Things I loved about Buenos Aires

  • I learned that ‘Buena Onda’ means literally ‘Good wave,’ but the interpretation is about a location’s vibe or atmosphere. I realized that we don’t talk about waves, but close enough we talk about vibes. It was fun to wander around the neighborhoods in search of a ‘buena onda.’
  • Buenos Aires is four hours ahead of San Francisco, and I had a bit of a hard time adjusting. This was okay as I had calls with Bangladesh beginning at 12:30 am, and also because I was awake to enjoy a bit more of the BA lifestyle. People don’t eat dinner until 9pm, and even later on the weekends! So I would work until 10 or so, then walk down Av Corrientes (even on a random Wednesday night) and people would be out and about at dinner, or standing in line for gelato. It was wonderful to be awake, and as a result I started my days later, but that’s okay because the cafes didn’t even open until 9 am!
  • And speaking of cafes, these establishments are where I spent a lot of my time. BA has no shortage of cafes, with beautiful tile, and sometimes even marble or stained glass! The coffee, while not high end, was delicious in the form of a cappuccino or cortado (or my favorite, café lagrima), and always came with sparkling water and a couple of cookies. Though it was a tough competition, El Gato Negro was my favorite place – a coffee and tea place downstairs, a restaurant upstairs, the place smelled overwhelmingly of delicious spices. The décor was cool too, with El Gato Negro tins everywhere and dark wood lining the walls. I planned out my coffee selections according to this blog: http://wander-argentina.com/coffee-culture-ordering/
  • Three words: Dulce de Leche. If ever a perfect food has been created, it is dulce de leche. It looks like caramel sauce, but it is emphatically better than caramel sauce. And this may be a controversial statement, but don’t ruin it by putting it in an alfajore! It’s good just all by itself. Or in gelato form. Truly one of the best things about BA is the ubiquity of dulce de leche.
  • In addition to dulce de leche, parillas (pronounced parishas) are another culinary delight. They are the places to go to get the famous Argentinean steaks. Big metal grills, usually in the front of the restaurant, or at least where you can see the chefs working their magic, cook huge slabs of beef, pork, chicken, and vegetables. It smells and it delicious. Paired with a glass of Malbec, or a Malbec-Syrah blend, it is a meal worth traveling to BA for.
  • Lastly, if you are looking for hipsters, or things in mason jars, head to Palermo. It is a hip, walkable neighborhood, with cobble-stone streets and big trees. Lots of cool restaurants and bars line the streets, and there is lots of shopping too, if that’s what you’re into. I stayed at a beautiful Airbnb with lots of color, and a balcony overlooking the action on the street. Nearby is Bosques de Palermo, a cool park that is good for running, or perusing the rose garden. If I return to BA, I will definitely stay in this neighborhood.
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Fieldwork Life

Recently, I spent a full work week inside the walls of the third flood of a small apartment building. In rural Bangladesh. It was our office space/sleeping space/eating space all rolled into one. The place was cramped, crowded, and hot. You may think this would have been the ingredients for misery, and indeed, I was physically uncomfortable some of the time. However, living, breathing, and eating with my colleagues for that many days in a row helped me to get to know some amazing people who I might not have gotten to know otherwise.

The apartment building was situated along a narrow dirt path, opposite a field of separated fish ponds. Beyond the fish ponds were rice paddies, banana plantations, and acres and acres of water hyacinth. Birds swooped around, families of ducks lined the shores, and baby chicks followed their moms around as the hens rooted through the detritus. Men in rafts made of banana tree stalks glided around the ponds, checking on their fish (?). At one point I saw something swimming along the far edge of the pond – it looked like the head of a beaver or a river otter. My colleague informed me it was a very poisonous snake, though I’m not sure I completely trust his wildlife identification skills.

As I was not allowed to walk through the community solo, I sometimes took solace in the relative calm of the roof. The rooftop was amazing, like being in the canopy of the jungle! I had a bird’s eye view of the paths below, and birds swooped through the trees and alighted on the cement barrier, permitting me a closer look. The Muslim call to prayer that echoed over the trees at both sunrise and sunset made the roof my favorite spot to spend both the day’s beginning and end.

After a full day of work, we would take delicious Bangladeshi tea, and sometimes go for a walk along the dirt path, or visit the local market. One night we even saw a musical performance from a husband/wife duo who lived in the community! They serenaded us for hours, before forcing me, the token American, to get up to the mike! It was a fun night, especially when they took a tea break and provided ginger tea, and a snack made of puffed rice, chilies, onions, and spices. Yum!

