Monday, March 31, 2008

Misadventures in Portland

The world’s biggest bookstore is in Portland, Oregon. Woo-hoo! So we had to see it before we move. It turned out to be my heaven, a brick-and-mortar version of - several stories high with many rooms filled with bookcases of new and out-of-print books.

What happened afterwards, however, was a demented version of hell.

Lugging around a stack of books and climbing stairs had built up an appetite. I craved my favorite food - sushi, which should be easy to find in a big city. Right? Chuck, our navigation system offered several Japanese restaurants nearby, that all turned out to be strip clubs. Five, not including the never-been-a-sushi-house strip clubs we drove past. Not that I have a problem with strip clubs, but what the hey? How many strip clubs does Portland really need?

So, we decided to wing it and stop somewhere on the way home. Strangely, every restaurant beyond the skyscrapers, closes after dusk, except for one confused Chinese restaurant. I say confused because it also serves Kimchee. (I reeeealy hate kimchee. My apartment-mate in college used to stink up the fridge with kimchee and that smell lingered for weeks.)

So here’s the funny part. After ordering, my hubby thanked the clerk for being open because he didn’t want to feed his family Burger King. The woman responded with, “Oh, Burger King is better.”

What the…We hadn’t a clue if she was joking or if it was a language barrier thing. She walked away as we stared for some sign, unsure.

So my hubby, being the sweetie that he is, said, “If the food sucks, we’ll toss it and eat somewhere else.”

My growling tummy figured, “Why not?”

She gave us drinks in those plastic tumblers typical of Pho restaurants, then told us, “You take it to go, okay? We’re closing.” She didn’t tell us this before we ordered, but after.

Yeah, weird.

So after using a very scary bathroom, we left with our Styrofoam encased, confused Chinese food; and sodas transferred into to-go cups.

I drove the first shift while the fam, the taste-testers ate. They loved it. My hubby described it as a school cafeteria version of Chinese food. Yeah, he likes cafeteria food and has a bionic stomach.

After all the clues so far, you’d think I’d have tossed it, but no, I bravely ate the chicken, rice, and salad during my hubby’s driving shift. “How can they screw up chicken?” I thought.

Oh, how I was wrong. I spent the next two days in the bathroom and am still recovering. The clerk was right – Burger King is better.

The grossest part was the next day as I was lying in bed whining about how awful I felt, my hubby came in reeking of the offending food. I nearly threw up when he leaned in to kiss me. He’d actually eaten the leftovers, knowing it was bad!


Jennifer Wilson said...

What a funny story, thanks for the good laugh (don't worry, it's with you not at you). I know that I'm always eating pizza that's been left out all night, or chili that has been in the fridge for a week and though my husband freaks out and won't have any, I always feel fine afterwards. Of course as I'm eating whatever it is, and Jerry is freaking out, I remind him that before refrigeration was invented meat was always boiled so as to kill the maggots crawling around on it. So this must mean that Ben and I have great immunities, and if some super bug takes out the world it'll just be him and I drawing pictures with Yahoo's Doodle Art. So when are you guys moving back to Modesto? Let me know so I can get signed copies of all of your books. ( =

Vanessa N. Gilfoy said...

Haha. I'm still sick.

We're heading back to the golden state in late July. Yay! You should come up and visit Oregon beforehand. We can go crabbing and I'll take you to the place that's worse than Burger King. :)

Of course you can have signed copies. I mentioned you on the thank you page of one of them. :)

Tammie King said...

Yikes Vanessa - You must tell me where that place is. I'll avoid it like the plague.

I'll miss you if you go, but we are also thinking of moving - to Texas. More house for our money and nicer weather.

Hugs and see you at RT.

Vanessa N. Gilfoy said...

I'll ask Ben if he remembers the name of that place.

Oh, I have news about the attempted move. The California job offer fell through due to a hiring freeze. Schwartzeneger drastically cut schools' budgets so they're going through layoffs and hiring freezes. Sooo, we'll be staying in Oregon, but are stuck with an unsellable house in California. The housing market fell so drastically there that we'd be competing with foreclosed 3-bedroom homes selling for $70,000. (Ouch.) Unfortunately, there isn't the option of me going back to teaching. No one in the sciences here has retired or quit. (Sigh.)