May 14th, 2006

Fish-Fred

Portland, day 1

I've made it to Portland, and had a nice afternoon. My plane landed around noon, I collected my bag, and started looking for Todd, who was supposed to meet me in baggage claim. He never showed (and last I checked, still hasn't arrived at the hotel though he has a reservation), so I assume he had some flight problem and will get here when he gets here. It's also possible that he got the day confused or something--knowing Todd, this cannot be ruled out.

[As I was typing on this, Todd called. His plane was delayed in Richmond because they forgot to refuel it. Missed his connection in Chicago; finally got here at 8:30 PM...]

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Tomorrow we'll start with the zoo and Washington Park, then see what else is appealing.
Fish-Fred

Flight out

Forgot to mention my good luck on the flight out. As the plane was filling (and it was supposed to be a completely full flight), the middle seat in my row stayed empty. Then some people showed up for the row in front and found their seats taken, by an elderly couple who spoke Russian, with almost no English. [The flight attendant put out a call for anyone who spoke Russian--and someone actually showed up who could explain that they were in the wrong seats and needed to wait.] They had been assigned middle seats one behind the other, including the middle seat next to me. The nice flight attendant found them 2 seats together somewhere toward the front of the plane, and I had elbow room.

I couldn't get my customary aisle seat, but without someone in the middle the window was nice. I enjoyed the physiography on view: plains, sand hills, low mountain ranges, alluvial river valleys, then into the more arid canyonlands, badlands, and the basaltic plateaus. The irrigation patterns are always interesting, with neat rectangles and circles, but this time there was a region where the rectangular fields had been planted in diagonal stripes of crops. Very...striking.

I was on the wrong side of the airplane to see Mt. St. Helens and the Columbia River, but had a 'almost close enough to touch' view of Mt. Hood as we came in to land. Will post pictures later.