The visit to the local market was (surprise surprise) my favorite night of all. We wandered through the dirt streets, visiting the open stalls, perusing fancy cosmetics and textiles of all types. I said that I wanted to purchase a lungi, which is a striped cloth that men wear like a towel (but in the outside world, not just in the house). We took a seat at our requisite stools and the men snapped lungi after lungi open for our discernment. While we were seated and deciding between lungis, the shop owner purchased tea and snacks for us while we waited! The shop owner! I swear, Bangladesh people are the nicest, most accommodating people on the planet.

So accommodating and friendly, that they make what has the potential to be a miserable trip, a thoroughly enjoyable one. I can’t wait to visit the remote office again, this time with a mosquito net!

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A trip to the center of the earth (format loosely based on the Voyages issue of the NYT)

In early April, I hopped in the car early Sunday morning, and headed South down I-5. The clouds in the sky, and the surrounding green hills, made the trip more pleasant than it otherwise would be. I snacked on edamame and listened to podcasts, making eight hour drive almost enjoyable. The spring air outside the window whizzed by, and before I knew it, I was on the eastern side of the Sierras, making my way north. I stopped at Albertson’s, in the ghetto fabulous town of Bakersfield, and picked up some apples, almonds, and donut holes to get me through the trip (though the donut holes had no chance of lasting very long). This is notable only for the reason that I hadn’t seen an Albertson’s Grocery in 20 years, and I had though the chain was long defunct. However, that instant smell of greasy fried chicken brought me back to the heydays of my youth, and took my mind off the worry that my car would be broken into while I was in the store (did I mention Bakersfield is ghetto?)

I went through towns such as Trona, a boarded-up, desolate town with a mill for making talc. I was shocked at the emptiness. It was as if there was an emergency order to evacuate, and everyone had dropped what they were doing and fled. I did find that the gas station manned however. A bored teenager, and an older woman stood behind the register, gazing at nothing. The gas station parking lot was filled with motorcyclists taking a break from their ride. Strangely, these people did nothing to make me feel less alone.

I drove further down the road, and the mountains rose on either side of the small valley I was driving through and the road turned a crimson red, for reasons that are unclear to me. Wildflowers appeared in yellow bursts occasionally on the side of the road. I drove for miles without seeing another car, the only company coming from my speakers in form of the podcast of the hour.

It is fitting that I was feeling so small and desolate that I should happen upon a ghost town. The town of Ballarat, it was apparently a happening place in the late 1800’s, during a mining boom. Feeling adventurous I drove the two miles down the gravel road to see what this strange tourist destination was about. I parked my car near the general store, which was open, but completely empty. Again, it was as if someone left in a hurry. All that was left behind was a cash register, some Ballarat paraphenelia, and a sign that said ‘don’t tread on my gun rights.’ Okayyyy. I quickly turned and exited the general store, half expecting the piano on the front porch to start magically playing, and looked around outside a bit. I could see people in their campers in the distance, but I wasn’t sure what they were doing, and I wasn’t too keen to find out. I walked over to another structure, and old wooden building with a hastily-made sign that read ‘Jail and Morgue’ hanging about the doorway. I stepped inside on the wood-plank floor. Two rooms, two beds, and not much else. The creeps further settling in, I left the jail/morgue, got in my car, and drove the two miles back out to the main road. Later I would read on Wikipedia that the Mansons (that is, the family of Charles Manson), lived nearby, and left graffiti in the town. True or not, I’m glad I was unaware of that fact when I was exploring the deserted ghost town, alone, in an unreliable car.

Back on the main road, I drove another hour to Stovepipe Wells Campground, in Death Valley. The drive was incredibly beautiful, and I was just so happy to finally be there. I hopped out into 85 degree weather, with the sun beating down strongly on any exposed patch of skin. It felt incredible. I popped a few donuts holes and walked the perimeter of the gravel ground, tree-less campground, hoping to find a spot to pitch my tent that wasn’t in the gravel parking lot. As I was walking by, a man with his two sons asked if I was looking for a spot. Yes, yes I was. He informed me that I could camp along the perimeter, where the desert scrub-brushes were, just beyond his camp. I was deeply grateful, and assumed this courtesy would be extended to all wandering campers, but when another camper approached to ask about spots, the same offer was not extended. Oh well, finders keepers! I was a little creeped out by his enthusiastic offer, but hey, he had two sons, and I really didn’t want to pitch my tent in the dust. I went off to pay my campground fee, and explore the other amenities the campground had to offer.

