22 October 2012

Hello Portland. Hello Olympia.

I've arrived at my next destination, en route for my very cool and extremely exciting (to me at least) next stage of my trip. I never planned to head in this direction, but... well, it's awesome, and I am having the best time I could possible be having.

After being in California for such a long time, I figured it was time to do some real traveling thus I boarded a quick flight northwards to the next state, Oregon. Only after a ridiculous 'only in America' situation mind you.

At the airport there is of course security checks to go through, no big deal usually. Well, in America it is a huge deal, requiring you to take off your belt and even shoes, before stepping into one of those full body X-ray machines. Everyone looks terribly disgruntled as people put their shoes, belts, and all their belongings back on afterwards, with big delays. Crazy. Not to mention the fact that my jeans wouldn't stay up without the belt, resulting in a very awkward 'hip slant' in an attempt to stop them from falling down when having to hold my hands over my head while being scanned ha.

I stayed in a city called Portland for a couple of days, it was only ever intended to be a quick stop over before moving onto more HelpX destinations I had lined up. All of which will hopefully go to plan... because I don't have enough money for them not to go to plan actually haha.

So how was Portland? While it definitely didn't live up to the legendary days that were San Francisco, in its own way it is an amazingly beautiful city. If I were to choose a place to live in America (which I never will, but this is just hypothetical) whilst with San Francisco I had so much fun, I would definitely be tempted to choose Portland. It's small, clean, modern, environmentally inclined (something that is important to me), is really hip and just has a really active, full of life vibe to it (without being all corporate). You could easily settle here.

During my stay I purposely didn't attempt to make friends which was nice, it is good to just chill with your own company from time to time. I went on a walking tour, did a lot of walking on my own, listened to a lot of music, read a lot of my book, and just kind of chilled out really. And that's exactly the mood that this city invokes, it invites you to just take it easy, have a long lunch at one of the many cafe's, read a book in one of the very many parks, walk the tree line suburban streets, take a hike in the surrounding hills and mountains.

After my short time in Portland it was time to say goodbye... to absolutely no one, which was refreshing, and I caught a bus about 3 hours north to the next state on my route, Washington, with my first stop being a town called Olympia (I'd recommend looking at Google Maps to see where these places are in the world). I am actually slowly making my way to Seattle, but luckily I was able to get a HelpX in Olympia organized which is perfect because it is literally on the way.

My HelpX host was an awesome lady named Leeann, who was nice enough to pick me up from the bus station and take me to her house. And wow was her house impressive!

I only spent a little less than a week here as I had another HelpX to go to very shortly after, but I really wish I had much longer because it was such a great place and I know I could have really enjoyed myself if given the time.

During my short time I:
Explored this beautiful forest
Spent time at this absolutely amazing fjord. It was cloudy on the day but it would have been amazing during the sunshine I could imagine.

I mowed the lawn... which was on a hill... it was damn tough!
The view from Leeann's loungeroom window... very cool
Had great fun with Sonia the dog as we explored the surrounding forest
Leeann's house engulfed by the solitude of the forest at dusk
Working isn't without its surprises of course. As I was outside working one day I mistakenly without realizing ran over a wasps nests with a wheelbarrow, whoops! It wasn't until the feeling of immense pain of being stung (one on my ankle as seen in the picture below, and another on my calf) and the notice of the swarm circling around me that I realized my error... haha! I dropped the wheelbarrow where it was and ran as fast as I could back into the house. Wow those stings hurt so much more than I thought it would!

Leeann was prepared however and recommended baking soda to ease the pain, and explained that they are known as Yellow Jacket wasps who have nests in the ground (something I had no idea that wasps do).

It hurt a hell of a lot, but in a kind of funny way
Downtown Olympia, it was a very nice place
And that was my few days with Leeann. It was tough work but very rewarding, and I say yet again that I really wish that I had had much more time to spend here as I would have loved to have gone kayaking, played the piano more, explored more of the forest and even finish a book or two. But alas it was a great week nonetheless, and I must move on once again.

As per my customary style on this blog I shan't reveal my further destination plans. But I will say that my next planned destination, if all goes to plan, is looking to be one of the most amazing places I have been on this entire trip.

Wish me luck!


Tania said...

Ouch, I have never seen a sting turn bloody before.

I hope you've managed to get some warm, winter things! If you do make your way to Seattle (it's quite nice there!), it gets way chillier than the temperature would lead you to think. The thermostat will say 8C, but you'll be FREEZING. It's the damp cold.

But, as a Pacific Northwestern, I can definitely say there aren't many places as beautiful as here. :)

Tom said...

Damn! I absolutely hate wasps... we used to have a nest in our bathroom when I was a kid and I was forever getting stung while having a shower! Bad times! Hope you heel up fast mate!

Portland looks like a really idealistic town/city.. if that makes sense. I could see myself living there (from your pictures)... if I was ever to give up on the city.

Glad to see you're still going strong with the travelling!

Azz said...

All good guys, the pain cleared up quite quickly!

Tania - I am heading further North week by week, and yes it is getting a bit ridiculous haha. And yes I am loving the Pugent Sound (spelling?) of the Seattle area, fantastic place. Oh, I will be very near you soon I think =)

Tom - Hahahaha stung whilst having a shower? That's hilarious. Portland really was fantastic man, with a group of great friends, it'd be simply amazing.

Thanks guys =D

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