Fun in River City

I started to write a travelogue about our trip to Portland, but those aren't usually very stimulating unless you were there. I'll stick to the highlights.

Lisa's Hotcakes made its international debut on December 30th, the penultimate day of the year, at a benefit for the Rock'n'Roll Camp for Girls, the mother ship of all girls and ladies rock camps. It was great to be in Portland, great to be among friends, great to be playing for rock camp, and just great to be playing! We were joined by Piefight, playing their first show, and our friends Lather, Rinse and Repeat, who did a truncated set with the help of a couple of guest drummers (their drummer got stuck at work). It was fun from start to finish!

The highlight of New Year's Eve was a great dance party with DJ Anjali & the Incredible Kid, who spin many varieties of South Asian music. It was the first time Sweetie and I had been out on New Year's Eve since the mid-1990s. Usually we celebrate quitely at home and stay off the roads, but this event was impossible to resist. We went with our singer G (who knows Anjali) and met up with our (and her) friends E and K for a wonderful night of dancing and people watching. It was probably the most diverse crowd I'd ever been part of. It's not often an event will have such a mix of skin colours, and also not often that a "straight" event will be so gay-friendly.

We hadn't gone too crazy or stayed out too late, so we were able to start the year, and my birthday, with brunch at EaT, an Oyster Bar. All the Hotcakes plus our friend L. Shrimp and grits! That was G's thing, and now it's mine too. I had my first Bloody Mary as well, but it's likely my last. Really not my kind of drink. I spent the afternoon with Sweetie at Powell's City of Books and just walking around downtown. Portland is a great place to walk. It was cold though, so by late afternoon we were glad to catch the Max back to our hotel. In the evening, it was just Sweetie and me for my birthday dinner at the Screen Door, an unpretentious Southern restaurant with amazingly good food. It was really the ideal birthday dinner for me and capped off a wonderful stay in one of our favourite cities.

We're not the only ones who love Portland. Vancouver really does have Portland envy. Not long ago, we gained two restaurants, one called the Cascade Room and the other even less ambiguously named Portland Craft. Both are about Portland food, atmosphere and, especially, beer. There is even a band here called Praying for Greater Portland! And we're not the only Vancouverites who make frequent journeys to the Rose City.

The thing is, there's no reason that Vancouver couldn't be as wonderful and weird and fun as Portland. We have a lot going for us! Change a few laws (and maybe a few more, especially having to do with alcohol), do a bit of attitude adjustment, and we'd be there. But then, Canada is not the United States, and there is still a cultural difference. We'll just keep driving back and forth, I guess. And dream about Cascadia.

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