Monday, March 21, 2011

Portland - Put a bird on it

**Please note that names have been changed because: 
A) privacy blah, blah, blah and,
B) no one could remember them**

This past weekend we embarked on a mission to Portland that started in a McDonald’s parking lot, and we would soon learn that it would come full circle and end there as well.
Four lovely ladies were traveling down - my sister, my partner in crime LM, her sister in law and of course, me. Both sisters are married, but they were more than happy to be involved in the formation of this weekend’s blog post.

We kicked off the road trip by picking up some Timmy Ho’s coffee and lacing it with Bailey’s…the time? 8 am. Not wanting to mix drinks in the Timmy’s parking lot, it’s too classy for that, we decided to move on over the McD’s and do it there. I’m almost positive that Ronald approves of mixed drinks in the morning, but Sidney Crosby most likely does not.
Drinks secured, we were off to the USA.

Our first point of interest was the epic Wal-Mart in Mount Vernon, Washington. Obviously we needed some road pops and other various fattening snacks for the trip, so the only place to do this without having to get the Costco size year’s supply of everything is the Mart.
$70 later we had 5 bottles of wine, 12 beers, a cooler bag, ice, pretzel M&M’s and a huge bag of beef jerky. Little did we know this would just be the start of a collection of fine foods we gathered this weekend. And guess what else? Those beers had to be replaced just a few hours later.

Cracking our first beer at 10 am and throwing on the magical 1995 – 1999 inclusive playlist that I made, we were on our way once again. In case you were wondering, the playlist’s name is Semi Charmed Kind of Life, so just from that you can probably guess what kind of treats were on there. It was a little bit awesome and a little bit depressing all at the same time. What were we thinking back then in the later years of the 90’s?
Consumed with that question, we cruised into Seattle for some breakfast at the very delicious 5 Spot restaurant in the Queen Anne area of town.
This is also where we got into the third beer of the morning. Everybody’s food was fabulous, I was told the corn cakes were mad delicious and the hash browns are out of this world. The perfect amount of crispiness and also a little spicy. Yum. The seasonal beer that we probably didn’t need was also quite tasty.  

Look this place up if you’re in town, you won’t be disappointed. They change the menu and décor monthly, highlighting different regions of the USA. This time around we were taken to Kansas, and I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the giant paper mache tornado; it must have taken someone a long ass time to make that. They also have late night menu specials, all for $5.55 and $1.11 PBR’s after 10pm. It would be rude if you didn’t indulge in either of these things.   

Bellies satisfied we were off again, and this is where all the fun started and from there, never ended. We first had to make a shady deal in Olympia – my sister had purchased U2 tickets off of Craigslist and we had to meet the guy, his name will be JJ, down there to make the exchange. Everyone knows how this could have turned out, but thankfully my sister had been conversing with JJ’s girlfriend for a week or two now and everything seemed as though it would work out for the best. Meaning, no one would get sold into a prostitution ring or be murdered in one of the many scary looking trailers we saw on our drive that day.

On route to meet JJ we had polished off the rest of our beer, so thankfully we were meeting him at an AM/PM so we could pick up more and make yet another bathroom stop. One of the highlights for this portion of the day (beside’s the playlist) was that a Culligan water delivery man took the time to write out a note on a sticky pad to tell us that one of our tires was low.
That took a lot of dedication because he was driving like 120 and where in god’s name did he find that sharpie and pad in such a hurry? Thanks Culligan Man, you probably saved our lives. The funny thing about that is this wasn’t the first time someone’s live would be saved on this day. More on that later.

Finally arriving at the AM/PM, there was JJ and boy was he in for a real treat. We were pretty loud and obnoxious at this point, but not enough that JJ didn’t want to join us for the rest of our trip. Not only did he provide us concert tickets, he was kind enough to deal with the missing air in our tire situation. Though when we first pulled up and got out of the car we may have said to him “You’re going to need to put air into our tire, it’s low. Nice to meet you by the way”.
New beers secured as well as a garbage bag for our stupid leaky cooler bag – Thanks A LOT Wal-Mart – we were ready to rock again. We said our goodbyes to JJ

Finally after more bathroom stops, a playlist change, scary statues and being mesmerized by the half train for what seemed like the entire length of Washington – So many questions about this. Why did it look like it’s sliced right in half? Why is it still on the tracks?  How long has it been there? – We made it into Portland.
We were staying at the Hotel Modera; it was in the downtown area, NOT over the elusive bridge that people would later keep telling us everything else was over. It seemed promising and it had a great looking fire pit that you could sit and have drinks at, though it would be best used in the summer months. Fire and rain should usually just be saved for James Taylor.
Our room was also lovely, bonus points for the furry throw blankets on the bed that would very much come in handy for the next night when people were simultaneously freezing and wanting to barf.