Though the campground was quite sparse, there was a general store (with soft-serve inside and rocking chairs out front!), and a lodge across the street with two restaurants (but only one which appeared to be open), a pool, another store, and a business center. Oh, and pro-tip, their bathroom had soap! They also had wifi, precious wifi. Satisfied with my exploration, I went back to set-up camp. My campmate was casually cleaning his armpits with a wet cloth as I approached. His two boys were running around kicking up an inordinate amount of dust, as small boys do.  ‘Anywhere back there’ he said, and I went to search for a suitable spot for my small, lime green tent.  I went back to the business center and tried to answer a few emails, and decided that joining a conference call was a lost cause. I ate a nasty piece of leftover pizza and walked on the crunchy gravel back to my tent. By then it was dark, and the stars were out in full, spectacular force. The sky was glittering, and it was absolutely amazing. The campground had filled up, and people were milling about in the darkness. Kids were having blast playing with a glow-in-the-dark frisbee. I returned to my tent, which was actually hard to find in the dark, and found out that a circle of non-sanctioned tents had gone up next to mine. Non-sanctioned by the campground man I mean, I for one, was happy to have company in the darkness of the desert. So I laid back on my comfortable sleeping back with the tent door wide open (no bugs bugged me!) and gazed at the bright, dense stars. I listed to the comforting tent-muffled conversations next door, and the distant sounds of someone playing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah on the banjo. I drifted off to sleep easily, with the natural and non-natural sounds providing a soft soporific.

Well-rested, I popped out of my tent just as the sun was peaking over the Amagorosa mountains. I donned my running clothes and jogged through the bushes into the desert. As I was doing so, I passed a woman doing sun salutations on a mat in the smooth sand. As her lycra’ed leg lifted gracefully into the sky with the backdrop of the sun rising over the mountains, I made a mental note to come and do that the following morning.

After breakfast, I ran up the rode to the Mosaic Canyon hike. I set out at about 10 am, as the sun was high and punishing. Nevertheless, I grabbed my water bottle, donned the sunscreen and headed up the dusty gravel road. I was not sorry that I did. The mosaic canyon, layered with four types of rock, was a beautiful site. After hitting a dead end, I ran back down to the campground, and immediately dumped some cold water on my head. Parched and hungry, I grabbed my lunch and water, and sat in front of the general store, and enjoyed the sunshine and heat. After lunch, I drove to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, and looked around a bit. The place was pretty crowded with tourists and families, and everyone enjoying some general merriment! I walked around a bit, tried to get a good pic of Telescope Peak and drove back.

Deciding I needed a shower, I purchased a shower/pool pass and swam a few laps, despite the pool not being heated. It was fun to swim in a pool in the dessert, with the dramatic backdrop of the mountains. Afterward I got some real work done in the business center, and took myself out to dinner in the lodge. The restaurant was old and decrepit, with creaky wooden floors, carpeted over with carpet from the 1970’s, but it did the job, and I was able to order a prickly pear salad, which was sounded better than it was. The sun was setting by the time dinner was over, so I grabbed my NYT magazine, and sat out at a picnic table to read and watch the sunset. But the wind was picking up, and it slowly turned into a veritable windstorm! The wind whipped everywhere and from the time I had walked from the lodge to my tent, I had dust in every orifice. That night in my tent, it felt like the hand of God was reaching down to shake my tent every few seconds! Cool!

The following morning I woke early, and did a few sun salutations as the sun popped over the mountains. It was glorious! I then loaded up the car, and drove west (northwest), over mountain passes and through eastern Sierra towns until I reached the mountain town of Mammoth, and about froze my toosh off.

I checked into the Davison St. Guest House, and worked the afternoon away. A guy at the hostel had told me about this place called Hot Creek, so I went for a run out to check it out, and couldn’t resist a soak in the hot pool.

That night at the hostel, everyone was really nice. I was the youngest person there, surprisingly! Everyone was older and on a ski vacation. And really cool. We all sat around talking about history and politics, and it was a lovely evening.

The next day I drove out of the Eastern Sierras, one of my favorite places on earth, a vowed to return again soon.

