Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

stellar's jay and other visitors

Portland Japanese Garden, October 14, 2011
I am back from a business trip to Portland, Oregon. This was my second visit to Portland, a city I like. I like that I can take the train directly from the airport into downtown quickly and inexpensively. I like that I rarely feel the need for a car in Portland, but can buy a five dollar rail/bus pass and get around all day. I like the way Portland has a vibrant downtown, and great parks within a short walking distance of rail stops.  The weather was in the 50s/60s and rainy.

I saw some new things on this short business trip. I had read about the new little boutique food vendors in this city and that. I was pleased to find that Portland has joined this craze, with little portable buildings with food vendors. My Thursday lunch/dinner was a Korean chicken dish accompanied with fresh-made Vietnamese salad rolls. I saw people gathered for the Occupy Portland activities--tents pitched everywhere and people holding signs about foreign policy matters.  A similar though smaller Occupy Dallas movement exists, but I have not been to downtown Dallas for some time. I don't have some over-arching statement to make about the Occupy movement, other than noting that this movement, as with other recent movements of the left and right, shows the impact of social media. 

Friday morning I opted to walk forty five minutes to a business meeting, to enjoy the ambience. I liked the trees and that the rain did not resume during my walk. Friday afternoon my business concluded unexpectedly early. I made a quick call to my airline, to see if my Saturday morning departure could be scaled back to Friday afternoon. Though a plane was leaving at a workable time, the fare strictures made it far cheaper for my client for me to stay the night at originally planned. I asked the kind woman at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Portland to help me find a park at which to walk in the late afternoon. Years ago, my wife and I loved a little park at the end of the rail line, right on a stop. I hoped to go there. Sadly, neither the woman at the hotel nor the fellow who worked with her knew of this park. They sent me instead to Washington Park, Portland's grand old park. I had been there before.

I enjoyed walking among the ferns and tall trees of the Wildwood trail. A nice couple, slightly older than I am, stopped with their handsome dog. They told me about birds I could hope to see with my binoculars. I had already seen the towhees they suggested, as well as abundant robins and crows. I saw a little sparrow, whose name I must look up. I also saw a very vocal Stellar's Jay. We get blue jays in my part of Texas rather than Stellar's Jay. A nice fellow at the Japanese garden said he thought that the Rockies was the boundary point. I must look this up, as I thought west Texas has Stellar's. In any event, I like Stellar's Jay, because rather than having the pristine iridescent look of a blue jay, it looks like somebody took vivid fingerpaints to a blue jay. A cloudy late afternoon in October was nearly a perfect time for a trip to the Japanese Garden:

I stayed last night at a Courtyard by Marriott by the airport. I opted not to attend the Portland Baroque Orchestra concert that evening.
Instead, I watched the great new TV show about a surgeon whose late ex-wife haunts him, and then settled in to try to watch HMS Pinafore on PBS. The production was pretty good, but I fell asleep. I left the TV on, though, and the opera kept recycling, so I pretty much saw it all. I liked the best the naval admiral's song, whose title escapes me, though it famous. 

I arose before 4 a.m., caught the 6 a.m. plane, and am glad to be home.


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