While down in Portland we stayed in two wildly awesome hotels that my friend Emily who lives in the city recommended and has been wanting to check out for ages. One was a more traditional hotel with one of the greatest hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had and the other was a funkier animal themed one with all sorts of unexpected animal goodies everywhere.

Glenn, Emily, and Kai dancing

Glenn, Kai, and Emily dancing at the Portland Saturday Market

Embassy Suites

The first night in Portland was going to be just a quick stay. Glenn would be arriving late that night from Seattle and I’d be coming over after meeting Chris Hadfield. We were gonna stay there and then head out the next morning so not a long stay. That evening when I got back I immediately wanted to start processing and uploading the video of Chris Hadfield’s Q&A, mostly just uploading the whole thing as well as individual questions.

They had a room service menu and I thought, “ooohh! I haven’t had room service in ages! That sounds like a fun experience!” The prices were very reasonable too which made it all the better. Since drinks are almost always a better deal from a grocery store than any bar, I found a small one a block away and went over to pick some up for now and for later. The grocer was very friendly and kind. 🙂 I went back up to my room, ordered a burger (hooray no sales tax in Oregon!), and sat down to get a little work done while feeling really grateful for all these fun little experiences that keep stacking up.

Room Service

The room itself was quite fancy shmancy. Here’s the living room area.

Embassy Suites living room

and here’s the two queen sized beds we go. Again, fairly standard for a nice hotel.

Embassy Suites beds

The following morning we got up to treat ourselves to one of the best parts of this hotel… the breakfast!

Embassy Suites keycards

So you know how many places offer a continental breakfast that’s basically cereal, muffins, OJ, and coffee? This… wasn’t that. You were in this gorgeously decorated area with a friggen fountain right in the center. You had loads of fresh fruit (even avocados!), tasty scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, and oodles more. One of the best parts? A custom made-to-order omlette filled with whatever deliciousness your sweet little heart desires.

Chef cooking omlettes

She was an absolute pro! Cooking multiple at the same time, adding just the right amount of ingredients, flipping the omlettes in the air absolutely perfectly, making them so delicious and cooked just right… She was amazing. This was absolutely the highlight of the breakfast and they tasted incredible.

Bopping Around Portland

Emily and Kai came over and we all went down to the wonderful Saturday/Sunday Market going on downtown. It’s even bigger than the weekend markets we have around Seattle. The weather was stunningly beautiful, fall colors were everywhere, and we checked out lots of different vendors, tried some really delicious ciders (my favorite ciders I’ve found so far and I usually don’t really like them) as well as found some really good wines and desert wines. One of the malbecs and some of the creative desert wines were especially delicious.

There were lots of street performers around and Glenn and Emily who are wonderfully free dancers started cheering and dancing in front of one guy playing a trumpet and an accordion and Kai jumped right on too while people walking by started watching and smiling. 🙂

Glenn, Emily, and Kai dancing at the Saturday Market

We also found one really talented guy playing several different types of didgeridoos and the dancing continued there too, this time with more adults a kids jumping aboard too. 😀

Didge player at the Saturday Market

Didge player at the Saturday Market

Hotel Monaco

After Emily dropped Kai off, we went to go check in to our next hotel, the Hotel Monaco. I was a bit confused by the name at first. Monaco? Morocco? Which one is it? Ah, Monaco. What’s someone from Monaco called? A Monacan?

Anyways, this hotel was awesome. Great idea, Emily!! Thumbs up.

From the street it’s fairly nondescript, just like the last hotel.

Hotel Monaco from the street

Hotel Monaco from the street

You’ve got friendly people outside who, when you’re ready to walk in, click a clicker in their pocket and the doors automatically open for you. Pretty sweet.

Their lobby is pretty fantastic. I couldn’t really get a good pic of it that encompasses everything, but it’s wonderfully decorated.

Hotel Monaco lobby

Hotel Monaco lobby

Beautiful, isn’t it? There’s lots of fun things here which I’ll get into in a bit.

This hotel is very pet friendly. It’s even animal-themed. There’s animal stuff everywhere and they have a resident hotel dog, a friendly puppy named Daphne. 🙂

You’re welcome to bring your own pet too. If you didn’t or you don’t have one and you’d like a goldfish companion, all you have to do is ask! lol…

Goldfish companion

Goldfish companion

A short while later there’s a knock on your door and here you go! I named this guy Little Poseidon. Because even a goldfish companion needs a goldfish companion, we asked for a second one.

Anchor and Little Poseidon

Anchor and Little Poseidon

Little Poseidon liked to swim around quite a bit. The second one who was lighter in color liked to hang out at the bottom of the bowl so I named him Anchor.

One of my favorite parts of the room was actually the robes. At Hotel Ballard in Seattle they had normal robes which were insanely pleasureable to wear. I get now why people wear robes. They feel amazing against your skin.

The ones at this hotel were heavier and thicker. The awesome part of these is that they were animal print robes!

Animal print robes

Animal print robes

The room came with two, zebra and leopard print. We wanted a third one so we all had one so Glenn called down and asked for another animal. Since he’s taller, the tall option was a giraffe robe, lol… It’s actually designed for NBA players. On a normal person it goes down to about your shins instead of your knees.

(We were gonna get a pic of all of us wearing the robes but didn’t get around to that.)

You’ll see there’s also a yoga mat there. In addition to the regular live TV, adult movies you can buy, new movies you can rent (for $17!!!!), you could also roll out the yoga mat and watch the yoga channel.

