Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Portland, OR. People: Ryan. Angie. K.

It was great being in Portland again.  I used to go regularly for work but hadn't visited since '97 or '98.  There are many new buildings that have gone up since then (though the old school ones of what used to be Chinatown are still there), but the most striking thing to me are the bike lanes that have gone in.  Oh, the glorious bike lanes in Portland!  They provide so much room and feel so safe in comparison to the lanes at home.  I recently met the bicycle advocacy folks at home and plan to get involved upon my return - it makes such a big difference to have those awesome lanes.

The other highlight was going to see Burnside again.  It's an awesome skate park that the Portland skaters just built on their own under an overpass.  Another cool thing about Portland city is that the government let the skate park stay.  It's super-famous within the skate community and I used to go skate it back in the day.  It's exciting to skate the park given the guys built it kind of undercover, there are some imperfections in the surfaces so you have to really focus (particularly as I used to skate it with a type of skateboard a friend of mine invented that was particularly susceptible to wobbles - the first time I went to Burnside with it, the guys there stopped skating to look at my board and then came up with the verdict that I was crazy... when a bunch of teenage skaters at an underground park think you're doing something crazy, it's probably not smart).  I did eat it quite hard many times there but really dug how they laid everything out and the whole feel of the place. 

People (uploaded the people photos together accidentally - maybe this is better organization anyways):

Ryan (pictured on bike) - just cycled from Lincoln City, OR to Burnside (something like 100 miles), so he was pumped.  He had already been on tour for a few days.  Notice the absence of a helmet, special clothing, and stuff in general.  He would be quite opposite of a 'gearhead' bicyclist. But he did share one thing in common with them in that he tracked his journey mileage on an app on his mobile phone - I thought that was kind of great.  It's funny as some of my friends felt I packed too little for this trip, but comparing to some folks I have a ton of things.

Angie (pictured by the water) - Angie is 'this brilliant French woman who is absorbed in the study of early Mayan art.' She's finishing up her graduate studies and writing her thesis.  Burnside came up randomly twice in that same day, so it seemed that she was meant to go there.  We had a fun bike ride there.

K (not pictured) - I spoke with K on my journey out of Portland.  K lives by the coast and was recently kicked out of rehab for disruptive behavior (was in for heroin and method).  All of K's family members have done time in jail and all are drug users.  K mentioned concern about the penal system which is harsh and gets people in to its system early and does not let them out.  Despite the fairly bleak situation, K has a very upbeat personality and is friendly and personable (aside from the self-professed problem with authority).  I've been trying to understand more about the penal system and the drug issues at home, so our conversation was very thought-provoking and reminds me that I want to see if I can accompany the meditation teachers at home who go to the prison in Soledad to lead practice (there are two inspiring teachers who go every week) .

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