Sunday, March 31, 2019

AWP: Report on Day 3

Yesterday was another great day in Portland.  It was less about the AWP conference than about realizing that I had only one day left, and I wanted to actually do some of the things I'd heard about. 

I'm staying at the Embassy Suites which is just a block away from the famous Voodoo Doughnuts.  On Friday night, the line stretched back around the block.  I assumed that early on a Saturday morning, the line might be shorter, so I headed over.  And yes indeed, the line was shorter.

In fact, there was no line. I took some pictures of the outside from across the street.

As I crossed the street, one of the many homeless guys said, "Hey, did you take my picture?" I shook my head. He said, "Let me see the camera."

I didn't want to tell him that I can never remember how to review the pictures, so I said, "I took a picture of the sign" and slipped inside.

I chose 5 donuts.  I tried to choose some that were unusual: maple bacon and a Mexican Cinnamon, that has cayenne with the cinnamon sugar, in honor of Carl and Meg. I got two that have been my favorites:  sprinkles and a chocolate peanut.  Those were cake doughnuts, which I prefer.  I asked the counter guy to put in his favorite, and he chose a maple blazer blunt (it's real name).

Cannabis is legal here; I see lots of pot shops as I walk across town. But sugar will always be my drug of choice.

Early yesterday morning, I read this blog post that Kelli Russell Agodon wrote, and her description of the Lan Su Chinese Garden sounded lovely.  We had also read about the Saturday Market, so we decided to try to get to both yesterday morning.

I wasn't as impressed with the Saturday Market as I wanted to be.  Some of the art for sale was truly lovely, but of course, I was most attracted to stuff that's not easy to carry on a plane.  A lot of what was offered was junk.  I took no pictures.

We walked through the cherry trees to the Lan Su Chinese Garden, where I took a lot of pictures.  What a lovely space!  

We ate at the tea room, which was a wonderful experience.  I was glad that we lingered:

Then we hiked up to Powell's Books, which was big and overwhelming, and while I was impressed, I would have been more thrilled in the time before the Internet can deliver most any book I want.  We didn't stay long--it was packed, and I was glad to see a bustling bookstore.

We walked back to our hotel, and then I decided to go back to the conference.  I'm glad I did, because I got to attend a wonderful session on using artsy-craftsy techniques to get students immersed in writing.  It gave me lots of ideas not just for my writing classes, but for other areas too.  

I also got some great books in the waning hours of the bookfair.  That, too, made me happy.

We ended our day at Portland Burger, which was a great burger--even the small version was huge.  The website doesn't give the full menu--there are also shakes and a full bar and a variety of burgers special to the day.  I was happy that we ate there--happy and stuffed.

It's been a great trip, and I'm glad I made the effort to get here.  The conference has fed both my brain and my creative soul.  It's been great travelling with my grad school friend and having a chance for deep conversation.  I've enjoyed seeing another part of the country.  It's good to be reminded that travel is worth the effort.

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