Wandering the streets of Portland, or what I did on my vacation

I have a confession. As I’ve grown older, I don’t like to travel. And neither does Jenny Lawson because she said so in her book Furiously Happy, which I read during my vacation. But then she is crazy. In a good, hilarious way of course.

Anyway, my most recent travel adventure didn’t involve an airplane, saving me some anxiety, but it did mean flying solo while Patrick was orienting to his new job in Portland. I tagged along, and unfortunately, his lodging was in South Portland at a Hampton Inn instead of The Press, a luxury hotel in the quaint Old Port section of the city.

The Press would have been ideal for me, giving me a convenient location to take a break throughout the day from my strenuous activities of eating, shopping, and searching for clean bathrooms.

This maple, bacon potato donut was worth every calorie.

You could argue I had the same option at the Hampton Inn, but did I mention I hate to drive? And how boring would it be to dilly dally at a Hampton Inn for hours? So I traipsed around Portland impersonating a homeless person, except I wore nice clothes, was mostly clean and had money for food.

It was hard.

One day I bought a crepe for my lunch and sat on a stool in the window watching an artist on Monument Square painting an elaborate henna design on someone’s hand. My fantasy about shocking Patrick with a snake ‘tattoo’ on my forearm was interrupted by the woman beside me who made street people eating garbage look appetizing.

She was guzzling a gooey crepe with her fingers and had chocolate smeared on her face. I wanted to yell, “Why don’t you use the plastic ware that was free with the meal, and do you know how to use a napkin?” But I was so disgusted, I was afraid if I opened my mouth I would lose my lunch, making me grosser than her.

After walking miles of city streets, I sought respite on benches, and there was keen competition for shaded areas. When the homeless people congregated in the best spots, I got the message and sat in the sun giving them sad, sweaty looks.

Staying hydrated had me on the prowl for clean bathrooms that were free, unlike the elitist Starbucks that had a combination lock on the door with a note, ‘purchase required.’ I wondered where the other vagrants went, especially when stores and the library weren’t open.

All the walking, eating and sitting in the sun made me tired, and I looked with envy at those who were napping in the park. I didn’t dare go to sleep with my purse as a pillow for fear someone would rob me, but I considered reclining on the cushy, sectional sofa at the Portland Museum of Art

Apparently, I’m not the only one to fancy this, since the sofa was across from the desk where museum employees offered constant surveillance. And if that wasn’t inhibiting enough there was a giant painting with a woman’s face peering onto the exact spot I picked for my afternoon siesta.

Her glare ruined my perfect napping spot.

On a positive note, they do have nice bathrooms, but I had to pay a $15 admission fee to access them. On a side note, I farted in the fourth-floor exhibit, which puts new meaning to the phrase, ‘artsy-fartsy.’ Also, it echoes.

The gulls were not impressed, but they were stuck and couldn’t leave.

I enjoyed the buskers performing in the city. I tried to make a go of it myself but when I outstretched my arms and started singing ‘The hills are alive with the sound of music,’ everyone moved away from me like I was crazy. But in a good, hilarious way of course.

What did you do during your vacation? How do you feel about traveling?


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40 thoughts on “Wandering the streets of Portland, or what I did on my vacation

  1. So funny. Well, vacationing local is a great idea. My problem is tuning out the “to do list” and really pretending it’s a vacation. Bathrooms! I buy lots of beverages in order to take advantage. 🙂

    • It was an interesting vacation, Diana. And taxed my ability to fill my unstructured days with amusements. I know what you mean about tuning out the ‘to-do list’ as I also have difficulty with that. I didn’t write all week but I took a lot of notes and wrote for two days straight when I got home. My muse is intense when I’ve had a few days off!

  2. You certainly get up to some adventures Molly! Thanks for making me smile and for sharing with us at #overthemoon link party. I think I would have preferred The Press as well 🙂

    • The Press is soooo nice, Sue. And it is a building that housed a newspaper before converted to a hotel, so it is a writer’s dream with books everywhere, and news memorabilia. There is a wall that displays old typewriters that is a work of art. And every room has a writing desk. Glad I could participate in #overthemoon.

  3. I laughed pretty hard at your hilarious post, Molly! At first I thought you came out here to west coast Portland…Oregon. The seagulls in your fart photo look Northwestern plus you mentioned Starbucks. Always fun to read your stories!

    • So glad you got a laugh from my misadventures, Terri. I would like to visit Portland, OR some day even though I don’t like to travel. I have a college friend who grew up in Portland, ME, who moved there and she wants me to come check out the other Portland. Those seagulls make such a racket, I was glad I could do something to annoy them in the museum. Hahaha!

  4. Molly, I feel your pain!! Bathrooms are SO important at our age!! I hate traveling with a passion! Probably largely due to the bathroom problem. The last time I flew was in 2007, to England to watch my daughter graduate HS. Who can enjoy all the loveliness, when you’re searching for a bathroom?? Thank God she moved back! I will never willingly step on a plane again!
    I always enjoy your posts!!