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Sundance 2017

Darryl and I were fortunate enough to attend Sundance this year in the snow globe city of Park City. It was amazing. We spent one day skiing, and one day watching movies. We saw World Without End (No Incidents Reported), the awards for the shorts, The Incredible Jessica James, and Legion of Brothers. My favorite by far was The Incredible Jessica James. My favorite quote, “It must be my raw feminine energy.” Yes! Also, the director came out and spoke, and said when his daughter is old enough to watch it, he wants to be able to point to Jessica James’ character as a great role model (i.e. a leader who doesn’t take any crap from anyone). Anyway, Sundance was an amazing experience. Though the movies are 20 bucks a pop, it is totally worth it!

Things I learned at Sundance 2017:

The Q and A with a director after a movie is like the best thing ever. I wish this could happen at every movie (impractical, I know). But it increases my enjoyment of the movie by several degrees of magnitude.

It is fun standing in waitlist lines. Really! It is fun hearing people’s stories from all over the country, and shivering together is a bonding experience. Also. I love hearing what people have seen, why they liked it, and what they are going to see next.

It is fun riding the theater loop shuttle. For the same reason as the waitlist line.

Locals at Park City hate the Sundance Festival. One guy started randomly yelling into the parking garage where the waitlist was formed “This is public parking! THIS IS PUBLIC PARKING!” Apparently he wasn’t too happy about his parking garage getting co-opted.

I really love film festivals. Now I want to attend more and more.

Sundance on the cheap:

People are often perplexed by my ability to travel so much. I think people think I must have a huge credit card balance or that my boyfriend pays for everything (I don’t and he doesn’t – though he does pay for a few things now and then of course).

Anyway, here’s how I managed a budget trip to Sundance

Step 1: I live close to the airport and there is this thing called Uber pool. My to-airport fees were about 12 bucks.

Step 2: Pack light. I usually check nothing, as airline baggage fees are horrendous, but this time I had to check my skis and boots (but it was only 25 each way for the two of them – in this case it may have been cheaper to rent skis, but I like my gear).

Step 3: Use credit card points to rent a car (free!)

Step 4: Grab an Airbnb. We stayed at an Airbnb for 60 bucks a night, so divided by two, my stay for the first two nights was 30 each. It was just one bedroom in someone’s house, but it was incredible! They even had a hot tub!

Step 5: Grocery shop. Helps avoid huge dining costs, and we packed snacks for our day of skiing, no way were we paying mountain prices for crappy food.

Step 6: We used the free shuttles everywhere. I think we took just one uber ride.

Step 7: Book a cheap night close to the airport. Our stay at the Salt Lake City Quality Inn and Suites was about 50 bucks.

In short, take advantage of new technology and credit card points. No way would I be able to travel as much without the sharing economy!

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Parque Las Palapas

I’m here in Cancun for a conference, and I am staying in the Zona Hotelera, which is nice, but doesn’t feel like real Mexico (because it’s not), so after five days straight in touristy, beach-land, I had to get out.

I hopped on the bus that leaves to hotel zone, and headed for Parque las Palapas in search of delicious food. I’d heard about it on a blog, and wanted to check it out.

It was a really short bus ride (ten pesos), and though I had only a vague idea of where I was going, I found it pretty quickly, by just asking the bus driver, and then the guy in the Oxxo store.

It was a beautiful evening, and there were so many families out enjoying the warm night. There was live music, street performers, rides for kids, superheroes posing for pics, cotton candy, and of course, a ton of food. I think most tourists are really missing out by not visiting this park. There were even people practicing their acrobatics.

I took a walk around, spying all of the food vendors before making a choice. I started with a churro, which was amazingly delicious, because why not start with dessert? I then moved on to an Esquite, which is a boiled corn cob, spread with a little mayo, topped with cheese and chili powder. If it sounds gross to you, don’t knock it until you try it!

I then moved on to a Salbute, which is a fried tortilla, with a choice of potato, chicken, or meat as the filling, and topped with lettuce, cheese, and cream (I love that Mexicans put cream on everything!). I got the potato one and it was really interesting. I ate it like a taco, though I don’t know the proper way. I topped off my four course dinner with some flan. The total cost for all of my calories: 45 pesos, or about $2.50. Try doing that in the hotel zone!

On the way back to the main street where I caught the bus, there were lots of vendors and street performers. I bought some earrings, and tipped some street performers. There was even an Elvis replica outside of one of the restaurants!

All in all, it was an amazing evening, and I highly recommend visiting the Parque las Palapas

!

 

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The Marble-ous Mountains

 

The Marble Mountains are a wondrous place, that is, if you’re into wildflowers, clear lakes, and camping under the night sky. Yes, there were some mosquitos, but not many. We had an excellent trip. Here is our route.

Thursday night we left San Francisco at rush hour (contra-indicated). But this allowed us to be two hours closer to the trailhead on Friday. We stayed overnight at the Stage Stop Inn in Williams, a town which for all intents and purposes seemed like a ghost town (However, if you do find yourself in Williams for some reason, try Granzella’s!). We were one of two parties at the hotel that night, it seemed. Friday morning we enjoyed our continental breakfast of corn flakes out of Styrofoam bowls by a decrepit pool, and headed north. We stopped for lunch in Fort Jones, a tiny gold-mining town, with a surprisingly rich history.

We got on the trail at about 12 or 1 pm at the Shackleford Trailhead, and hiked the 4.5 miles to Campbell Lake. Campbell Lake, while the easiest to get to, was probably my least favorite. The water just wasn’t as clear as the other lakes, and the surroundings not as spectacular. However, the dip in the lake did feel quite nice, and there were some pretty cool islands on which some other campers were hanging out. That night we were also joined by a troop of boy scouts, their fathers, and a dog, who were nice enough, if a bit loud. It was at least fun to overhear the 12-year-olds interact with each other. There was a lot of fighting and carrying on, which is about what you might expect from 12 year old boys, and a lot of “Dad, can I…” Also, the dog kept coming into our campsite, and I thought it was a bear at one point. Never a dull moment in the back country!

The next day we went on to Shadow Lake, a tiny little lake high up on a ridge. It was beautiful, and looked down on the Sky High Lakes, which were apparently not-so-sky-high. The label ‘lake’ may also be a misnomer, as it was probably closer to a puddle in size.  This section of the trip was fun, as it was on the PCT, so we saw a lot of through hikers. Literally coming from Mexico and heading to Canada. Such brave, masochistic souls. Most seemed in good spirits though.

Since the hike from Campbell to Shadow was pretty short (7.3 miles), or maybe we were just comparing ourselves to the through-hikers and feeling bad about ourselves, we threw our packs down and headed out to the Black Marble Mountain saddle. This was by far the most beautiful view of our trip! It was a gorgeous view looking down over a green valley, and a great view of the Marble Mountains. Highly recommended! After all that hiking, we came back to our camp at Shadow Lake for a swim, and made short work of a delicious dinner of tortellini and pesto, which is my favorite back-country dinner.

The following day we hiked through the Marble Valley, which was all in all a pretty hike, but nothing really to write home about. However, walking through the meadow to arrive at Deep Lake was nothing short of a religious experience (or maybe my blood sugar was low since we had just hiked 12 miles). The meadow was full of beautiful grasses and wildflowers and ahead loomed a sheer rock ridge with Deep Lake nestled at the bottom. Deep Lake itself was crystal clear blue, with lots of rocks for jumping. It was quite chilly, but a swim out to the center was a surreal experience. We also had a great campsite on the straight side of a large boulder, which afforded some protection from the wind. We swam, and cooked a delicious backcountry dinner of mushroom risotto and thai curry (i.e. we boiled water and poured them into the bags).

On our last day, we scrambled up over the drainage on the ridge to get back on the trail. It was a bit of a struggle directions-wise, but we stayed on track, and had a great time hopping up over boulders and cresting ridges. After cresting one of the ridges, we were rewarded with a beautiful view of Mt. Shasta.  It was a tough last day (8 miles, with the first two scrambling over ridges), but we made our way back to the trail and out to our car, which was waiting patiently for our return. Then we went and got huge, well-deserved hamburgers in Yreka, which were well-deserved! Full and filthy, we headed home, but dreamed of returning again soon!

 

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Microbrews, puppies, and yoga pants: 4 days in Bend, Oregon

 

Day One (Friday):  We drove up to Bend from Portland via Mt. Hood, and it was a nice scenic drive. You go past meadows and up and down canyons, with dramatic views of mountains from the road. I recommend going via Mt Hood, as you can stop at the Crooked River Gorge (Ogden Scenic View Point) to stretch your legs. If you are lucky, you may be able to see someone bungee jump into the gorge, as we did J. Arriving in Bend, we stopped at the Bluebird Café for a cup of tea/coffee. It was a cute little café/bookshop and their logo is a woman dipping her toe into a cup of coffee, a logo modelled after a black and white photo of the café owner’s mother, dipping her toe into one of the nearby Crater Lakes. It was a cool café that sort of embodied Bend for me.

After a cheap dinner at Chipotle (hey we didn’t want to break the bank on our first night!) we headed out to Sunriver Resort to drink some beer at the lodge and listen to live music. It was okay – the resort was nice, but the crowd was seriously lacking in diversity. However, it wasn’t a bad place to watch the sun sink below the horizon.

