Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Pilgrimage to Powell’s World of Books

It’s the last day of the trip, and we are back in Portland. In a day when Amazon reigns supreme, Powell’s still stands tall, a bookstore that is a legend, taking up city blocks in Portland in its multi level building, all sectioned off with a mix of new and gently used books in every subject.

Powell’s World of Books is overwhelming. If you love books, if you love all things related to reading, you must at some point in your life make the pilgrimage to Powell’s.

 

 

 

When you’ve got your fill of books, they also have a wonderful coffee shop.

 

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June 4, 2018 Posted by | Adventure, Books, Cultural, Road Trips, Shopping, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The High Desert Museum in Bend, OR

Today is a piece of cake. It is a very short driving day, we get up late, only to discover that the normally generous breakfast at the Best Western has been set-upon by all the martial arts participants and the gun show enthusiasts, and the crew is working valiantly but is unable to keep up with the hoards of folk interested in breakfast. We find enough – some hard boiled eggs, some milk, enough. We are on the road by 9:30 only to stop just outside of Bend at one of the most beautiful museums we have ever visited, the High Desert Museum.

Look at that gorgeous elk statue, look at the definition. Look at his relaxed posture. Isn’t he gorgeous?

That is not a real salmon jumping up a river to spawn, but another gorgeous piece of art work at the entrance to this museum. I am loving this place already. They’ve put some big bucks into making this a high end product.


I suppose I should be embarrassed waxing so enthusiastic over the materials and craftsmanship that have gone into the structure, but I’m not. It’s my blog; I get to be as enthusiastic as I want. I loved this museum before I even got in the front door.

 

This is the entrance. Look at that natural light invited in! Look at the stone walls, the wooden ceiling and the textured panels on the walls! It seems most of the people we encounter working in the museum are volunteers, and they love their work and take great pride in serving their museum.

 

I know you’ve been wondering (as I did) exactly what the High Desert is:

 

The entire states of Idaho and Utah? Most of Nevada? Extensive parts of Washington, Oregon and Wyoming, as well as segments of California and Montana? I had no idea!

There is SO much to see. There is a lot of history along with the natural sciences, and it is all beautifully displayed, with a lot of human context.

 

I learned a lot about ritual root digging, which I had never heard of, but since seeing this exhibit, it has come up in two books I’ve read by Louise Erdrich, The Future Home of the Living God and LaRose, so I’ve been able to integrate what I learned with more information. If we ever have a monumental natural disaster, or zombie apocalypse, we will need these survival skills.

 

 

A tule mat tee pee. The women also wove baskets so fine and so tight you could cook in them. They used fire heated round stones to bring food temperatures up even to a boil.

 

This wild cat sculpture is next to the real wild cat, resident at the museum for many years due to an injury that made it impossible to return her to the wild.

 

 

Panoramas from the historical displays.

 

The museum also has a really nice gift shop, lots of original art work, good cards, great children’s gifts. They also had a very nice cafe, with an outdoor terrace where you can sit, drink some excellent coffee, and listen to the birds.

 

We spent two or three hours here, and it was worth every minute. The volunteer guides do tours of the outdoor animal displays, including some very cute and cuddly otter, and all kinds of other themed 30 minute or so walks. Well worth a visit.

June 4, 2018 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Cultural, ExPat Life, Food, Public Art, Road Trips, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

LaPine, Oregon and the Cinco de Mayo

The road from the turn off to Crater Lake to LaPine, Oregon is probably the most boring road we were on the entire trip. It was flat. It was forest, but not the thick natural forest like in Alaska, but the planted and harvested kind of forest. We were glad to get to LaPine, where they had a surprisingly comfortable Best Western, with a pool.

First, had I realized Bend was just such a short drive, I probably would have put us there, but somehow, I didn’t see Bend when I was planning the trip. Bend is one of those WAY cool places that west coast people head to if they are artistic, or want to live ecologically, or close to the earth. Bend is just WAY cool.

 

There is a children’s birthday party going on, and it looks like they are going to be in the pool, and we are hungry, so we go to find someplace to eat. The top rated places in town are Mexican, there seem to be a goodly number of Mexicans working in the area and we love authentic Mexican food, so we go to the nearest one, Cinco de Mayo, and as soon as we walk in, we are happy!

It’s an odd time, not lunch, not dinner, maybe around 4 in the afternoon, so we have our choice of where to sit, but almost as soon as we have ordered, a huge crowd starts to arrive. There is not only a gun show in town, but there is also a large martial arts competition, and this is one popular restaurant.

 

 

 

I took the interior shots before the food arrived, and once the food arrived, I forgot to take any photos at all. The chips were thin and crispy, with three different salsas, two of them lethal. I had carne asada, which came with a weird sauce. I asked the waitress and she said “oh lots of people don’t like that sauce, but it is the sauce Mexicans eat with Carne Asada” so I felt humbled and unworldly, because I am normally an adventurous eater, and I didn’t like the sauce. The meat was very good. AdventureMan had a big platter of tacos, and he could barely walk out of the restaurant. “I’m normally so self-disciplined,” he moaned, “But these were so good and I couldn’t stop!” All in all, this was one of the best restaurants on our trip, and one of the most authentically ethnic.

The hotel was packed. We had to share the pool with kids, which we normally don’t mind, but we mind when the parents aren’t paying attention – pools can be dangerous places. Parents need to pay attention. We left quickly, and had some fears about how well we would sleep; there were parties going on all over the hotel. Around ten o’clock, however, it all stopped, the hotel was quiet, really quiet, and we got a great night’s sleep.

June 3, 2018 Posted by | Eating Out, Food, Hotels, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , , | Leave a comment