“Tropical” Paradise 2009

We believe that uncle Chris shouldn’t be the only one to abuse…er…enlighten family and friends by sharing exciting vacation information, so for the next few posts, this blog will be transformed into the diary of our Portland trip.


This adventure started like so many others…with diamonds!

Pumice’s good friend and former cohort in rhyme, Pete, proposed to his girlfriend Lisa back in July 2008. Pete knows a lot about computers, slide rules, and music videos, but not too much about weddings, so after the engagement, Lisa took over from there. And “there” brought us to Portland in June 2009 for a west coast edition of Tropical Paradise 2009 and the wedding of Peter and Lisa.

Plus, Pumice hadn’t seen Mikey A. in awhile, and since the only way to see Mr. A is through an intermediary (Pete) we figured a little get together 3,000 miles outside of Buffalo was a good a place as any.

Oh, and to make things a little easier, we used fancy color coding in the daily posts, Pum is orange, Kate is pretty pink.

Day One

We got up at 3:30am EST for our 6:15 flight to Newark. The flight wasn’t bad, but had the typical NJ people and their spikey hair. A slightly rough landing (“crash landing” if you ask Kate). The 737 to Portland had to taxi for almost an hour. A relatively uneventful flight (except for the disappearance of Kate’s paisley scarf, which reappeared on the floor in the row behind us). Great views of the mountains prior to landing. We got our uber economy Kia Spectra without being upsold to some fancy SUV, only to find out it will cost us $25/day to park at the hotel.

After checking into the Hotel DeLuxe, we took a nice stroll to Mayas Taqueria, a deli-style Mexican restaurant—had the nachos deluxe with grilled chicken—delicious!

Apparently the reports of Portland having many homeless people (a high percentage of which are youths) are accurate. The two people at the next table were in their 20s (barely) and were on welfare (food stamps were mentioned), one of the diners, a girl, would spend time in department store bathrooms. Street performers (not performing at the time) and lots of “earthy” people passed by as we devoured our tasty nachos

We returned to the hotel around 4pm for what was supposed to be a quick nap, we had dinner plans with Pete at 6:30. At 6:19 we woke from our nap and rushed to get to dinner…luckily Pete had his name on the waiting list at Apizza Scholls when we arrived. We greeted and within moments, we were chatting like we saw each other all the time. No big “catching up” chat needed. We got our table in the adjoining restaurant (you have to go outside, down to the next door for your table), and ordered: a margharita pizza and a bacon pizza—both were incredible, Pete seemed to enjoy his gift of two sliderules (treasures from Papa Saletta’s basement). We said our good-byes, Kate said hello to a couple of neighborhood dogs, and we parted ways—Pete to his apartment for more wedding “stuff,” and us to Safeway, for snacks for the hotel room and finally…sleep! 22 hours later!

I didn’t throw up!!! The plane ride(s) were not horrible, aside from the near crash landing in dirty Jersey. Heavy sedation with the help of Dr. Nickolova and a delicious cocktail (the clock said 11am, but I totally think we were flying through the central time zone, which made it 12pm, so it’s cool) helped to ease the flight anxiety in lue of emotional support puppy. After searching for about 1/2 hour, my scarf was rescused almost two rows back!

There are puppies everywhere—making me miss Thor even more…such a dog friendly city! Pumice couldn’t have been happier with Pete’s choice of dinner location, although the “meatza” may have gotten the better of both boys.

Fun little shops everywhere we go, forget hiking trails, I’ll hike the shops! Tomorrow: mancakes and viewing mother nature—trying to blend in the the crunchy granola locals! 🙂