Sunday, August 5, 2007


Buddy and Jackie Bartee, our friends from Texas, are traveling in Oregon and took a short detour to visit us. On Saturday, we set off together to explore Portland.

We parked in Oregon City, a southern suburb of Portland, and we four stepped onto the bus still looking at our transit map to determine where the bus went, where we wanted to get off, whether the fare was shown anywhere on the map.

The bus driver took one look at the four of us and said "Where are you from?". Long pause from us, as this is always a difficult question for Odel and me (and we were in front). California? South Dakota? And, did he need to know that the Bartees are from Texas?

I finally chose South Dakota. He shook his head, tore off 4 "All Day" passes, said a few things that made it obvious he was giving them to us for free, and impatiently told us to go sit down. Which we did.

Free bus passes for the Hicks from the Sticks. Off to a good start! (Just FYI if you visit Portland... we determined, over the course of the day, that all locals have headphones or earbuds on/in, so that was the "giveaway" that we are out-of-towners.)

The first "sight" we encountered when exiting the bus was this unusual "band", drawing the crowd to an event put on by Portland General Electric, about energy savings and conservation. Check out the "tourist" in the gap between the second and third players on the left.

Then we were off to Portland's well known Saturday market, an ongoing arts and crafts (and food and music) fair held each Saturday. FUN browsing.

I asked a young woman staffing an information kiosk for a recommendation for lunch and she sent us off to House of Louie in the nearby Chinatown district - a "Dim Sum" restaurant. Odel and I love Dim Sum, small plates of Chinese delicacies served from carts rolling down the aisles of the restaurant, but it was all new to Jackie and Buddy.

This photo captured the Bartees' somewhat tentative exploration of their first Dim Sum meal. What, no Dim Sum in Lovelady, Texas??

Well, they are nothing if not adventureous and loved the meal: ghost-white steamed bao filled with pork, deep fried, in-the-shell shrimp (we ate the shells but not the legs), spring rolls, baby bok choy cooked with onions and a bit of something spicy, three or four different preparations of "wrapped" shrimp (fried or steamed in interesting little pouches of dough or wrappers).

This is one of the typical dishes: a ball of sticky rice molded about meat or shrimp, wrapped in lotus leaves and steamed.

The carts kept coming, we kept eating... and finally slid out of the booth ready to walk off some serious calories.

Another famous Portland sight is Powell's Bookstore, covering a city block on the edge of the Pearl District, quite nearby. Off we went, Jackie and I to visit the bookstore, Odel and Buddy to wander the Pearl District. I took this photo in the smallest room of the bookstore (a maze of rooms, mezzanines, floors), the "checkout" room... we can study these trendy shoppers if we want to "blend" next time we visit The City.

While shopping at the Saturday Market, Odel bought a catnip mouse from "". The vendor told tall tales of how it drives cats wild, and Luna does love catnip.

When we got home, Odel tossed his pack on the table and went outside. I was in the back and heard Luna meowing in a very strange way, a worrisome way. I came up front to see her wandering around slowly, head raised, looking a little bewildered.

As I watched, she approached Odel's pack, meowing loudly, and I remembered the catnip mouse (well packaged in plastic, of course). I called Odel, who opened the package and gave her the mouse. She went absolutely berserk, as you can see from the photo!


  1. Another dynomite blog page! All the photos are great, but I have to say that band is really outstanding!


  2. are you giving the luma dope
    barry and Jan

  3. We like Dim Sum. Had those every year when we in California.