, it seems that most people who play the machines also smoke, either cigarettes or really big smelly cigars.
It is an amazing town, but all around it you see lots of “broken” people, one can only guess what their story is, but it does seem like a place that for every one person that realises their dream of fame and fortune, there are hundreds that lay by the wayside. It is a town of great contradictions, and a tough place to live, or exist.
We went and saw the Lion King at The Mandalay, we had seats that we bought on the day, the very back,back row; upside, we were the first out to get a drink in the interval. Fantastic show. The next night, we went back to the Belagio and saw Cirque du Soleil, “O”, absolutely brilliant show with highlights, too many to mention, one big highlight. It’s worth coming to Vegas just to see O!
We took the 2 hour flight to Dallas, changed time zone, “2 hours” so we got there 4 hours later.
This was a quick visit as it is the city that Qantas now flies from.
We took the $45 cab ride into Dallas to visit the JFK Museum. The museum is on the sixth floor of the book warehouse (The Book Depositary), that was the floor where Lee Harvey Oswald ‘allegedly’ shot and killed President Kennedy. There is still huge speculation about what actually happened, and even though there have been many inquiries and investigations, the rumours, speculation and conspiracy theories still abound. The museum is a fantastic display, but, it does leave you wondering exactly what happened on that day all those years ago. It does also leave you with a feeling of great regret and emotion as you read and listen to the story unfold, here was a fantastic man who has left behind so many great legacies, lost in the prime of his life. Outside the building, on the now infamous Elm Street, there are two crosses painted on the road, only a relatively short distance apart, where the three shots rang out and robbed the world of a wonderful and courageous leader.
We are now at Dallas airport, we’re a bit early, we don’t leave for 3 more hours, but we are both ready to come home, to winter, and rain. We are a bit over the extreme heat – about 8 days of over 100 degrees. We have had a wonderful time, we have seen and done so much in a short time. We thank Christine and Victor for showing us so many things we might not have ordinarily seen around Portland, a beautiful part of the world which has so many amazingly beautiful places to see.
See you back in Adelaide tomorrow, which is today here, I think.
Lance & Barbara.