I remember little of my first visit to the Beaver State (no, really) aside from a particularly cheesy state-history museum and multiple trips to The Best Bookstore Ever, so when my biz-school classmate issued an open invitation to crash with him in Portland, I jumped at the chance to make a return visit. And it was great! The drive was uneventful -- about 3 hours in either direction, with (of course) rain causing the occasional slowdown -- and I was only there for about 24 hours, but the city is beautiful. I thought Seattle had cornered the market on outdoorsiness and randomly-occurring forest, but Portland? Kicks Seattle's North Face-clad behind, hands down.
My friend works for Nike, whose campus in the Portland suburbs pretty much makes it impossible to be the least bit unhealthy. Parking is limited to a couple of inconveniently-placed lots, so walking seems to be the only way to get around. Not that I have any sympathy for Nike employees, who get to look at this all day:
Other highlights included the Japanese Garden and the Rose Gardens, which are conveniently located a short walk from each other. The weather didn't cooperate, of course, but I managed to get a few decent shots from under my umbrella:
...so yeah, it was a good weekend! The northwest is finally starting to grow on me -- not that I ever hated it, but between adjusting to this whole no-roommate thing and having to make new friends for the first time in, like, eight years, things were starting to look pretty dire. But as silly as it sounds, having someone to sightsee with made a HUGE difference. If anything, I'm even more jealous of my co-workers who moved here with significant others, but until I line up one of my own (yeah, yeah, I'm working on it, if by "working on it" you mean "wishing really hard") I'll have to make do with the growing circle of friends. Things could be worse :-)