Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Before arriving in Portland, I had no idea what there was to see and do in this Oregon city.

I only knew that I had 2 things to look forward to:

(1) Tax-Free Shopping

Oregon is one of 5 sales-tax exempt states in the USA (the others being Alaska, New Hampshire, Delaware and Montana.) Which can only mean one thing - GOOD SHOPPING!!!

And there IS some fabulous shopping indeed, just 20 minutes south of Portland at the Woodburn Company Stores outlet mall, which carries brands like Coach, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, GAP, etc. The best deal I got was a Banana Republic dress that cost US$16! Coming straight from California which has the highest sales tax in the country (9%), tax-free purchasing was a huge relief and kinder on our budget.


Well, just one member of the family - my sister! We last met in May when the folks joined us in the US for a holiday. She guest-blogged about Six Flags in Montreal and artery-clogging American food.

Waiting at Portland airport bright and early at 7am

Two interesting things about the sis:

(i) She looks nothing like me. We would make good visual aids for teachers educating kids about Opposites.

- Dark-skinned
- Ruler-straight hair
- Large eyes
- Double eyelids
- Round face
- Most resembles: Malays, Thais, Indonesians and the hot favourite - Philippinas

- Fair-skinned
- Curly hair
- Small slanty eyes
- Single eyelids (but they recently doubled, somehow)
- Pointy-chinned
- Most resembles: Japanese

We do have 2 family traits in common though:
- The Nose
- eyebrows that end midway (they have no tail ends)

See for yourself:

With Popeye and Teng Ning, my sis' colleague. My sis and Dan have 1 thing in common - a love for all things chicken. Esp. if they come in buckets of 9 pieces and above.

Our names are rather similar too: Yi Lin, Li Lin. Which made it quite a nightmare in the pre-handphone era when our friends from school would call the house phone to speak to us about school stuff. Countless times, I've retrieved the phone from a parent informing that there's a call for me, and talked for 5 minutes to the girl on the other end of the line, only to find that I've been talking to my sister's classmate (all of 4 years my junior) all the while. The following is a template of a typical "wrong" conversation:

Caller: Hey, what do we have to bring for art class tomorrow?
Me: What art class? There's no art tomorrow.
Caller: Yes there is.
Me: No there isn't.

*repeat last 2 lines a few more times*

*pregnant pause*

Me: Hang on, did you want to speak to YI Lin or LI Lin?

Uh huh. Confusing.

(ii) She's a Life Coach and arguably the youngest in Asia to be professionally certified by the International Coaching Federation. Which means that she coaches people in making significant breakthroughs and achieving their dreams through powerful living.

And here's what the chicken-guzzler and maniac-driver-of-our-car looks like when at work (click here). Impressive career profile eh.

The girl was in town for a month-long training programme related to her coaching work. After helping her move her luggage into her apartment, we headed to Walmart, bought a blow-up air mattress and crashed in her cozy flat for 3 nights. I didn't mind sleeping on the uncomfortable mattress cos it meant that we could use her washing machine and dryer for free!

A lovely studio apartment in downtown Portland

Our very own loft

While the sis attended classes during the day, Dan and I explored downtown Portland on our own. Portland is reputed to be the most environmentally-friendly city in USA, with green initiatives such as an energy-efficient public transport system in the form of electric trams and buses, green buildings, widespread recycling measures and the most impressive on record - razing down a 6-lane highway running through the city centre and replacing it with a waterfront park.

This used to be a highway

Taking an afternoon stroll along the waterfront. Nice park. Hated the grey wet wintry weather.

Reflections of a pink sunset

Portland has a historical downtown filled with interesting buildings but unfortunately, the constant winter wetness was getting to us, so we stayed indoors most of the time. Our favourite place to hang out at was Powells - a massive book store, with the biggest new and used book collection in the world (more than 1 million books!), which took up an entire street block. Dan spent hours reading entire Star Wars books in the SciFi section, while I hung out with my sis and her friends at Metaphysics. Yeah, sounds incredibly intellectual I know, but I was reading mostly about astrology, horoscopes and what the psychics had to say about my future. They read the truly mind-jolting works by famous authors like Carl Jung and friends.

Queuing to sell our stash of used books. Only managed to sell 1 book, which earned us US$4.95 in store credit. Poooh.

I hear from my sis that the weather in Portland has improved tremendously over the past weeks with the approach of Spring. So look out for our guest blogger's upcoming posts about the fun side of Portland!


Yeepster said...

Translation for description of differences btn u & ur sis:
me - so pretty!
my sis - stupid sis!

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