hans.gerwitz.com

Portland

I've found myself in Portland, OR on a vaporous business trip. Vaporous because the potential client I'm up here to meet has not communicated since an invitation that is now three days old. I might be just walking up to their front desk tomorrow and saying "I happened to be in the neighborhood…"

Once again, I had a layover in Phoenix thanks to America West's hub-and-spoke model, and found myself frustrated with the lack of visible clocks in that airport. The only public timepieces I found were little time readings in the corner of the flight status CRTs. It's quite obvious that no one really filled the role of managing user experience when that airport was built.

Portland is a nice city, sort of a miniature Seattle. It feels very new, almost like the Epcot version of the Pacific Northwest. Like Seattle, no one seems to litter, and everyone is in good shape, bikes are everywhere, etc. The sidewalks are not as busy, which I first attributed to the cold. I also noticed a lot of cyclists use the sidewalks, though, even though they are plenty fast enough to keep up with traffic. This behavior seems to indicate the sidewalks are never quite packed with crowds.

Powell's, which locals claim is the largest bookstore in the world, is impressive. I got lost in there for some time (and missed sunset) but only bought _The Power of Myth _in a small paperback. The cashier had incredibly deep blue eyes. I couldn't even tell you what she looked like, she could have been a spectacle of beauty or painful to behold, all you could really see were her eyes. I bet that's a mixed blessing. She probably wishes people would just stare at her chest for once.

After only one evening, I find myself quite comfortable visiting, but am not quite drawn to live here as I am to Chicago (in the summer) and Seattle.