It wasn't long after getting settled in at the hostel that I met Phillip and Steve having a beer in one of the kitchens.
The two friends, one gay and from Paris France and the other straight from Duluth Minnesota, invited me to chat with them and share in the copious amount of food they had just bought at the local co-op.
So, in keeping with the promise I had made with myself to be extra sociable on this trip, to accept whatever hospitality I was offered and to simply let the people I met share as they wished, I joined them for an evening of interesting conversation, and much eating and drinking.
Steve, it turns out, had just come to Portland from a two month stay in Hawaii. I never did find out his circumstances in France, and only know that his partner is there and seems to have no problem with Steve travelling for long periods of time.
Phillip had just moved to Portland from Minnesota in an effort to get out from under his rich and demanding brother. I don't know why.
Phillip, however, was full of charm, stories and opinions. He claimed to have done everything but climb Mount Everest and win the Nobel Peace Prize.
He was a Pediatrician, a school teacher, an author, a poet, and an all around humanitarian. He claimed to know everything imaginable about food, wine, women, life, death, and the hereafter. That is incredible coming from someone who hails from Duluth Minnesota.
But, I let him talk.
We ate. Boy, did we eat. Cheeses I had never heard of that tasted great but smelled like dirty socks. Strawberries the size of my fist. Shrimp Cocktail, French bread, salad, raspberries, chips and guacamole, even steak (remember I had vowed to accept all hospitality)!
At one point in the evening as all the younger hostelers were heading out for their night on the town, we were joined by a young Frenchman named Peter.
Apparently Peter had met the dynamic duo earlier in the day and so Steve invited him to sit and have a beer. He did.
Peter was a 30 something man with deep brown eyes, a soft, full beard, and the whitest teeth I have ever seen. He was eye-candy and Steve was taking in every eye-full while Phillip, feeling jealous of our attention to Peter, grew more and more frustrated and angry.
Peter had his opinions. He believed that Americans were too obsessed about germs and that we would be far less apt to get the Swine Flu if we stopped shielding ourselves from every germ in the world. He pointed out how the homeless weren't getting the flu.
He also thought that homelessness wouldn't be a problem in the States if we just paid more taxes to provide more shelters.
While Steve drooled over Peter, Phillip steamed over Peter, I just engaged him in conversation, playing Devil's advocate only in so far as it made the conversation interesting.
No one was going to solve such problems while getting drunk at a hostel in Portland. Why get in a snit?
At the end of the evening, Peter wandered off to some club in town, and I excused myself and went to bed.
Though there were only two other females in the dorm I was in, I didn't sleep well. Too much alcohol, a less than comfy bed, and the excitement of the day over shadowed my need for sleep.
But, I was safe, warm, well-fed and lubricated, and had two new friends.
In the picture Phillip is on the left and Steve on the right.