My flight out of Portland keeps getting delayed. The gate attendant just assured me that I would get to San Francisco in time to make my connection to Boston. To be honest, though, I wouldn’t mind getting stuck in Portland for another day. Here are some reasons why I like Portland:
- Everyone I have talked with in six days in Portland has been unfailingly friendly, polite, and just plain nice. It’s amazing what a difference politeness makes.
- For me, the climate is ideal: cool, relatively dry air, plenty of clouds and light rain to break up the sunshine. You know you’re north of the 45th parallel.
- It is a truly multicultural city.
- The coffee is really, really good. True, good coffee is probably necessary to make it through the long, gray winters. But the coffee is so good, even here in the airport, that it just might be worth it.
- You can see snow-covered mountains from downtown Portland.
- The public transportation system is just as good as you’ve heard. The light rail system is fast, clean, efficient, and free in the city center. The Portland street car is charming. No one pushes or shoves or casts glowering glances. And they have special bicycle hooks built into the light rail cars.
- Everyone rides bicycles. Riding the light rail out to the airport today, I stood behind a wiry man in a black t-shirt standing next to his hotshot mountain bike. I realized that his funny-looking bicycle helmet was actually a hardhat, and that his black t-shirt was from the local ironworkers union. In Boston, he’d drive a truck.
- Lots of trees grow in downtown Portland, making the city feel green and delightful.
- Free wifi throughout the airport.
Of all these reasons, the first one is most important:– it really does make a difference when everyone is polite. (One of the reasons I like New Bedford, where I live, is that most everyone is polite.) And the fact that everyone is polite and friendly has made the delay here at the airport far more bearable.
The free wifi helps, too.