We had made the executive decision earlier that we should get right to business, which meant getting ready, throwing back 3 bottles of wine and going out for dinner. Surprisingly this went a lot faster than you would think.
Having already looked up some places to go, we had an idea of what we wanted to do but thought we would ask the hotel staff what their recommendations were. Boy was this the wrong avenue to go down. Here is where we would learn the first bad thing about Portland. DO NOT ask anyone where to go for pretty much anything, nor for the directions on how to get there. They don’t know.
First we asked the girls at the front desk where they would go for dinner and drinks. Nothing. Just a lot of umms, ahhhs, just go down this street…what street? Which way? Where abouts? Remember when we booked this room because we’re not fucking from here? And the infamous “I’m not really sure where that is”. Okay, thanks. Super helpful.
Next we asked the door guys where we should go. We told them we were thinking of Saucebox, a sushi restaurant that was also a lounge that I had researched, and they agreed, but also brought up a few places that would be the beginning of “it’s just over the bridge”. Not wanting to figure out which of the 75 bridges they were talking about, we decided to give Saucebox a go.

This is where we met the world’s worst cab driver. He was probably one of the angriest people I have ever had the pleasure of coming across and you know what else? He didn’t know where anything was. So now that makes for three different kinds of people in Portland who didn’t know where anything was, but they sure should have. It’s kind of in their job requirements.
He definitely didn’t want to converse about his day, or smile, or do any of the other things that cabbies usually need to do. Things got heated pretty quickly, and when he dropped us off there was the always amazing throwing back of money used to pay for the shitty cab ride and a lovely exchange of words that ended with “get the fuck out of my cab you fucking bitch”. This transaction led us to the start of people in the city of Portland who would hate my fellow man hunter LM.

Saucebox was pretty busy when we got there, so it seemed like so far so good on the recommendation I made to myself no thanks to the staff of Hotel Modera. We were seated right away and here’s where we were about to meet the some of the few people who knew where the fun was at in Portland – our new same sex friends Mo and Em, and Luke the waiter.
The lovely ladies that we were sat down next to were actually on their way out, but we stopped them to ask where they thought we should go to find the men of Portland. They played for the other team, but they were a wealth of knowledge on where to go! Obviously they need to know these things as those are the places they don’t want to go to. The less penis the better.
They told us about an Irish pub called Kell’s which I had also looked up, and that we were already going to check out the next night so good for us, and then rambled off a bunch of other places that I don’t remember. They were intrigued by our man hunt and there was an exchange of numbers so we could have some drinks the next night to find out if we were successful on our mission.
This is kind of what always happens when we go away, we find the gays and they know where to go. Its simple enough math I think. And it’s never a bad time.

After enjoying a few more bottles of wine, sushi, tapioca dumplings and the badly named Pu Pu platter, we decided to try our hand at again asking a staff member in Portland where they thought we should go out that night. This is where Luke came in. Though Luke was with us the whole time catering to our wine needs, shooter demands and answering to the name HEY YOU from LM who was quickly deteriorating before our very eyes, this was really were he was most helpful. He gave us a few suggestions, though none of them were more offensive then Dante’s as we would find out the next day after walking by this establishment and demanding to know why Luke would want to send us there, he did tell us about the Nines. And this place was actually exactly what we were looking for.

We paid our ridiculously cheap bill and headed over to The Nines, a hotel that was also in the downtown area next to Pioneer Square, which featured the rooftop restaurant/lounge Departure that we were going to attend. Arriving at The Nines involved a comical walk that included the takeover of someone’s reservation desk outside of a hotel, which the porter Anthony did not think was funny. Anthony did not like jokes. Just another person to add to the list of people in Portland who hated my friend.  