Yoga channel on TV

Yoga channel on TV

This hotel liked to charge for lots of stuff. Snacks and drinks from the minibar they’d charge quite a bit for. Valet parking? $38. Even the Teddy Bear that was on the beds, $35 if you wanna take it home.

Beds & Teddy Bear

Beds & Teddy Bear

Even the water bottle on the desk between the beds you had to pay for. Quite a bit in fact. However, this water bottle actually has a name! Meet Fred.

Fred the Water Bottle

Fred the Water Bottle

Fortunately though, not everything you had to pay for. Some things, like the goldfish companions, were totally free! For example, one nice free thing was that they had a power strip right on the counter between the beds. Sounds silly, but it’s way better than pulling furniture out of the way and unplugging lamps so you can plug in your phone!

Power plugs by beds

Power plugs by beds

Speaking of this piece of furniture, it was actually really weird! It was built like it had several drawers in the front, but they don’t open! They’re fake drawers we found out!

Glenn trying to pull the fake drawers open

Glenn trying to pull the fake drawers open

In addition to the free fake drawers, there was a bunch of other free stuff that was far more useful. For example, want a bike and helmet to go bike around the city! Just ask! They’ve got ’em! 🙂

Free bikes

Free bikes

In the evenings they would offer free drinks in the lobby. Wines, ciders, and beer, along with some nom noms like crackers and spread, along with some goldfish crackers! Surprise! 😀

In line for drinks

In line for drinks

They also had a warm fireplace going and a bunch of games like massive Connect 4, Mario Kart Wii, and ridiculously oversized mega Jenga. You could also paint and they’d provide the paint, canvas, and easel. One great part was having a piano that anyone could play so people would regularly walk up, sit down, and start playing. It was wonderful. It’s amazing how people can just sit down, totally ordinary people you’d pass on the street without a second glance, and they’d start producing this beautiful music. What a treat to see people’s gifts come out, everyone from little kids learning to adults who’d been playing for years. Naturally Glenn and Emily came up and started dancing to the music some more. 😀

Glenn and Emily dancing in the hotel

Glenn and Emily dancing in the hotel

While they were dancing, there was a facepainter there offering free face painting! I felt like doing something a little silly so I went over to get my face painted. 🙂 Since it was an animal themed place, I asked for an animal and decided on a tiger. Given that I have a beard that takes up most of my face, I actually no idea how it was going to work out. It was fun to talk with her about what I wanted. She had some samples and I really liked some of the asymmetrical ones. She said that one of her favorite things to do is to just be creative and try new things. I figured that was a bit risky considering that she was going to try something brand new on my face, but it sounded like fun and I wanted her to have fun trying something new too so what they hey, let’s do it!

Ariel facepainted as a Tiger

Ariel facepainted as a Tiger

It actually felt fantastic to feel the brushstrokes against my face. You can feel the big brush for the base colors, the thinner brush making swirls and wisps of black, and even the brush that dropped yellow under my nose and into the mustache area. 😀

I went to Matt and Julie’s Soul Gathering right afterwards, face paint and all, which was the main reason we came down to Portland this weekend. It was a spectacular talk, as always. This weekend’s talk was all about pain. A really great approach towards it. 🙂

I gotta admit, going to an event with lots of people with a bunch of facepaint drew WAY more attention than I liked. heh… I prefer things being pretty chill and low key in general, especially in social situations, and it was quite a bit more than I was wanting.

(For Halloween I went flash mobbing through town dressed as Bacon. I didn’t do a photoblog post about it, but everywhere I went I kept hearing “Bacon!” “It’s Bacon!” “I love Bacon!” It turned out to be a really popular costume, far more attention grabbing then I ever anticipated. The past few weekends have definitely helped me confirm that I have no interest in becoming famous and very recognizable. 😉 )

Ariel flash mobbing as Bacon for Halloween

Ariel flash mobbing as Bacon for Halloween

So anyways, back to Portland, after the soul gathering we went out to grab some food and take a stroll around town.

Glenn and Emily out for a walk and admiring the scenery

Glenn and Emily out for a walk and admiring the scenery

We also went over to check out the Portlandia statue since I hadn’t seen it before. It’s the one they feature in the TV show.

Portlandia statue

Portlandia statue

It’s actually huge in person and pretty startling at person when you see it. It almost jumps out at you when you look up for the first time and it’s towering overhead.

The next day Glenn and Emily went out to bike around the city and I went to go watch Interstellar with a friend of mine who I’d met online years ago but as of yet hadn’t had a chance to hang out with in person much. Good people, good experiences, good times.

If you haven’t seen Interstellar yet, it’s AMAZING!! It’s got a lot of space travel type stuff like Contact with Jodie Foster, and this goes beyond. Not only did they consult lots of scientists and physicists to go into things like Einstein’s theory of relativity, illustrating our understanding of wormholes and theoretical physics, and showing space travel on the big screen, but they even started exploring higher dimensions and more evolved beings, even going so far as to discuss how the guidance at higher dimension comes through love. Are you kidding me!? This stuff is being shared on the big screen now!? So cool to see this stuff come to light.

It’s definitely worth watching!

After the movie I headed back to the hotel and we all met up again, made some new friends, went out for tasty pasta and deliciously creative ice cream, then came back to play more games with our new friends. By this point we were all pretty tired though so we headed off to bed shortly thereafter, heading back out to Seattle the following morning.

What a great trip. 🙂

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