Sunday, July 06, 2008

Portland, OR a.k.a. the Israel for vegans!

My two-week (totally out of budget) trip up to Portland was nice-- the weather was as amicable and sweet as all the people encountered, with lots of local food co-ops and environmental consciousness, vegetarianism, lush landscape, and bike lanes abound! However, I have to admit that after one and a half weeks of eating nothing but tempeh, quinoa, and tofu'd out EVERYTHING-- I kind of found myself staring idly at small animals with mouth slightly agape and watering. For the first time in my life I was overwhelmed with vegetarian options-- which at first was refreshing and different, but in the end proved to be a little cumbersome for my pallet. I didn't want a bloody slab of steak and I didn't want to pay $10 for a sandwich with fish. There seemed to be no happy medium aside from prowling Portland's parks with a squirrel-sized spear. In the end, David and I managed on homemade pizzas with ingredients purchased from trader joes (tofurky italian sausage: the 'methadone' for your meat withdrawals) and were guided by his sister's roommates to cheap, charming, and meat-friendly cafes.

Our train back to L.A. Union Station took about 30hrs. Yes. THIRTY. Had it not been for chili-mango snacks, mad libs, and the voluminous Chabon* novel-- I would've most likely wound up ripping both my eyeballs and hair with great aplomb. We had to purchase bike boxes to haul our bicycles back to LA, but for $40-- a pair of huge un-padded cardboard coffins was not a deal in the least. We had tried beforehand to obtain used bike boxes from a Portland bike shop, but when it came down to placing our bikes inside them it was either dismember the bikes, or ship ourselves in the box and put our cycles in our train seats.

When I finally arrived home my mom and I went out to Garden Cafe in Rowland Heights. It felt good to eat cheap/tasty seafood chow mien at 1 am while simultaneously be bombarded in a room full of asians. While in Portland, I came across a guy who spoke negatively about L.A. (he even went so far as to ask me which Chinatown I've been to-- totally unbeknownst to my reference of the shangri-la trifecta: Monterey Park, Alhambra, and Arcadia.) While I can totally see from an environmental perspective how easy it is to hate L.A. (our cars, our smog, our pollution) Portland could never hold a candle to the rich, layered, often tangled ethnic mix I've always grown up to know L.A. for. And besides, there are eco-villages sprouting up in L.A. with tons of bike kitchens to boot-- so that means something must be evolving in the ways of achieving the same environmental smugness that for now, only Oregon can claim.

The gas prices, hot weather, and real estate however, is another story entirely.

* While reading Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" I tired to imagine along what each of the protagonists would look like visually. After several chapters of reading into what kind of character Sammy Clay would be-- I immediately thought of Tobey Maguire as reference. Fast-forward 18 hours later and I discover this:

In January 2005, Chabon posted on his web site that, "about a month ago, there was a very brief buzzing, as of a fruit fly, around the film version of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. It was a casting-buzz. It went like this: Tobey Maguire as Sam Clay. Jamie Bell as Joe Kavalier.

WEIRD! Though for Joe Kavalier I was thinking more of Adrien Brody. Then again, who ISN'T thinking of Adrien?


Blogger Camille said...

becky! glad you enjoyed your trip to portland, for the most part. just wondering, did you and david safely receive a hefty box of cookie sandwiches? and if so, were they delicious?

miss you!
x's and o's

1:30 AM  
Blogger annie said...

jamie bell is sooo hottt. i love/hated portland when i visited. i loved the food, the no taxes, and the parks. i kind of hated how crunchy it was. like it was just TOO CRUNCHY. calllm it down. but damn the food was good.

11:29 AM  
Blogger diane said...

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA?!?! i recently finished the three hour miniseries of fledgling addiction. all i have to say is...leather underwear?? but i guess cylons are as cooooold as ice. but dude, colonel tigh = john mccain??

11:55 PM  

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