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So, Portland

Had an interesting time, with highs most high and lows quite low. Lisa attended a conference for work, and I got to tag along, as much of the other expenses were paid for.

It rained every day we were there. Not unexpected, but startling after years of drought in Georgia. Also, moss grows on everything, as far as I could tell, which makes it all look extremely old, no matter its actual age.

I got to see Powell's, bookstore to end all bookstores. Ah, heaven. Sadly, I was not permitted to sign the famed writers' post (here Tim Powers shakes his fist, warning the unworthy away). I was also surprised to not see signatures by local writers, such as Jay Lake. And he won the Campbell last year! Truly, no respect. Or, I am unobservant and missed his signature. Otherwise, I bought a ridiculous number of books.

We also drove around a lot, inside the city and out. We drove west to Seaside, and ate in a restaurant as we watched people fly giant lobster kites on the beach. We drove east through the Columbia Gorge (please excuse the raindrop on the lens. did I mention it rained a lot?) and saw Multnomah Falls. We drove north into Washington to see Mount St. Helens in its "constant eruptive state." Here, a picture of me standing in front of the mountain, doing my best to uphold the tourist tradition of driving many miles to see some landmark, then standing in front of said landmark and being photographed. "Standing in front of" being a relative term, of course. I'm about five, six feet from Lisa with the camera. The volcano is about twenty-four miles behind me. Oh, it's some pretty country out there, let me tell you.

The lows I won't get so much into, except to say that the Doubletree at the Lloyd Center was easily, hands down, bar none, the worst hotel I've ever stayed at. Possibly my views are colored by the fact that Tuesday night I got food poisoning from an order of appetizers from the hotel bar, and spent the night convulsing quite painfully. Fortunately, I was able to recover by spending Wednesday in a semi-conscious state. So if you do decide to stay there, don't get the chicken nachos in the bar. Oh, and there's no wi-fi access, and it costs $10 a day to use the room internet hookup.

Otherwise, we had a good time. I'd like to go back without being poisoned. Perhaps in the summer when it's a bit dryer. Winter might be interesting as well. I bet they get a fair bit of snow.

Reading: After visiting Powell's, are you surprised to hear this? Books included Mention My Name in Atlantis by John Jakes, Terry Pratchett's The Bromeliad Trilogy, and a bit of airplane fluff called The Second Assistant, by Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare.