6 April, World Cup Coffee and Tea, NW Gilsan St, Portland, Oregon, USA, 3:57pm

Firstly, note to self, make sure I wake up early enough tomorrow to go get some blue corn pancakes. Ok, it's been a week since my last blog and I've made it from Canada down to Puyallup and Seattle in Washington and then further south to Portland, Oregon.

Deep Fried Sushi

On the 1st of April I traveled into the centre of Seattle with Deb and Shelby and had a classic American burger and then some coffee before going into an old Catholic girls school which has been converted into some kind of cultural centre. In there, the Seattle Percussion Collective where putting on a small show, playing their unique version of some old pieces as well as some new compositions by local artists. It's hard to describe their music, there were 6 musicians, all percussionists, playing drums, marimbas, buckets of water, cymbals, branches & leaves, boxes of gravel and other assorted things that can be shaken or banged to make music. So took lots of pictures of them setting up and rehearsing and then the show itself before heading back into the centre to a lovely hostel on 2nd street followed by a late dinner in a proper American diner (the Hurricane cafe)

Shelby & Deb

dicks burgers, seattle

Seattle Percussion Collective

Seattle Percussion Collective

The next morning, in Seattle's attempt at warm sunny spring weather, I headed off to the Pacific Science Center. When I was there last I saw a great exhibition on the history of video games. And not to be outdone for geeky nerdiness, this time they had an exhibition of Star Wars. Lots of the original models and costumes and lots of guys in their 30's as well as several rather excited children.


Took the chance to go to the IMAX and saw the visually stunning, but rather poor, Sucker Punch. Anything on a giant IMAX screen looks impressive. Following my dose of comic book, sci-fi nerding, I walked down to the tourist filled but always interesting Pike Place market, ate some piroshkys from the Russian bakery, Piroshky Piroshky and found out I was too late for the Seattle Art Museum. Gonna have to make a 5th visit to Seattle if I want to see it.
Took the one hour bus ride back to Puyallup and spent the evening, lounginga round watching TV with my two miniature daschunds, Phoebe and Murphy. The following day, how else to celebrate being in America than but getting a double barreled shotgun and a bag of shotgun cartridges and going shooting. Many clay pigeons felt the wrath of my murderous instincts and a nice yellow/brown bruise is still on my shoulder from the 50 rounds I ended up shooting. Went to Farellis pizza to see Shelby hard at work and to eat a 'James' favourite pizza' 

On a rainy Monday morning, myself and Shelby took the 150 mile drive south to Portland in Oregon. In the pouring north west rain, we ate some deep fried Sushi from an outside food trailer for lunch, browsed around some stores, I did the gentlemanly thing of sitting in a dress shop whilst Shelby tried on and got herself a Betsy Johnson dress. We then visited, what is possibly the best book shop in the world, Powells books is shelves and shelves of every possible type of book, new and second hand, amazing, and I could spend a week just hanging around in there looking at all the books I can't buy because I'm traveling. We also dropped into Cargo, a huge warehouse style shop full of the most random Chinese and Japanese things, from waving golden cats, to birdcages, beads, coins, umbrellas, an unbelievable assortment of what can only be described as 'stuff'

Cargo, Portland

Japanese Cherry Trees, Portland

Portland at night

The following morning, I'm back traveling alone once more, so I take a wander around the city, when it's trying to be dry and slightly sunny. I head east to meet the producer of the first demos from one of my favourite Dublin bands, Delorentos, who brings me to the amazingly good, Sumptown Coffee and then to a music store where we try and find some musicians in town who want to be photographed. After some possible contacts are made I head back to my hostel where I manage to arrange a photo pass to a gig from San Fran band, The Dodos, but much like happens everywhere in the world, when I get to the box office, they've never heard of me or the PR company contact. So I take the long rainy walk back to my hostel. But this being the liberal artsy north west I come across and indie movie theatre and catch a local film, Cold Weather, a slightly strange Portland set, semi-detective movie. 

Native American Art, Portland

So today I wake up to torrential rain and arrive too late at the Byways cafe for breakfast (see note at very top of this blog post) Head off to the Portland Art Museum which is surprisingly big, well worth the $12 entrance, and has a really varied collection of art, everything from Native American art form the 1800 and 1900's to pieces by Picasso and Rothko, as well as a huge showing of art from private collectors in the Portland area. 
After some make your own frozen yogurt in Tartberry, I head back to the hostel to charge my phone and computer and plan my evening which hopefully is a gig in a pizzeria, in aid of Japanese tsumani relief. And lots of looking up flights and buses and trains as to where I'm going to next. As of now, not sure which town I'll be in next, watch this space....

Shelby & I, me not being quite as excited about cowboy boots and dress shopping as Shelby is.


  1. So glad you got to stay with them. You know that video game exhibition came to Dublin for a while, but it wasn't set up nearly as well as in the Science Center. Whilst in San Fran, will you pick me up something from the Castro? Shelby got me a pair of pants that say "Hot Cookie." I think I'm gonna make it a tradition.

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