Friday, 19 August 2022

Leaving Portland

I'm up very early - 7:30. And immediately ring reception to arrange late checkout. Great. We can laze around in the hotel until 13:00.

We drink some more beer. And get our stash down to a manageable 4 bottles. Which I can just about squeeze into my checkin bag.

“Well done, kids.”

“You weren’t much help.” Andrew is scathing.

“I did . . .”

“Your best. I know. Let’s not go into that again.”

Nice of our driver to let Lexxie sit in the front. It’s a bit of a crush with the three of us on the back seat. Airco on full blast, too. Well worth the extra $8 for a large car.

Portland airport is such a doddle compared to Schiphol. We troll up to the Sky Priority lane and in a minute or two my bag is checked. Security barely takes any longer and we're airside.

"Let's find a bar close to the gate." I suggest.

There’s no argument. Never is when a pub is the suggestion. Weird, that.

We check a map of the terminal and see that there's a Deschutes pub right next to our gate.

"It'll make up for missing out on Wednesday." Andrew says.

We would have visited their downtown Portland taproom yesterday, but it's closed on Wednesday.

You're supposed to order through a QR code thingy. But when Lexxie tries to register, it doesn't like his phone. We do it the old-fashioned way by grabbing hold of a waiter. Not literally, obviously. We’re English. Never dream of doing that.

Me and Andrew order a Fresh-squeezed IPA. It's too fizzy, which masks the hop flavour. Not a patch on the cask version I had a few years back. But it’s only $7.50 for a US pint. That’s amazing value for airside. Just 50 cents more than the city-centre price.

We have a few rounds and some food. We haven't eaten yet and it's already 14:00. I get fish and chips, Alexei a BLAT. Andrew just shares a little of our meals.

"Do you want to try my sandwich, Dad?"

"Of course not. It has avocado in it, the devil's vegetable."

“Shut up, old man.”

We stroll the few yards to our gate just before boarding. Legroom is a bit tight for the kids, but not too bad. I spend the flight watching Breaking Bad and staring occasionally out of the window.

I'm slightly concerned about my checked in bag. Will it ever arrive? No need to worry. It's already on the carousel when we get there.

Getting a taxi is a bit chaotic. You can't pick one up outside the terminal, but have to get a shuttle bus to a special area. It takes a while, but once we're there, it's a doddle getting a cab.

When we stop to be dropped off, I wonder at first if the driver has the right address. It's a parade of run-down shops. Sure enough, there's a hotel at the end. With crumbling stairs and a boarded-up window. Now there's classy.

The rooms aren't as bad, if a little tired. Very tired, to be honest. But not as totally exhausted to death as the corridor.

The view is great. A pile of building materials. Maybe they’re about to do the place up. A bit premature, surely?

Bags dumped, me and Alexei head to Suehiro Mini, a ramen place he found just around the corner.  We turn down a dead dodgy-looking street. My instinct is to turn around. But I continue on for Lexxie’s sake. Luckily, our destination isn’t too far down.

It's very small. About the size of ones in Japan. Well, maybe a tad bigger. When we arrive, there's a cop outside. I wonder if the place is being busted. He's actually just waiting for food. And seems quite friendly, saying hello to us.

We both order Tonkatsu ramen and gyozas. It's good, but very filling. I can't finish all of mine. My ramen, I mean. Obviously, I’d never leave any gyozas.

Back in the kids' room, we watch TV and drink the beer and bourbon we picked up in CVS on the way to the ramen shop.

It's bourbon nudging me towards slumberland today. And away from the gunshots outside.

7000 NE Airport Way,
OR 97218.

Suehiro Mini
642 N Broadway #5,
Los Angeles,
CA 90012.

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