Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Portland's Chinatown

In February of last year, Jason and I took an Adventure into Portland's Chinatown to tour the Chinese garden and enjoy some yummy, yummy food!

Portland's Chinatown area is pretty cool.  Chinatown used to be the biggest of it's kind on the west coast, until the Chinese Exclusion act of the 1880's.  Then the area became a popular place for the Japanese to settle.  That is, until World War II.  Since then, the area has become a little desolate.  You can still see signs of both Chinatown, and Japantown.  There are shops and restaurants all over the place.

But, the highlight of  the area has to be the Lan Su Chinese Gardens.  That's where we spent most of our time on this day trip.

When we walked into the Gardens, I felt instantly at peace.  Even though it's in the middle of the bustling city, it's a quiet, tranquil space, where you can sit and think, read or just relax.

We took the guided tour of the gardens, since all we knew about them was that they existed.  We got to learn the history of the place, and what the different designs and symbols mean.  I won't give anything away-- because it's an interesting tour, and definitely worth taking if you don't know much about Chinese culture, or have never been to the garden before.

After our visit to the Gardens, we had lunch at a place called "House of Louie".  "House of Louie" offers Dim Sum and plated lunches.  Jason and I didn't know what Dim Sum was (hence the confused looks on our faces)  And if you don't either-- it's where they walk around with carts of food, and charge you by the item.  It's pretty fun.  We got a few Dim Sum items... but went with what we knew.

All in all, it was a great day full of different experiences.  (And the perfect idea for a day date if you're looking for one)

*One note: Chinatown is home to a lot of homeless, and drugs.  It can be a little scary to walk around, especially if you're new to town.  But don't let it keep you from exploring.

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