284.March 23

London, UK

I bought my tickets for London when Becca changed hers. We all went to tales of Robin Hood for a fun time. Then my brother John and I decided to take the 17:30 train to London to see Becca off and to do some sightseeing there. We got to Victoria Station early, so we ate at Pizza Express with all our bags. It was sad parting from her. Then John and I went to the Earl's Court Youth Hostel for the night. We had some rude Americans in our room. John got no sleep. I called Lars' mom and told them of my travel plans and route.


Placencia, Belize

We woke at 08:00 and went to breakfast, again prepared and served by Morena, the maid, cook, and wife of the grounds keeper. They live on the back of the property and have a cute little boy named Jessie. They are very nice and Rachel has talked to them all extensively. After breakfast, we met with Neil and Debbie at their place next door, and drove in their Trooper to Placencia. The road is very rough, and takes 20 minutes to go 12 miles. At one point, you have to drive around the airport runway, checking to make sure there are no planes coming or taking off, because they would hit you as they lift up from the short runway.

Our first stop was a grocery store, where we bought Lighthouse beer and drank it on the street, using the stores bottle opener before we even paid for the stuff. We finished it and got another, and then walked to an internet cafe after doing some clothes and souvenir shopping. We bought a monkey backpack made from a coconut, and I got a hacky-sack. We walked down to the dock to a tour booking agent, and Neil haggled with him on the tour price but he wouldn't budge. Neil pretty much accused him of being a thief, and said we get cheaper prices from anyone else. We left with no deal. He explained to us that these aren't the people who lead the tours.

Then to the internet cafe, where I emailed a picture of myself on the beach to a few people, and otherwise made connections with Jake and emailed Jill and Chris.


Greetings from Placencia in Belize. We are having an amazing time, and last night we sang Karaoke in a very questionable bar.We are hanging out with some people from a cabin next door who are from Toronto, but one, Neil, grew up in the same town as Gordon Lightfoot e was a guitar player until his hand was crushed. They have a car, and are hanging out with us, as they are kind of lonely after being here a week.

More lighthouse beer. Rachel had left mine sitting in the sun while I typed my emails and checked on my work computer.

Then we checked another tour agency that looked more lucrative near the internet cafe, and did get a much better deal on our Monkey River tour. We saved 30 belizean dollars each, which is $15 to each of us.

We wandered down to Wendy's restaurant (Belizean Food) after another Lighthouse or two at the Pickled Parrot. (Incidentally, the next time we tried to go to "The Pickeled Parrot", the roof had collapsed, and we could not go in.) Rachel and I had Belikan this time. We drank another Lighthouse on the walk to Wendy's. Rachel and I had fish burritos and tried a bit of Debbie's conch soup, which was rather blah, but wholesome, and the stuff in it had varied textures, "yams" and potatoes and lots of conch meat. (side-note- Helen told us that someone called her "like a conch" which implies bloodless, or heartless.) Debbie and Neil invited us to their cabin for dinner, and grilled meat at their house that night so I went with Neil to a meat shop and bought a roundsteak to cook out.

We got cleaned up when we got back to the Maya Breeze resort. We gathered some of our liquor and four bottles of beer from our freezer, (which we ended up paying lots for because it was provided in our room in the fridge) and went on over across the beech. Vermelio had started the hardwood fire at about 18:00, so we had some drinking time before the meat could be started. Rachel and Debbie cut veggies. Debbie had some Blue Caracao Vodka and fruit juices. They have both been bartenders, and so they made some tasty drinks, but we mostly drank Lighthouse and talked about how we each me as couples. There story was very funny.

I went out with Neil to start grilling the meat, armed with more Lighthouses. We talked about trucks, mechanical things, factories, his job in ventilation, and other jobs he's done. But mostly about trucks. Rachel and Debbie came out for a bit when the meat was nearly done, and he took the two pork chops and the round steak off the fire (medium well) and we went back inside. The dinner was wonderful, though you should never buy steak in Belize. The cows are too skinny and very tough. We borrowed his newly purchased Buck Knife to cut through it. We had a great evening and went home.


Rachel stayed home today, but I took the BMW anyway and enjoyed the windy weather. I had a hair cut at The Salon and booked them for doing the men's hair for my wedding, making sure we could bring wine and have a good time, starting at 11:00. I had lunch with Jill at La Rana: one of the best Reuben Sandwiches I've had, but definitely the best in town.


Portland, Oregon

We woke for coffee and pastries and talked for an hour before we left for the Saturday farmers market to buy groceries for our Hobbit trip into the mountains. Then on to Lu San Chinese garden.

It was a dream of the red chamber come true kind of place, where we experienced tea rituals and moon cakes. Then John fed the meter one more time and we got in line for voodoo donuts, A Portland tradition. We didn’t eat them, as we walked around the city with the box tourists asked what they were and why everyone had them. We posed for pictures with them. We headed to a food court that had some of the best restaurants in the city so that people could get a complete Portland food journey in one space. I had a working man’s Cider and my Rachel had bergamot old fashion.

Then we walked to the riverbank, Through the market, and back to their car so we could get on our way. Good byes at their house and we got on the road for our waterfall tour of the Columbia River Valley gorge on our way to hood river for Mamma Mia.

Our road trip to Mamma Mia followed the Columbia River Gorge. We started out on the highway but then got off on a small road the old highway so that we could go to Bridalveil Falls. It was only 2 miles backtracking. And then about a mile and a half hike total. The falls were beautiful, and we wanted to see more and more. Back in Our jeep, we continued east, seeing Horse Tail Falls and then Mulmatma falls, where we sacrificed our Voodoo doughnut man, finding him raspberry jelly filled with a cream filled brain. I stops the lodge to use the bathroom. They have a very nice lodge and restaurant at that falls, and continued on in earnest so we could check into our Airbnb before the show.

The keypad didn’t work with my phone number, so off to the show, which was further away than I imagined, so we just barely made it and had to sit in separate sections. Lydia was fantastic and the show was very good. Both Rachel and I enjoyed it very much. Afterwords we said hello to Lydia’s family, Who were all there for a family vacation after Lydia’s final performance.

We decided to meet up for drinks after the show and we went back to our Airbnb to try checking in again to no avail. Lydia reached out to us by messenger and asked us to meet her at the Moth Lounge in Hood River, a rainbow friendly bar where there was very accomplished karaoke. Rachel saying Four Non Blondes great acclaim by the entire bar, including the Frenchy puppy named Sweet Dee.

Lydia and I sang Suddenly Seymour, which I learned quickly outside the bar via Youtube. The Airbnb owner sent us another way to get in with a hidden keybox, and after some more songs, some kambucha and cider, we headed home.

The rooms were very comfortable, and the owner was overnighting in Portland, so we had it all to ourselves.