It was a pretty excellent lounge, though we were soon worried that they had the same music mix as the Cactus Club. We grabbed a booth next to the DJ, which he soon regretted as we barraged him with questions and threats about what kind of music he was going to play. He also didn’t enjoy LM sitting in his area and wanting to touch all of his equipment. Guess what? We had to add him to the growing list of haters.
Turns out though, he was a pretty good DJ, tossing out R&B gems from the past and present. This is where I met my two R&B soul mates, Carl – totally not his name - a lovely fellow from Calgary (weird I know) who kindly put up with my yell singing lyrics into his face all night and Angel – also not her name, but that’s what she was – who was sadly ripped from my grasp after our Regulators sing off tribute to Nate Dogg, by her evil friends who clearly didn’t want us to hang out and be friends forever. A super angry friend rolled up to our table and said “We’re going” to Angel and not in a nice way at all. And here’s the thing. They didn’t leave, just moved a few feet away from us and continued about their business. Why?
And that was just the start of the series of weird shit that was about to go down. Blame it on the alcohol, blame it on the Supermoon, but it was about to get funky.

The lounge was bumpin’ and had pretty much the same clientele that we get in Vancouver… you know - dads, douches and the like, but Vancouver had nothing on the dude we were just about to get introduced to. The guy that changed our whole weekend. He provided us with some amazing comedic conversations, laughs and memories that will probably last for the rest of this year, maybe even our lives. I know what you’re thinking, this sounds awesome, finally you found the guy. Oh did we ever. But what you don’t know is that all of this entertainment? It was at his expense.

Here’s where Windbreaker comes in. Since no one could remember his name, he got dubbed with Windbreaker because that’s what he chose to wear to the bar that night. Not sure if he just finished a round of golf or if it was a nod to his love of sailing, but it seemed like an odd choice of bar clothes.
He was smug, he was ridiculous and he was exclusively drinking champagne which made me introduce myself to him with the kindly toned “Hi. You’re not seriously drinking champagne in here right now are you?” Well he was and sadly enough, later on I did as well. This was something that we all regretted the next day, as we’re pretty certain it was a vintage bottle of Baby Duck circa 1994. Awful. I may never get the taste out of my mouth.

Windbreaker soon latched on to LM, who didn’t really even know her name at this point in the night, so we weren’t about to find out his name anytime soon. Had he not made my sister so ill with his douchebaggery that she had to send herself back to the hotel, we probably would have known. All we really knew was that he was apparently a DJ and that he liked shitty champagne. He also had with him a friend, we’ll call her Adrienne, that looked like tweaking was her profession and was the second life that was going to be saved on this day. For some reason LM and her sister in law ‘Kathy” got dragged into the bathroom with her where she A) wanted to put makeup on Kathy and B) wanted them to do drugs with her. Neither of these things sounded appealing to them, so Kathy booked it back to the table and LM pulled Adrienne into an after school special conversation for a lesson on drugs, which then prompted her to come out proclaiming that she was a life saver.
I’m going to go ahead and guess that Adrienne did indeed do drugs that night. I know this because when we were getting ready to leave she told us “You guys better settle your bill or you are not getting any drugs!” Hmmm. Weird options, but I think I’ll go with paying my bill and getting the fuck out of this looney bin of a lounge. Aside from Carl and Angel, it was getting kind of scary in there. We were also dying of hunger at this point, the PuPu platter was not holding up our 12 plus hours of drinking any longer. The only thing that could soak up some of this booze was pizza.

Don’t worry; we didn’t leave without getting Windbreakers info, that was imperative. So BBM pins exchange, we piled into yet another angry taxi and attempted to hunt down the after bar tasty treat of cheese, sauce and bread. Forgetting that no one in Portland knows where anything is, I don’t know why we thought the cab driver this time around would be any different. We asked to get pizza and he clearly heard “Drive us down to China town, stop down a random road, point and say over there, get out”. I don’t even get out in China town in my own city, so I didn’t think that Portland should be the place to start this tradition. So back to the hotel we went and were hoping that perhaps the front desk would at least be able find us pizza in this god forsaken town. They weren’t stoked about it that’s for sure, probably because our piercing voices weren`t the best, soon to be confirmed by my poor sleeping sister who had to deal with our drunken shenanigans when we got up to the room.

Not really sure what happened between the lobby and the room, but once they called up and told us the pizza would be 45 minutes, the whole thing was called off. Instead we talked about it on volume 100 for the next 45 minutes. And poutine. That was talked about as well. And Windbreakers general ridiculousness. Who called at 3 in the morning. Unfortunately for us we were asleep. But we would soon find out that this would not be the end of him. Or all the fun we were having.

Tomorrow was another day after all….

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