L-Space and you

If you don’t know what L-space is, I suggest you acquaint thyself with the Discworld novels immediately. If you do, you have my permission to carry on reading.

Yesterday we ventured into Portland once again, in the day this time, to mosey around and generally catch a taste of the city. It proves to be a little like San Diego in that it feels – despite my not having visited further north yet – like the little brother of a bigger place, this time being Seattle instead of LA. It has a population of just over half a million, and is a pleasant place, but there’s little in the way of ‘touristy’ things; rather, any local attractions are mainly for the locals. This is, of course, hardly something to decry, and what isn’t intended to be seen by the masses are frequently amongst the most interesting sights.




There is an exception to this, and a notable one: Powell’s, a gigantic cash-guzzling bookstore that consumes an entire block of the newly-renovated ‘Pearl District’ with the thick smell of literature. The do-over of this once run-down area has not however driven away the beggars and homeless, and thus you get the strange dichotomy of modern urban luxury and modern urban poverty, side by side. Evidently someone didn’t tell them they weren’t supposed to be there anymore. There’s also a lot of very sharply-dressed bright young things, all elaborate piercings and inadvisedly high trouser legs. Portland is a bit of a haven for indie bands, and it only makes sense, therefore, that the new generation of hipsters traipse the slightly seedy streets – but only ironically, man.

Anyway, we stepped out of the glare (this bloody sun won’t go away, I am very much looking forward to Seattle’s hopefully dismal weather. My left shoulder looks like a side of mutton) into the cool air-conditioned lobby, and Bionic’s wife matter-of-factly explained the prospect – as one might describe, say, the north face of the Matterhorn. ‘Every room is a genre, and each room is the size of a normal bookstore’. Quite awesome. I got swallowed by the poetry aisle for a good half-hour alone. I also saw some of the oddest books that I’ve ever seen, books that should have never have been written. No, your X-Men / Star Trek TNG slashfic should have never seen the light of day. The titanic, cliff-like bookshelves slam from ceiling to floor and there were so many little tucked-away areas that I didn’t actually get everywhere. Though according to L-space, I probably was everywhere, simultaneously, including places that don’t technically exist, and it wouldn’t really bear too much thinking about. I didn’t actually take any pictures, because for some reason yesterday morning I wasn’t fully functioning. I did catch up later, however, because our next stop was simply rather too beautiful.



This was the Chinese Garden, located just at the east end of the eerily-deserted Chinatown (though it was sunday). Tranquil and serene, it’s well worth the entrance fee. The last rays of the day were slanting into the pond as we arrived, casting deep and speckled shadows across the stonework and joinery. We lingered for almost an hour, but one could well stay longer. There’s an imbued calmness in the gentle patterning of stone and wood that extends a soothing hand to you, and it’s folly not to take it.

We had to leave, eventually, due to closing time. Taking a meandering path, we boomeranged through the dying day from Chinatown, to a city park, down to the lakeside and back again. Today, we ventured out into a local nature reserve by the name of Tualatin. I’m being deliberately brief because although I haven’t much to say about these particular walks, I do have pictures. And we all know what you’re here for.







Tomorrow, or rather later today, I finally hit Seattle. I’ve been looking forward to it, so I better try to get some sleep. PAX awaits…

1 Response to “L-Space and you”

  1. 1 Renée 02/09/2009 at 3:59 pm

    I have never really entertained an interest in visiting Portland. The Chinese Gardens, however, look quite lovely and almost enough to entice me to visit aforesaid city. 🙂

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