Sunday, January 10, 2010

A quick trip to Portland Oregon

It had been close to two years since I had seen my brother. We are both busy and time just gets away from you if you don't watch out. Bad excuse I know (Tempus Fugit). So we talked and agreed to meet for a weekend in Portland. My brother has a really nice condo in the Pearl District in Portland, and he invited Agnes and I down for the weekend.

I made all the plane reservations back in December long before the new security measures at the airport were put in place. So I was committed to go. The new security measures have just about the same chance of catching bad guys as the old measures did (ZERO) however they are now so onerous as to be totally stupid. They are not looking at the people they are too busy looking to see if there is a secret compartment inside of a magazine. And by the way they just started letting you take books and magazines on to the plane. Books and magazines had been banned until just last week. They had been too busy burning the books before that. As you may recall other groups have tried burning books and it didn't work back then either. So after you have turned out you pockets and every item examined for secret compartments then the RCMP gives you a pat down. Surely the best trained police force in the entire world has better things to do than pat downs to 80 year old grannies! I had better move on before I get carried away on the security idiots.

Saturday morning I got up early and did a run along the river and nearly froze. Although I did manage to cover 8.5 miles I was cold the entire way. It was suppose to be around 45F but it was damp and the wind just cut through me. Running the river route was interesting as Portland must have a dozen bridges and seeing all the downtown sights was fun. I guess if you are going to have all the beautiful green trees and hills you have to have some rain.

The Pearl District in Portland is a really neat part of downtown town Portland which was a warehouse district that was turned into lofts and apartments. There are lots of really neat eating establishments, bars and funky shops. So we had lots of fun cruising from one bar to the next. We found this one place which just opened where they sell these electric assist bikes. So we took a test ride. I was sceptical however within 20 feet I was convinced that they were fun and I mean big time fun. Here is a link: Even my brother who has not been on a bike in twenty years and is absolutely not into anything physical thought it was fun. They are very fun bikes. I am going to ride my bike from Seattle to Boston this year and riding one of these would sure be an interesting experience.

Later on Saturday we went out to see the new Sherlock Homes movie. I liked it. However it is really set up for the sequel. Maybe that isn't so bad. However the price of popcorn is just ridicules.

We went out for supper on Friday night and Saturday nights and ate so much I thought I would explode. On Saturday I ordered the pork chops and it came and was a double thick chop so that there were two bones sticking out and the chop was easily 7 inches across and 2.5 inches thick. It was easily a 20 oz chop. I had never seen such a big pork chop. It was done perfectly. Even chewing the bones was great.

Sunday we went over and visited my niece and her husband who also live in Portland. It was great seeing them and seeing their new home. It is an older house which they have fixed up and is really cute. I just love character homes.

The check in and security were a breeze. It took less than 10 minutes to do an electronic check in and clear security. The flight home was a direct flight and arrived ten minutes early.

Well tomorrow is a work day so I better say good night.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Amazon Adventure Day 31 Home again

I should have put up a posting on the return trip as I kind of left you out in the middle of the ocean. Obviously you knew I made it home as you didn’t read of some disastrous airplane crash. I have always liked that old airplane joke about Florida airplane crashes, where one alligator at the crash site says to the other alligator, “I don’t know why everyone hates airline food. I think it tastes pretty good.”

We took the expedited disembarking route and wheeled our own luggage off the ship. The schedule was set for 7:30 Am and we were down stairs with our luggage but the US Boarder Service wasn’t there. So the ship wasn’t cleared for landing. We stood in the stair well for about an hour waiting. Little did we realize it would be a day of hurry up and wait. Finally the ship is cleared by customs and we are on our way. Jim grabs a cab and heads for the airport. He is going to get a rental car and drive us to the airport, and he and Sandra are going to fly home from Miami. So we sat on the bench to wait for Jim’s return. An hour later we are on our way. With the lack of internet our priority is to find WiFi. We stop at a McDonalds which has WiFi but they want you to sign up with your credit card and then charge you $3.00. Jim does so and the link lasts 20 seconds and then won’t let him back on. Perfect! I wasn’t putting my credit card on an unsecured link. So we headed off. We found one at the condo lobby where were staying on the way down.

After the internet Jim drove us on to the airport and we checked in (more waiting in line). Once we got behind security we found out the flight was going to be an hour late. However that turned into two hours. Finally we are on our way to Toronto. At Toronto we had a three hour layover but we are two hours late so we should have an hour to clear customs, go through security and find our gate. Wrong we have three because the flight to Calgary is late as well. More waiting.

Finally we are on our way again. Agnes has called Kurt and organized him to pick us up at the airport. So after we landed and collected our luggage seeing Kurt was the best sight we had seen all day. I was great to be home. A total of 23 hours since we started down the stair case on the Prinsendam in Fort Lauderdale. What a great adventure!

It is always so much fun to head out on an adventure. However arriving home is great too.

I can’t wait for the next one.