I visited the lovely City of Portland, Oregon last week. What a great tourist-friendly city. The mass transit and commitment to ecology is admirable. The natural beauty of the area is astounding to a flat-lander like me. If you fancy yourself a foodie, I doubt you'll be disappointed with the selection of fresh, local, sustainable food. And if that isn't enough, I enjoyed a full schedule of sightseeing each day on a budget. I did all the touristy things. The International Rose Test Garden, went in search of the kitschy giant purple octopus, Spoticus, on the Greek restaurant (which, by the way, I discovered has long since closed only after walking around and around with address, map and camera at the ready), saw a few of the waterfalls, went to a few farmers markets, was overwhelmed at the selection of honest-to-goodness, real deal books at Powell's City of Books ...
On Wednesday, I toured Old Town and Chinatown. I anticipated a visit to Lan Su Chinese Garden. After making a few photo-op stops, I made my way to the Garden arriving before they opened. I was the second person to purchase a ticket that morning. My new friend at the ticket counter told me I was lucky because the Lotus were in bloom. I was practically giddy and asked for a plant list in addition to the regular brochure. (Okay, so I am a geek. At this stage of my life, it's better to embrace it than hide it.) I planned to take advantage of this serene setting, expand my botanical knowledge, take some photographs, and perhaps even take a few moments to reflect and be greatful. There were lectures and tours scheduled throughout the day and I suddenly imagined taking advantage of each one, in effect spending the remainder of the day tucked away in this haven of serenity, this unblemished bubble in the middle of the City. I sat my literature and receipt/admission ticket down beside my camera bag and started getting my camera out to make room for the reading materials, when a sudden gust of wind threatened the reading materials. It was almost cartoonish. I had my camera half out of the bag and managed to secure the brochures and plant list while still protecting my camera. However, the receipt/admission ticket took on a life of its own and went directly into the pristine Koi Pond. I stood looking, bewildered, trying to figure out how to fish it out. (And no! I did NOT take a picture of said receipt floating in the pond.) I finally swallowed my pride and told the attendant at the front gate how I littered the place in well under five minutes. I was so embarrassed, I slinked away without ever looking at the plant list or attending a tour or lecture. The retreat down Northwest Everett Street will forever be my walk of shame.
If you go to Portland, and have even a remote interest in horticulture, gardening, or landscaping, Lan Su Chinese Garden is worth the visit. Encouraging others to visit is the least I can do to make amends for my faux pas. But, let me be the cautionary tale; ladies and gentlemen, please secure your receipt/admission ticket.
Here's a peek of the Garden after the receipt was fished out: