And here's one you missed earlier part 1 - Laptop Diary archive 7 December 2002

Portland to Seattle Train 7 December 2002

I'm writing this on my laptop on Amtrak to Seattle, which kindly provides plug sockets on this line. Seattle is the centre of technology, Silicone valley and Microsoft providing a magnet effect for nerds the world over and this train is probably so full of techies that I imagine it would be empty if they didn't provide Laptop power plugs.

Portland was a wonderful city, truly beautiful although I can't really pass fully informed judgement because I was only there for one night and in the rich Pearl district at that. I spent this morning, before I got on this train, checking out the local art galleries and this wicked Glass Art supplies place where they do lessons and sell glasss stuff. If I'd only known it was there I woulda come here earlier and taken up lessons - it's bloody fascinating.

The train from Silicone Woman Valley (LA) to Portland was a bit of an eye-opener. I was sat next to this guy who hailed originally from Crenshaw, East LA and used to ride with the Crips. He's called Big Cali to his friends and Me and has been shot 5 times and stabbed twice. He's been in prison 9 times for jewellery store robbery too. I wrote two amazing pieces of poetry on the train up for him, entitled LA Life when I found out about his life and his son who now rides with the Crips and we created original art to go with it. It was a long train journey, about 32 hours and I added the finishing touches to my two best works so far, Daydreamer and Nightdreamer.

The other guys on the train were, another guy from East LA, Inglewood, who had now moved out of the hood with his wife and beautiful baby, Maya who was with him. He was a good laugh, loan salesman but a good laugh. I hung out most the way with Big Cali and this 14 yr old girl called Eden, who got off at Klamuth Fallsat about 9 o clock in the morning. She was a cute enough girl and we talked much of the way about blowjobs.

Oh yeah, Tarik whis might interest you a bit. I got a demo CD off this guy on his way up to Vancouver from LA. He's a rapper and his group just got signed by Sony Red. Not sure what his band are called but the CD sounded pretty heavy. I've got his number and I'm ringing him when I get to Vancouver. The CD needs a bit of work on the production, I think the vocals are too loud but there are some good hooks on there. I though the lyrics were alright, nothing major although he acknowledged that my "rhymes are dope bro - I'm a rapper and when I heard your shit I knewI was hearin somethin dope - you should think about rapping", I'll give you it when I get back. And happy birthday bro.

Portland was cool. Hanging around in the affluent area of town, I decided to see what upper class vietnamese restaurants were like and found them, well, lacking in Vietnamese people. I had to order in fucking english for fucks sake!

On the plus side, as a nod of acknowledgement to the fact that they were plundering our culture, diluting it and selling it to rich white people, the place was staffed in an American excessive style, with scant regard for realism in exchange instead for size 8-10 busty young maidens in tight fitting mock-oriental dresses and furnished with the finest goods from China. This was in stark contrast to what I was used to in Orange Countys Little Saigon, where Pho shops are staffed by miserable, hoary old men who speak little or no english and the wall hangings consisted of bad pictures of bowls of Pho, but served the most amazing food.

Vietnamese account for 22% of the Asian poulation of Portland, so it would be a little presumptious of me to judge Vietnamese culture on what I saw last night - after all, it's just another example of Vietnamese filtering into your lives without you knowing it - but if I was to sum up on quality, I'd go for the hoary old men any day. They serve the biggest bowls, cheaper and damn it tastes a damn sight better down south. Save your money if you're travelling north to south and don't ruin your appetite by eating this westernised imitation.

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