Good ol’ Big Pink, lookin’ like a dildo in a hurricane.
The Wife and I flew back to the United States for the holidays this year. We spent Christmas in Portland, Oregon, and New Year’s in Cannon Beach. You know what was weird about being back home? The fact that it
wasn’t weird. I’d been in Germany for a year and 3 months, and the Pacific Northwest felt exactly the same way I left it; green, rainy and full of Subaru Outbacks.
We had a fantastic time with our friends and family, saw lots of familiar places and even returned to the same beach where we got married. It was a great trip, and I captured the experience in the following sequence of horrible photos taken with my iPhone (and without a lick of photographic talent).
Click one of the images below to start the slideshow. We hope you can dig it!
I started the trip off by taking a picture of the in-flight magazine between Hannover and Amsterdam. It seemed very exciting at the time.
Check out these automated massage chairs in the Amsterdam airport! I’d never seen one before, so, to me, it was like seeing the original Tron movie when I was 5 years old.
Breakfast in Holland: ham and egg sandwich and a big ol’ brew-doggie. (Well, it was OUR breakfast, anyway.)
Landing in Portland! The Amsterdam-to-Portland leg of the flight lasted a little over 9 hours, and that airplane wing stayed attached the WHOLE TIME.
Ah yes… the Portland International Airport, or PDX for short. I bet architects sport some real chub over that curved roof right there.
Here we’re on the Freemont Bridge heading into NW Portland. With all the raindrops and gray clouds overhead, I’d say this is probably the most honest picture of Portland ever taken.
The view from I-5 South looking across the river toward downtown. That skyscraper is called ‘Big Pink,’ but I like to call it ‘Pig Stink.’
There’s downtown Portland again, a little further south. For some reason, I felt as though I’d never really left… as if parts of my soul were hidden inside those buildings, like Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes.
Holy smokes! We’re back inside a Fred Meyer supermarket! Not at all like the little urban Nettos, Aldis, Rewes and Lidls I frequent in downtown Hannover. In this giant bastard, you actually have room to turn your cart around!
One of our dear friends is a medical student, and on this napkin he illustrated for me some of the basics of molecular biology. I am proud to say I remember not a single word he said.
Here we are on a TriMet bus. I’d forgotten you absolutely must have a car in order to visit the States. (Unless you go to New York City. There, you only need earplugs and a prescription for Xanax.)
We took a few of our friends out to brunch at the famous Mother’s Bistro. If it’s Saturday and you don’t have a reservation, just forget about it; the line is so long it’s like they don’t even want your money. They just want to see you suffer.
I was happy to see Portland’s food carts still open for business, though I can honestly say I’ve never visited a pod of carts in the dead of winter before…
I don’t know why I took a picture of this US National Bank building. I guess I thought it was cool at the time.
That’s Living Room Theaters across the intersection. They show indy movies and incredibly strange foreign films. (I choose to believe they’re all French.)
And waaaaay down there at the end is the infamous Powell’s Books. The Wife and I have killed a LOT of time there. (Because we’re word-nerds.)
There’s Jake’s, another famous place to go in Portland. The Wife took me there for my birthday once and I ordered a salad. She got mad because I didn’t order anything “real.”
Look at that great big pile of bikes. I think there was a bike store nearby or something. Anyway, Portland is pretty bike-friendly, but nothing like the cities I’ve seen here in Europe. They’re crazy for bikes over here!
What you’re seeing here are a few cups of melted chocolate and espresso shots at Cacao. It was a fantastic flavor experience, but also the closest I came to puking during the entire trip.
I took this picture to remind myself how badass the churches are in Germany. Look at that sad, sickly little bastard; it looks like it was made out of charcoal and graham crackers.
There’s the Portland Convention Center. (And on a side note, I would like to nominate this picture for the “Worst Photograph Ever Taken” award.)
There’s our rental car! It was a plum-purple Nissan Maxima, which we affectionately named, “The Pansy Porsche.”
Even though this car is not at all our style, it got some SERIOUS gas mileage. I was impressed.
If you ever visit Cannon Beach, you gotta stay at the Sea Breeze Court. It’s clean and cozy, has all the amenities, and the owners are all SUPER nice (which is actually our favorite part).
There’s the Sea Breeze Court from the outside. I love that giant tree. Oh, and this was the second year The Wife and I have spent New Year’s together at Sea Breeze. It’s our own little tradition.
There’s Haystack Rock, just sittin’ there all day lookin’ like one giant titty…
I told you Oregon beaches are depressing. Oh sure, they get sun every once in a while, but the locals are on suicide watch the rest of the year.