Afterward we stopped by Bend Brewery overlooking Mirror Pond, and sampled some delicious beers. This is a small brewery that produces less that 1,000 barrels per year, so it is a real treat to try their beers.

Day Two (Saturday): After a run through the Old Mill District, we headed to Sparrow Bakery (famous for their Ocean Rolls) and sat outside in the sunshine, at a wooden, communal table. It was nice to just chat with people, most who were visiting, some who lived there. Afterward, we headed up to Lava Lands National Monument, and walked amongst the lava fields. It was pretty neat, walking through lava fields is the closest you can get to imagining what would happen if time stopped in place. The lava froze in literal waves, making rocks forever frozen in time.

On Saturday, we also explored Benham Falls, and Paulina Lake. Don’t miss Benham Falls, but if you don’t have time to hike around the lake, or up to Paulina Peak, you could probably skip it.

We then met up with some friends at Goodlife Brewery, a sunny, happy brewery with good beer and good nachos. At 7 pm, we bade farewell to our friends, and headed to the office of Wanderlust Tours, for our starlight canoe tour. It was expensive, at 75 bucks a person, but worth it! Our guide drove us up to Howser Lake, one of the Cascade Lakes, and we put our canoes in the water just as the sun was going down. Darryl and I were the first into the water, and we immediately saw a mama duck with her tiny, tiny little baby ducks all in a row! It was soooo cute! The lake was really cool – long and narrow so we paddled along with the tule grass high on both sides. As the stars came out, our guide pointed out constellations, and a couple of ways to determine where north is by looking at the stars in the summer sky. We also had a beer/hot chocolate stop in the middle of the lake! I would highly recommend Wanderlust Tours – they do a great job, and they do a number of different tours.

Note: We did not float down the river. However, we saw a lot of people doing this and it looked really fun!

Day Three (Sunday): Sunday we headed to the Victorian Café, a cute little house turned into café, that was extremely packed on a Sunday morning. But the wait wasn’t bad, as they have a nice spot set out for people to wait under the pine trees, around a fire pit, with free (I think!) coffee and juice. The food was great, and we got lucky and had a table right by the window. The Oregon chai latte was good, if a bit sweet. To burn off our decadent breakfast, we headed to Smith Rock and hiked around. Do NOT miss Smith Rock! It is beautiful, and the hiking was amazing. We did the 4-mile misery ridge trail, which was the opposite of miserable, in my opinion.

We stopped by the 10 Barrel Brewery, our second favorite (Crux Fermentation Project was our favorite), as the beer was good, and the ambiance was even better! We sat at the open air bar near the back, and really just people-watched. It was nice, and of course the Apocalyse IPA was deeeeelish!

Dinner was at the NY Times recommended Blacksmith, a really cool restaurant in an old (of course) Blacksmith shop. It was just as you might expect a restaurant in an old blacksmith shop to be – all brick, with black painted window-sills. In the windows were the original anvils (I just made that up, but I hope it’s true). The plaque outside says the building is “the finest example of an early blacksmith shop left in the county.” You should go see for yourself.

We capped of the night by watching the sunset from Pilot Butte, which was an amazing show of oranges and pinks, and capped off by a lightning show to the south.

Day 4, Monday: Monday was a work day for both of us, so I worked from Thump Coffee, which was a nice, local spot. That night we visited the excellent Crux Fermentation Project, a really cool microbrewery with an excellent vibe. So.much.good people-watching at this brewery. Everyone was post-bike ride or post-run, and people were sitting out on the lawn, playing cornhole or just hanging out. People also brought their dogs, and even they were getting along famously (seriously, even a tiny little puppy and a huge Mastiff were hanging out.) Yoga gear was also out in full force; the place could have seriously been a magazine advertisement for Lululemon. One woman even had an Esalen Institute hoodie on. Flannels and beards were abundant.

Stuff we saw a lot of:

Bros with trucker hats
Big trucks
Confederate flags, curiously
Snow-capped peaks
Stretched out earlobes

Downsides:

No uber! Apparently there is a taxi app. We aren’t sure how well it works.
There were a lot of strip malls once you get outside downtown or the Old Mill District

Where we stayed: This time we did not do Airbnb (I forget why). However, we loved loved loved the Econolodge! It was clean and cheap (70 bucks a night), and perfectly located. The bed was comfortable, and they even had a small free breakfast.

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