Portland, Oregon

I’m currently sitting in Portland’s Union station, waiting for a train that will take me north to Seattle, to connect with a bus on to Vancouver. I’ve been in Portland for the last three nights, staying at the Hostelling International North-West hostel (see here for my review of it).

Portland is reputedly one of the US’s most liberal cities, and there’s certainly no shortage of anti-Bush stickers still attached to the bumper bars of the cars here, even though it’s well over a year since he left office. It’s a pretty relaxed city, but it doesn’t have the buzz to it that San Francisco and Berkeley had – in fact, there didn’t seem to be an awful lot of people out and about, and Portland’s Chinatown was utterly dead, even at lunchtime, a far-cry from what I’ve seen from Melbourne and Sydney’s Chinatowns.

Liberal and relaxed or not, I’ve had my first encounter with an angry, middle-aged, paranoid, white American male, who threw a hissy-fit in the middle of the street because he thought I was staring at him. Apparently walking around in mirrored-sunglasses freaks out the nutjobs – it’s not just a fashion-crime on my part, anymore.

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