One of our friends gave us a gift certificate to The Irish Table for Christmas. It is the one genuinely fine dining establishment in Cannon Beach. (Sorry, but the food in Cannon Beach is notorious for sucking really, really hard.) The Irish Table was great though! We had to wait 2 hours to get in, but still — great!
Cannon Beach even has its own little playhouse called The Coaster Theater. The Wife and I saw a play there in 2011. I have no idea what we saw, but it was definitely a play.
That’s Bill’s Tavern and Brewhouse. You can get a decent burger and bowl of clam chowder there, but the real highlight is the beer. We love it! I’m an amber man, myself. My wife goes for the blondes. Heh heh.
There’s that clam chowder I was talking about. It’s so rich and buttery it will make you fat AND scald your inner organs simultaneously.
This is a German New Year’s tradition called “Bleigießen.” You melt a piece of lead over a candle, drop the molten wad into a bowl of water and then choose the shape it most resembles. This is how Germans divine their futures for the coming year.
If the candle you use for your Bleigießen turns out to be a total piece of shit, you can also use a lighter to help speed things up. (Even though it looks like you’re cooking heroin.)
That’s Icefire Glassworks. We’ve seen a few glass-blowing demonstrations in there. I dunno man, all that fragile stuff in one room just makes me nervous.
There’s some more glass. If you’re a hippie, you probably love this stuff, DON’T you.
…And yet more glass. The whole time we were in there, I kept checking my elbows to make sure I wasn’t about to knock something over. Then I realized I really WANTED to knock something over. (With a baseball bat.)
And there’s Haystack Rock on New Year’s Day. (I swear this is a different picture from the one before.)
Check it out: some classy chums left a champagne bottle on someone’s fence. And no, it wasn’t us. We only leave beer bottles on people’s fences.
Unsurprisingly, someone wrote “2014” in the sand. Even more unsurprisingly, my wife made me take a picture of it.
There’s some seaweed on some very slippery-looking rocks. (The kind of rocks just begging to twist your ankle for you.)
New Year’s Day Zombies! Zombies are like Long Island Iced Teas, only better. And we really liked the tiki glasses. Aren’t those malevolent spirits just adorable?
Here we are back in Portland, standing in the elevator of the Portland City Grill inside Big Pink. My wife hates elevators. I’m not a big fan either, but I save my real phobias for airplanes and street mimes.
Here’s the daytime view from the 30th floor of Big Pink. I asked the waitress if the building was designed to sway in the wind, but she had no idea what I was talking about. It was a serious question. I was concerned about the building’s ability to withstand gale-force winds. Isn’t everyone?
And there’s the nighttime view from the Portland City Grill. After a couple of stiff beverages, I no longer cared if the building was up to code. “Screw it. Let’s order some more sushi rolls!”
Ah yes, a little navigation to help us find the Morrison Bridge. What? I’d been gone for over a year. This kind of information fades.
Check it out: Cornish game hens for dinner! And to quote Will Ferrell in the hot tub skit on SNL: “No silly, they were on sale at the A&P and I said, ‘Virge, let’s try those tiny chickens.’ “
That’s the awesome poster by Geoff McFetridge, sitting in my friend’s bathroom. It made me laugh every time I had to make pickles.
This is a crazy play structure at the Woodburn Outlet Mall. My wife loooooves the Woodburn Outlet Mall. LOVES IT. I think because clothing is so expensive here in Germany. Makes her feel like a queen when she rolls in with all her fancy euros and buys like 15 pairs of the exact same jeans.
This is the Lardo Cafe in SE Portland. Remember those food carts I showed you earlier? It started out as one of those. Oh, and by this point, my wife had already flown back to Germany because her official holiday was over and she had to get back to work. We staying in touch over the phone, so for a few days, it was like doing the long-distance thing all over again. *Shudder*
Oh yes, Lardo sells all kinds of fatty, piggy treats. My aorta hurts just thinking about them.
Lardo was outstanding. Unfortunately, it was where I had to say goodbye to one of my closest friends before returning to Germany. Seeing all that fat again makes me want to cry.
Here I am at the Amsterdam airport again. The flight from Portland was pretty smooth, but I still couldn’t sleep. I can never sleep on planes. Those of you who can? I will never understand your kind.
I found an outlet to charge my iPhone! I also bought a coffee so I wouldn’t be a total waste of space when I arrived in Hannover.
There’s my little KLM plane to Hannover. I don’t normally like little planes, but this guy was alright.
Had to take a picture of the barf bag, of course. I’ve never used one before, but maybe next time!
I was so jet-lagged by the time my wife picked me up from the airport I had to fight to keep my eyes open. Every blink was a struggle to pull them open again. By 3:00 pm CET, I’d finally had enough, so I collapsed into bed. This is me, waking up 8 hours later… at 11:07 pm.