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I flew to Portland Oregon for a mini vacation and ate some of the best things that have ever passed my lips.

Last week I flew to Portland, Oregon for the first time on a mini-vacation to visit my friend James Salmonsen, and I thought I'd tell you about the trip. I flew first class, and I don't think I'll ever fly anywhere again that's not first class. Seriously. The service is excellent, the seats are much wider and there's a ton more leg room, and there's even this arm rest between the seats that's wide enough to hold beverages. It also has a plug in to charge my phone. How cool is that? Oh and I got to check three bags for free. I actually didn't have three bags; I had one. However, I've now got that stored in my head as "things to know when traveling."
Portland was REALLY green. I live in Salt Lake City, so I'm used to the desert. Portland has trees everywhere. So many trees in fact, that you think there are people living behind them (as in lots of people) but you can't see any of them. Oh, and everyone is super friendly. I went to the Avengers: Age of Ultron on Thursday night and made like three friends in line. One guy was super excited about Jason Momoa being cast as Aquaman in the up and coming Batman Vs. Superman, another just wanted to chat about the Avengers, and a third told me about this strange video I needed to watch on Netflix. But the friendliness didn't end there. At Pine State Biscuits (a breakfast restaurant) a mixed racial couple totally started talking with me, and I think our topics went from Voodoo Donuts to restaurant recommendations to talking about podcasts to Charles M. Blow (who writes for the New York Times). And then as I was walking around downtown, one couple tried to bum some donuts off of us (we had a box) and another guy just started talking to us about the best steak in town. I have seriously lived in Salt Lake City for seven years people, and no one here ever talks to me. They all just look down their noses at me and whisper to whatever partner they are with. It's so strange and very unfriendly.

The highlight of the trip though was visiting with Stephen Hayes who blogs over at the Chubby Chatterbox. Stephen lives in a fabulous condominium with doors tall enough that Shaquille O'Neal wouldn't have to duck. Inside this nice dwelling, Stephen regaled me with tales of his trip to India, how the streets there are paved in twenty year old trash because no one wants to clean up, and how he saw the most beautiful thing in his life (the Taj Mahal) and the most ugly thing in his life (a beggar with a grotesquely deformed foot). I also took a look at his artwork (Stephen is quite the accomplished artist) and we went to a really nice restaurant called Decarli where I ate the best mussels and the best salmon I've ever had (thank you again, Stephen). Later we went back to his place and had a shot of chocolate tequila, and I also got to meet his very smart wife (as she was back from book club). Portland (by the way) has some people that can do southern cooking living there. I went to the Screen Door on Thursday night and I'm tellin' you...I had the best mac and cheese I've ever had followed up with the best fried chicken I've ever had. Everything was so tasty that my arteries have to be twice as hard as they were before the trip.

Anyway, I had an incredible time in Portland. However, I also looked up land values there and the houses start at probably $100,000 more than they do here in Utah. Here you can spend $350,000 on a three bedroom house, and it's a dump (read fixer upper). Over in Portland, the fixer uppers start at $450,000. That means I'd need to make $140,000 a year to be able to afford one. Wow. That's a lotta money. Looks like I'll be staying put for the near future. :(

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