Portland – Day 2

Today was the first of the ‘Mrs Days’ of JSConf – more typically known as the ‘Significant Other Track’ – while the conference-goers are choosing whether to attend talks on Track A or Track B, their partners can be entertained by the conference organiser’s wife.

Our first day of activities – Nature Day.

After a bit of getting-to-know you just after dropping our partners off at the conference we all boarded a bus for a trip out of the city to some falls and a tour of a historical mansion. I was almost last on the bus and it was amazing how quickly others had formed a click – I sat towards the back of the bus for an excellent vantage point of the groups forming up front. If you know the movie Miss Congeniality, you’ll know what I mean when I say it was like the bus trip that left the Alamo for the Miss United States Pageant! I noticed that the majority of the group were dark-haired and all extremely chatty “and like, my friend, like, is totally hooked up with, like the latest shops in her neighbourhood but I’m like, “girlfriend it’s one and a half times the cost of living in that neighbourhood, I put our expenses through one of those calculators and like it’s totally out of reach””. There was a much older couple on the bus and I wondered if they accompanied their son to the conference and were eligible for the Significant Other Track. The wives were all so chatty – I wonder if it’s because we’re all married to geeks who just sit in dark rooms and code all the time … I met one girl who was new to knitting and using a round needle on the sleeve of a sweater she was knitting she was able to walk, talk, stand and knit so the sleeve grew heaps during that first day.

The trip out of the city was pretty – the day was a bit misty and we followed the river along the border between Oregon and Washington states. We wound up into the hills to a vantage point and then onto the amazing Multnomah Falls – the second highest all year round falls in the States (assume Niagara is the first?)

Portland - The Vista House

We had lunch in the lodge at the falls – a giant corned beef on rye for me – had to take most of the meat out – it was enormous! It was freezing at the falls, I guess the spray kept the area around the water cool.

Portland - Multnomah Falls

After the falls we toured the Pittock Mansion – an early settling lumber family in the region. I don’t really have much patience for listening to tour guides talk about old stoves and bedrooms and faucets and customs but it was quite cathartic to show some interest and let it wash over me. The house wasn’t that spectacular compared to some of those I’ve seen in Europe but interesting enough. (Gosh that sounds a bit snobby and well-travelled!)

Portland - Multnomah Falls

Dinner tonight was at Clyde Common joined to the Ace Hotel. A place with a daily fresh produce menu where everyone sat at long shared tables. We sat up at the bar and after finding out that the bar tender was from Melbourne, we ate there rather than at a table. It was a great fresh meal – I had wholemeal pasta with asparagus, broad beans and other vegies and The Mister had “the best f’ing pork chop ever” (Ed. note later … turned out to be best meal of the trip). Another guy came to sit at the bar by himself and eventually we found out that he was from Australia (and knew the bar tender it turned out … who knew Australia was so small?) and had been attending the conference too so he and The Mister geeked on for a while, ordered port and cocktails, while I nodded supportively like a good wife and pretended that I was still present in the conversation while I checked Twitter and email (yaaaay for free wi-fi!).


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