I visited a number of new places this week, some of which I spent an unexpected amount of time in, but by far the most exciting was Portland, OR. I was in Portland for a work trip; my company has an office there. The trip was originally supposed to be two days not including travel time, but delayed and missed flights cut that down to quite literally 40 hrs, from touch down to take off. Let’s start from the beginning shall we?
There are no direct to flights to Portland at this time of year, so I was making a pit stop in Denver, CO. The trip got off to a great start when my 4:30pm flight from Toronto > Denver was delayed for 4 hours because the handle on the toilet was broken. The airline employee giving us updates like “We are just waiting for the glue to dry now…” did not help those hours pass any faster. Needless to say, this delay caused me to miss my connecting flight from Denver > Portland. Eventually, the toilet handle was fixed and we flew to Denver. After lots of waiting in line, I was informed that the next flight from Denver to Portland would not be until 11:45am the next day. This was frustrating because it meant that a quarter of my time in Portland would be gone. The airline put me up in a (crappy) hotel for the evening. The only good part about the whole thing is that I can officially put Colorado on my list of states that I’ve been to (my colleagues and I have established a rule that it doesn’t count if you’ve only been to the airport between connecting flights). The next morning, I saw a bit of Colorado on the way to the airport. I was caught off guard by the mountains, but they were a pleasant surprise.
Finally, 18hrs later than planned, I arrived in Portland. Before we had even landed, I could see how beautiful it was. There is no obvious line of where the city starts and ends because there is so much green everywhere. In the airport, I immediately took notice of the carpet, and took a quick pic. I wanted to get to the office as soon as possible to prevent wasting any more of my limited time, so I took a taxi straight to the office. The Portland office is right downtown. It’s a nice looking office, still with all of the old branding from before the merger, and a bit smaller than the one that I work at.
I was in Portland primarily because the product I’m working on is based in Portland but more specifically because the product’s leadership team was having a week long leadership summit and I was giving a presentation (which went well). The unfortunate part was that I was also supposed to be establishing relationships with the leadership team as I will be working with them a lot in the future. However, they were in meetings all week because of the summit. So, finally met them in person, but didn’t have a chance to talk to them as much as I would have liked. I was able to have a long discussion with at least one of the product managers, which was helpful. I much prefer in person meetings over skype meetings. Conversation flows better, and you can feed off each other in a more productive way.
Of course, traveling means eating out 3 times a day. From the limited amount of research I did about Portland beforehand, I knew it had a reputation for good food and it did not disappoint. I had some very nice meals, including fresh salmon, squash-stuffed pasta, and duck casserole. I didn’t have the chance to eat at a food truck, which I am a tad disappointed about. Next time.
As much as it pains me to say it, that’s pretty much all there is to say. My two evenings were occupied by eating. The first night the whole team went out for dinner together; the second night I didn’t leave the office until 7pm and then went out for dinner. I found a grocery store and stocked up on only-available-in-the-States special flavour Oreos. And then just as my body was starting to realize I was in a different time zone, it was time for me to go home. (I flew home through Chicago).
That being said, I love Portland. I hardly saw any of it, and what I did see was in the dark (downside of work travel – you’re in the office during daylight). But I can tell that it’s an awesome city and the people there love it too. There is so much green everywhere! (London, ON ought to be ashamed calling itself the forest city when there are places like Portland around). The mountains, the coast, the rivers – so much to do and I can hear it calling my name. I can’t wait to go back and A) stay for longer than 40 hrs and B) explore it properly. Since a lot of the people I am going to be working with are in Portland, hopefully it won’t be long before I’m back.
My other new places this week (which are not allowed to count as official new places because it needs to be a new place each week) were:
- Denver, CO, as mentioned above.
- Copacabana, a Brazilian restaurant in Toronto where servers bring dozens of different types of meat to your table on a skewer, shaving you off slice after slice after slice until you can’t eat anymore.
- Restoration Hardware, a furniture gallery store in Yorkdale mall, which could quite honestly be mistaken for a resort (it’s like IKEA: it’s a furniture store, but you make a day trip out of it. There’s even a restaurant).