16 hours in Portland

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Well, after deferring for a year and 18 months of planning later Jay and I are off to Manhattan to tackle bustle of the big city, the challenges of being a Columbia University grad student and this big American life.

The past few weeks have been a mix of extreme, uncontrollable excitement at the new adventure and the fulfillment of a number of dreams we thought were too big to even dream, as well as a healthy dose of nerves, heart aching goodbyes and a plethora of shed tears.  Through it all we have been so overwhelmed and awed by the outpouring of love from our family and friends.  The ceaseless show of support and encouragement has left us with such a sense of thankfulness that I don’t think we will ever be able to fully express.

So after a chaotic few weeks of last minute planning, we left our cozy, west coast island town of Victoria and arrived in Portland Oregon the same evening.  We only have a limited amount of time, and a lot on our PDX to do list before we set out to Idaho the very next morning.  So this is the highlights of our time and our top to do list of things to do and see if you only have brief moments to explore the Portland Area:

1. A Microbrew

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We Whiskey Soda Lounge for a drink before dinner.  It is owned by the same people as the place we were headed for dinner.  Their selection isn’t huge but we managed to wrangle a Full Sail brew which was tasty.  We even stopped by the brewery on our way to Idaho the next day. All in all a Portland must do.

2. Local Food

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We ventured out of the downtown core over to Southeast Portland on the advice of a friend’s brother and we are so glad we did (thanks Josh).  We settled on Thai food at Pok Pok and it made all other thai food we have had in the past pale in comparison. Our rave review isn’t only based on taste but also that the little hole in the wall venue has great ambiance and the service was beyond measure.  Our server was incredibly knowledgeable on the menu and helped us create a meal that met my vegetarian needs and Jay’s more or less paleo diet, complete with dishes the complimented each other in taste and flavour.  I guess we should have known the place would be good when we saw Pad Thai (and any other americanized variation of this noodle dish) had been left of the docket. My sincerest apologies for the lousy photo but we were way to busy eating, enjoying and savoring to take time to snap a half decent photo.

3. Tax Free Shopping

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So shopping seems to go against the grain of the heart for Portland pride.  However, with no tax Jay and I had to make a few practical back to school purchases and the shopping area around Pioneer Square in downtown Portland was a great place to do it.  The service at the Mac Store at Pioneer Place was exceptional.  By the time we walked out the door with our American iPhones and new Macbook,  we knew where our sales guy had grown up, hoped to live in the future and about his life with his new 18 month old. The friendliness in this city is bar none. Also, if you are feeling like shopping is a little too corporate for Portland you can relax a little in the expansive, interactive Nike store because Portland is actually the birthplace of the exercise gear giant.

5. Walk through downtown

Take a walk through the downtown core and people watch a bit.  I dare you to find as many Portlandia references in the flesh as you can.  It’s fun.

Well those are a few of the highlights of our very short time in Portland. Next stop: Boise, Idaho.

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