  5. I loved it Molly. You are so great at what you write about, your descriptions and so forth make one feel they are there with you. By the way, quick question – is there a word limit to our posts on Word Press?
    My camping story at present in two parts (actually 3 but I have misplaced the third part) and I have thought about posting it here but wondered if I need to break it down – like the two parts into four parts.
    Comments? Suggestions?
    Again I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. Looking forward to your next story.

    • Thank you so much, Irwin! Your comment warms my humorous heart. There is no word limit on wordpress that I’m aware of, but I try not to write too long a post as you’ll lose people. I used to try to limit to 500 words and now I go for 600-700 and occasionally 800. I have a post that was about 1300 words and I’ve broken it up into 2 parts. There isn’t any right answer but if your piece is long and amendable to parts it may be better to break it down as you have done. Next week I start a 2 part story and it is not quite so funny but I hope it will be provocative. Love your comments. Thank you so much for stopping by.

  6. Another gem, Molly! But this aversion to flying and driving reduces your travel options to walking or digging. Walking is healthy but restricts your range. Digging is slow, especially if you only use your fingers. Plus, you might ruin your nails against concrete sidewalks and some of the more durable construction materials. Have you considered virtual reality? Although those VR glasses are heavy, opaque and unwieldy, they do frame one’s face nicely. Hope this helps!

    • I like all your suggestions, Dave. My fingernails are already in bad shape, so digging is not a bad idea. Could Budleigh lend a paw to this endeavor? The VR glasses are intriguing. Do they work something like a view-master? Because I totally loved those as a kid.

  7. “It echoes.” Haha that had me laughing out loud. Totally something I would do, too! I’d love to visit Portland some day, but it’s not super high on my list. I love to travel though; my husband and I just got home from Ireland and London. (I’ve done a recap of our trip to London on my blog if you’re curious. I also went into an art museum; alas, I did not fart there. Must remember to become artsy-fartsy next time! 😉

    • I’ll check out your posts and so I can travel vicariously, Becca. I love to BE somewhere; I just don’t like the process of GETTING there. I knew we could be friends but your cinched it now that I know about your farting propensity. Hahahaha!

  8. Glad you enjoyed Portland, Molly! But, trust me, you don’t really want to know where some “went” when most bathrooms were closed. You may have passed close to the scene of the crime. Next time you’re in the Old Port, ask Shawn to meet you for lunch! What is Patrick’s new job?

    • I thought of that ‘bathroom’ option, Vicki, and it was disturbing. I do need to have lunch with Shawn. He doe eat with silverware and use a napkin, right? Patrick is working at Systems Engineering but he’ll be working from home.

  9. Oh, Molly! I’m with Anita – what a fun way to start the day!! I had to stop reading more than once to wipe the tears (of laughter) out of my eyes. Can’t wait to see you this weekend! I miss my little sister!!! Looking forward to more laughter. Drive carefully. ???

  10. Molly, You made me laugh and salivate this morning (the maple, bacon donut). I also learned a new word: ‘busker.’ Thanks for a jolly start to my day! Your writing is always full of surprise.

  11. This year’s vacation includes traveling south by car to visit a potential college for daughter #2, and viewing the solar eclipse from a point of totality. I hate crowds, so I’m nervous about what this may mean this weekend, Monday, and for the return drive which commences immediately following the Big Event since three of us work on Tuesday.

    • You are speaking my language, Crystal. Those are all the same anxieties I would have given the same circumstances. I always need a buffer day after a trip so I can recover from being away from home, so going back to work the day after provokes a crisis for me. I can tolerate crowds in small doses, but my ability to do so is waning as I age. We introverts needs special treatment, don’t you think?

  12. I was believing everything you said until the farting incident. We all know that girl’s do not fart!

  13. I have a friend of mine visiting Portland at this time on a month’s vacation with her parents. I was reminded of her as I read your post.
    Are you moving to Portland or just visiting ?
    Loved your post , as usual.

  14. Thanks for making me laugh once again. I look forward to the “next chapter” of that story. It was fun hearing about it on our girls’ night out and I anxiously await your hilarious yet empathetic written interpretation of your adventures.

  15. Molly, It is 5:30 in the morning as I open my tablet to see ‘What’s New”. My “people” are quietly sleeping….and I want it to stay that way for at least another hour. So I sit reading your blog. I know you well, and I have a vivid imagination……. OMG, Molly! What a way to start my day! I am trying very hard to control gales of laughter so I can enjoy a few more minutes of quiet solitude. And I’m not quite sure if it’s rumbles of thunder I hear outside or if I heard your fart from here! Almost can smell it! Your antics almost make me wish I wore Depends….
    practically peeing my pants here. You are a hoot! Coming to August Fest? It would be good to see you! Anita

    • I’m so glad I could give you something to laugh at this morning, Anita. And since you could almost smell me, I’m thinking my writing has entered a whole new level of depicting vivid scenarios. I’m writing that down in my writing baby book as a milestone! Hahaha! Yes, I’m going to August Fest. Hope I see you there! Private message me your phone number so I can text you, okay?

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