Are you still with me? Here it is, my eighth and final post wrapping up my Portland / Vida Vegan Con experience.
After day two of the conference concluded Megan and I went back to the hotel room to rest. Well, I rested and she packed. She was on her way home. Me? My red-eye flight to New York was canceled due to Hurricane Irene. Always one to make lemonade out of lemons, I put the two unexpected, extra nights in Portland to good use.
That night Gena, Lisa, Nicole and I went out for a much-needed quiet dinner. I am most definitely an extrovert but I have a threshold. I felt myself crawling inside myself (in a good way) after five days of non-stop, awesome fun. We dined at Blossoming Lotus. Con attendees had been raving about it all weekend so I was anxious to try it. It was worth the wait.
A starter, to share.
My outstanding entrée.
The food was amazing but the dinner conversation with my three friends was superb.
It was a perfect end to a long, fabulous, exhausting two days. Or, was the impromptu 2+ mile walk back to the hotel the perfect conclusion?
Oh, face it, the entire evening was perfect. Thanks Gena, Lisa and Nicole!
Monday morning I slept it. It was grey and misting and I immediately nixed the idea of a run (I had run about 4 miles a day, four days in a row!) Instead I blogged, edited photos, read and stayed in my pajamas until noon. It was marvelous.
Then I headed out for a much-anticipated lunch date– finally, some alone time with my new friends The Spicy Vegan and Janessa. We were all exhausted and all we really wanted was conversation and comforting food. We got both by going to PHO PDX.
The big bowl of hot soup filled with fresh vegetables, tofu and a lot of added jalapeno was just what I wanted on a grey day.
But spending time with my two friends?
That was simply priceless. Hurricane Irene and Jet Blue, thank you for the bonus time with my gals!
We hugged and parted ways. I wanted to move my body a bit so I walked over to Powell’s Books, finally! I wandered the store, in awe and slightly overwhelmed by the sheer number of books, and eventually walked out empty-handed. More walking before ultimately retiring to my hotel room. I didn’t leave for the rest of the day. I had leftovers as well as fresh fruit and veggies on hand so I just noshed for dinner and then hit the sack early.
Wednesday morning I was at the airport by 8:30 a.m. At the JetBlue counter the agent said “Uh Oh, your suitcase weighs over 50 pounds!” (Can you say Vida Vegan Con swag bag and vegan mini-mall shopping?) She continued “I guess you’ll need to remove some things.” To which I replied “Surely you don’t plan to charge me considering my direct flight to New York was canceled and I am now about to travel 15 hours to get home?” She didn’t charge me.
There was another Powell’s Books at the airport. This time I bought something. As I walked out and down the corridor near my gate I spied the word SPA. What? I sauntered in that direction and discovered that yes, indeed, The DragonTree (a holistic day spa) has a location at the Portland airport! I signed up for a 30-minute deep tissue massage with Brian. I covered a lot of miles on foot in Portland so he worked on my legs and then focused on my neck and shoulders, the two areas that would feel the most stress on my three flights home. Thanks Brian!
I walked out of the spa and directly onto the plane. First connection: Long Beach, CA. You may recall, I was just there last week for a family wedding. Never one to miss an opportunity to see family and friends, I let my aunt know that I had a 2+ hour layover. My aunt, uncle (and baby cousin) picked me up and we had a quick lunch at the Garden Terrace Cafe & Patio at the Long Beach Marriott.
I also ordered a salad (hold the chicken, add chickpeas) which they wrapped up nice and tight for me to eat later, for dinner, on another plane.
The next connection: Las Vegas!
I love me some Las Vegas. You know I got married there, nearly 13 years ago, yes?
When in Vegas.
I didn’t win in Vegas.
But I did win in Portland. Attending Vida Vegan Con was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I made new friends. I learned new skills. I am more in touch with what being vegan means for me.
This concludes my Portland / Vida Vegan Con recaps. Miss one? You can catch up:
- #1: Food Trucks, Voodoo Doughnuts and a Waterfront Run
- #2: Hungry Tiger Too
- #3: Shopping, “Vegucated” and, well, more food
- #4: Opening Reception
- #5: The Conference (Day 1) – We are ambassadors of compassion
- #6: The Galarama
- #7: The Conference (Day 2) — What’s your mission statement?
- #8: The End (or the dinner and lunch dates of my dreams + a 15-hour trek home)
Thank you for reading and joining me on the wonderful adventure!