I slept in, enjoying a soft mattress, and then was roused from my bed by wife and girls, and made to walk up a very big hill.
We stopped on the way up at Ken’s, a celebrated bakery in Portland. I had a raspberry escargot, a snail shaped pastry covered in raspberry frosting, that wasn’t too bad, and an awful coffee. I need to create some Grand Theory Of Bakery Coffee that proves the quality of the baked goods is always in inverse proportion to that of the coffee; La Robuchon in Hong Kong was similarly dire.
Then we kept on walking, and walking, and walking, and the playground my wife had promised to the girls as being 15 minutes away turned into 45 minutes of uphill trudge, interrupted at one point by Barcelona’s female soccer team walking towards us, quite improbably (they’re in town for an exhibition match against Olympique Lyonnaise, I think).
At the top, we found the rose garden, which is gorgeous and filled with many many different kinds of rose, and beyond that was a children’s playground that the girls scampered around. Then we walked back down, feeding the girls hot dogs on the way, and stopped at Mox, where I could eat tempura and tortilla chips and browse board games, before going to Powell’s bookshop.
I had an interesting call with our general contractor where we realised for the first time that a wall is being removed in our house that we hadn’t even noticed from the plans, so it will be exciting to see what that looks like (if we don’t keep freaking out) and then we fed the girls ice cream, before walking to the REI to try to buy a new inflatable mattress.
Giving this up as a bad job (the only option was to spend $400 when we have two nights in tents before we go home) we went back to the hostel and everyone else fell asleep. I wanted coffee; I went out, got lost, couldn’t find the coffee shop that was less than ten minutes from where I started, but bought a pound of berries from the local supermarket and ate all of them in the garden of the hostel, while listening to Mormon missionaries plot something. I’m eating all this fruit because I’ve had no fruit for days, and possibly that and a diet of fried eggs has made me epically noxious: let’s see if I stink less tomorrow.
I’m yet to be reconciled with Portland. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m now used to the rural life, or because there’s so much poverty jammed straight up against everything else here. Or I’m tired and need more sleep.