My vacation this spring to the city of Roses was quite the one to remember. My dad had a meeting and brought our whole family for a week. Before this so-called ‘’vacation,’’ my brother and I were wondering ‘’What the hell could possibly be in Portland?’’ It turns out there was everything: good food, better sports and the best scenery that I have seen in my life.
Let’s start off with the food. Our first meal when we landed was a small place called ChkChk, which is known for their home-made fried chicken sandwiches. Exhausted from a 6-and-a-half hour-flight, my appetite was bigger than the man sitting next to me on the plane. I tore through a fried chicken sandwich, waffle fries with chicken and cheese and mac and cheese with chicken. As my eyes were bigger than my stomach, I couldn’t even finish it but the creaminess of the mac and cheese and the crunch of the chicken were unreal. After, we made it to the Chinese gardens--obviously my fob parents wanted to see them--and spent some time there. The one thing that surprised me the most about Portland was the numberf homeless people there were and the amount of help they were getting. Most homeless people were functioning on their own and doing well--considering their standards. Others however, looked really distressed and had mental disabilities. This upset me because the country should be focusing on its internal issues and making ourselves better before devoting millions to other useless causes (ex. Climate Change, which is already irreversible).
The next day, my dad had a meeting at the hotel during the day, so my mother, brother and I went around Portland looking at the street art. Although they have it in New York, the vibe of the art there had a different look--radical, funky and more of a go-with-the-flow type feel. After seeing the art, we went to a hole-in-the-wall place that I found on Instagram. The options on the menu were mouth watering but I decided to get fried chicken, bacon, cheese, gravy and an egg in between two biscuits. Although I probably am close to heart disease at this point, I will 100% say it was worth it. After going back to the hotel and going on a much needed run, my dad returned and we went to the Portland Japanese Gardens. The views from the Gardens were amazing, from the huge waterfall with Koi fish swimming in it to an overlook of the whole city. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m never the best at accepting new things. But the views and the crisp air were breathtaking. We returned home and ate at a 2-block span of food trucks. I had curly fries with chili and cheese and macaroni and cheese. I crashed that night at 7 p.m. Pacific time as a result of my jetlag and my entrance into a food coma.
The next day was probably the longest one; we were driving 6 hours south to visit Bend, where my Dad’s old professor was. On the way there there were some breathtaking views; we passed a valley that belonged to Native Americans and drove through Mount Hood, where the clouds were fingertips away. Over this journey, I learned to appreciate nature and realized how different living a lifestyle out here would be. When we got to my family friend’s house, I was amazed by the view of snow-capped mountains in the background. I learned a lot of valuable lessons from them as they taught my dad pretty much everything he knew about research. We drove around Bend for a bit and went out for some Chinese food. I’m not a fan, but I put up with it anyway. I also learned that the demographics of Oregon are so much different than New York. Everyone in my family friend’s community was white and supported Donald Trump! The contrast was shocking and really opened my eyes to the rest of the world. The same night, Views from the 6 came out by Drake and although I didn’t fall in love with it, listening to it while looking out my view of Downtown Portland really enhanced my experience.
The next day was probably the best day of the whole trip. We started off the day hiking to some various waterfalls. The hikes ranged from 0.8 miles to 2 miles so they weren’t that bad, and the views were worth it. The roar of the falls and being so close on the rocks really gave me a sense of adrenaline and put me in touch with my inner-self and nature. Our waterfall visit ended at the top at the Vista House, where we could see stunning views of the Columbia River. I’ll never forget feeling like I was at the top of the world, looking down at everything and all the life bustling below. We went back for lunch for yet another Chinese place that my brother saw on Diners, Drive In’s and Drives that wasn’t bad. The General Tso’s chicken was crunchy and spicy and allowed me to sleep peacefully before the coming storm.
That night, my brother and I went to the Blazers game against the L.A. Clippers. The Blazers were one game away from clinching and the whole arena was buzzing. Before the game, chants such as ‘’Doc’s a baby’’ referring to Doc Rivers and ‘’Beat L.A.’’ were rocking the stadium. I had chills as the players were introduced, the fans--mostly locals--were so passionate about their players and their team. They were obsessed with RIP CITY--a name given to the team back in the 70’s--and so was I. As L.A.’s two stars were out, it was a relatively easy game, and everyone went home happy. My first experience at an NBA Playoff game was one to remember.
Our last day of the trip consisted of a 4-hour drive to Seattle, Washington. As my dad has been to Seattle on multiple occasions, he showed us around his favorite places. Kerry Park gave us a great view of downtown Seattle, the Space Needle and the surrounding mountain landscape. Following these great views, we went up to the Space Needle itself. I would describe the view as the Empire State building but 10 times cooler. It was such a change of scenery and you could see everything in the surrounding area for thousands of miles. Afterwards, we visited the market and then went to dinner on the pier and had some great seafood; my mom and brother and I went on the ferris wheel to watch the sun set. It was one of my fondest experiences with my family.
Unfortunately, we had to go home the next day. I was promptly awoken by my parents and we went to the airport at 4 A.M. That day was mother’s day so we had to fly home and go to my Grandma’s, which was a pain. It didn’t dampen the mood of the best vacation of my life though. As it appeals to all demographics and is a place for relaxation, fun and excitement, it’s a great place to switch it up and go somewhere that’s unique and up-and-coming. The cliche ‘’don’t judge a book by it’s cover’’ couldn’t be more relevant in this situation.