But for my money, the most fascinating aspect was the phenomenon known as "Fred Meyer."
My wife said, "No. You need to experience Fred Meyer."
I thought, "Whaaat? I don't wanna' meet some long-lost fourth cousin or whatever." I asked my wife what or who Fred Meyers was. She wouldn't answer, just smiled and said, "You'll see."
And see I did. The world as I knew it exploded.
We pulled up to the parking lot. From the outside the store looked like any ol' Walmart. But a world of wonders awaited inside.
Aisles and miles of groceries. Nothing unusual about that. Then there were more aisles of clothing. Again, not that unusual. But...they had an expensive jewelry display right next to the cheese aisle! Mind-blowing! Cheddar and diamonds!
I visited the rest of the store, a surprise down every aisle. Potato chips coexisted next to socks (and don't get me going about how my wife and my Oregon dwelling pal LOVES Fred Meyers' socks). Toilet paper made for strange bedfellows with scarfs. You want shoes? Just turn left past the canned goods, right by the underwear, hook a u-turn after the cereal.
Then things took a turn for the worse. Unhappy with my wrinkled shirt, my wife decided I needed a new top. Fine. Boom. Done in one minute, the way I shop. But my wife insisted I try it on. The problem was the store was under construction (kinda like when you go to Disneyland and inevitably, the best ride is always "under construction"). There were no men dressing rooms. Rebel that I am, I tried to get into the women's dressing room, but the door was oddly lodged stuck. With no other option, I stripped down next to the Lima beans (in front of my niece, no less) and tried on the shirt.
You know, most people come back from Portland with great vacation tales of seeing whales and the beauty of its greenery.
I got Fred Meyers. (And my brother-in-law's crazy neighbor who sprays an aerosol can outside on bugs, but that's a story for another time). One of the best tourist attractions since the hilarious horrors of the "Precious Moments" chapel.