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Paul Cuenco

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Member Since: Jun, 2010

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Blogs by Paul Cuenco

Predicament: Astoria, Oregon
8/17/2012 8:37:12 PM

When I first stepped into Oregon, I promised myself that I will travel the entire state. Of course Portland comes into mind and the I-5 cities such as Salem, Eugene, Grants Pass and Medford. And then the I-84 cities comes next from Troutdale to Hood River and then The Dallas. What I think was missing was the coastal towns. When my dad and I visited Portland one time, we spent the evening in Portland thinking that my dad would enjoy its culture. But my dad stayed in the hotel while I, a true city-boy, traversed its wicked streets and enjoyed the bars and the dance halls. The next day, we decided to travel to the coast via highway 26 and from that road travel down south of highway 1. We skirted Canon Beach and from there coasted to those town lining up along the Oregon Coast. We stopped by a town to have some lunch and my dad realized that it was much better sleeping by these towns than staying in Portland. I don't know what to make of it but surely, if our trip was so that my dad can find pleasure in this wonderful state, I should have decided to stay among the hotels lining this highway. It took me several more trip to the Irish-like state before I realized that there indeed is something to be said of the coastal towns. I like the mountains and mountain lakes but the coast affords an allure quite different from the mountains.

One town that captivates my imagination was Astoria, Oregon. It is a big enough town, old and somewhat dilapidated. But its name conjures grandiosity and wealth. It captures my imagination. (It was like choosing between Cheyenne and some unknown town in Colorado. I was traveling across the United States and by happenstance, I am deciding at the fork of the road which town I would like better. I like how "Cheyenne" rolls off my tongue. So, instead of going to this unknown town in Colorado, I drove towards Cheyenne.) Unfortunately, Astoria was not my first choice. I always ended up at Cannon Beach because highway 26 ends up at Cannon Beach. Astoria is up north. It occupies the Northwestern-most slice of Oregon. But one day, I decided to go to Astoria. I was not so much impressed because, as I already mentioned, the buildings were old and somewhat dilapidated. You cannot make a lot about its downtown. It's pier has a collection of rotting wooden pilings and there was a smallish, if at all, development. But then, I learned a little about the town. I read somewhere that in earlier times, it was where Finnish sailors put down roots. It is where a trolley car rumble along the pier taking on passengers along that small stretch. And although the bars and restaurants are housed in rundown and old buildings, there are a multitude of them.

By the time I live in Portland and my mother visited me, I took her to Astoria. This time, we visited a salon, went on an underground pub cum cigar bar, lounge out and about town before heading south to Cannon Beach. I promised her that when she and my Tita Vicky comes, I would treat them to the salon we just visited. Astoria had grown up a little. This time, there were developments. Old buildings are either being renovated or new buildings are coming up in formerly empty parcels of land. Truly, there is something exciting coming about in Astoria. There is a slight increase in tourism that hotels and motels are sprouting up.

I just visited Astoria a month ago. I learned from OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) about a tower right on top of a peak in Astoria. At least, there is something to get excited about this town that I decided to head back to that slice of Oregon. I don't know how to get there nor where the structure is. As I climb the steep hill towards the community college, I stopped by a house where a man was renovating it. I asked the man and he gave directions with absolute certainty, "turn right at the end of the street, turn left at the major street and I will see signs leading up to the structure".

I can see it but only when the mountain doesn't block my view. Then, at last, I reach the end of the road. There it is, in all its glory - tall, elegant and right smack at the center of the peak. When I reached the top, the parking lot looks full but I found a spot. I walk towards the visitor center and plunk down my dollar to get a ticket for the day. There are a lot of tourists. They were everywhere, coming and going, and buying those handmade bi-planes that you throw up in the air and it happily glides down. Some of those bi-planes end up on the ground, thrown from the structure and just lay on the ground without anyone picking them up. I took a meandering stroll about its grounds until I decided to climb the structure. It is not an obelisk like one sees in Paris, Egypt and Washington, D.C. It is not grandiose as they are but grandiose enough. I climb its stairwell. That's about 260 steps. There is no elevator! But I climb them, huffing and puffing, and stopping at well placed intervals in the well. When I reached the top and opened the door to the porch, I see an even grander sight: 2 rivers emptying into the Columbia River, the Astoria-Megler Bridge, ships that ply the huge river on their way to Portland, the wooded mountains and downtown Astoria. I am in good company! Some old folks, lots of kids with their mommies and daddies and people like me. Some kids are too scared to go the edge of the porch while some other throw their bi-planes.

Astoria is growing up! This time, the old buildings are slowly disappearing, tourists are multiplying and the town's food taste better than ever. Surely, the story about those Finnish sailor and ships plying the mighty Columbia will survive. Even those old houses and buildings will still populate the imagination of those who visits Astoria, I included. The run-down pier where the old pilings that once puncture the waters of the river are being replaced with new ones and buildings are being built on it. But the town, in its quest to modernize will now be one of my favorite spots to bring relations and friends.



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More Blogs by Paul Cuenco
• Predicament: Dave and Annette's Housewarming 2012 - Sunday, September 16, 2012
• Predicament: Portland Sands and its vicinity - Sunday, September 02, 2012
• Predicament: Mississippi Street Fair, Portland, Oregon - Saturday, August 25, 2012
•  Predicament: Astoria, Oregon - Friday, August 17, 2012  

• New Book for Father's Day! - Saturday, June 23, 2012
• Predicament: Saving Money - Wednesday, May 23, 2012
• Predicament: Old Haunts - Sunday, May 13, 2012
• Predicament: Courteous Portland Traffic - Wednesday, May 02, 2012
• Sorry - Wednesday, April 11, 2012
• Predicament: A Day at the Beach - Thursday, April 05, 2012
• Predicament: Dinner at a Deserted Restaurant - Tuesday, April 03, 2012
• Predicament: My Stroke and Writing - Monday, April 02, 2012
• Predicament: The World of the Bay Area - Sunday, April 01, 2012
• Predicament: A Competitor Indeed - Saturday, March 31, 2012
• Predicament: Democracy! - Friday, March 30, 2012
• Predicament: The Garden Party - Thursday, March 29, 2012
• Predicament: Gift-Giving - Wednesday, March 28, 2012
• Predicament: Suicide - Tuesday, March 27, 2012
• Predicament: Water, Water Everywhere - Monday, March 26, 2012
• Predicament: The Floods Of Manila - Sunday, March 25, 2012
• Predicament: Tita Dimple's recollection of Papa Trining - Saturday, March 24, 2012
• Predicament: The Future Should Be Brighter - Friday, March 23, 2012
• Predicament: Death of a Writer - Thursday, March 22, 2012
• Predicament: The Season Re-liveth - Wednesday, March 21, 2012
• Predicament: Time Had Forgotten About - Tuesday, March 20, 2012
• Predicament: Closing Time - Monday, March 19, 2012
• Predicament: Hasan Baharin - Sunday, March 18, 2012
• Predicament: A Pimple of my Nose - Saturday, March 17, 2012
• Predicament: What is Mike Cooking? - Friday, March 16, 2012
• Predicament: Papa Eriong - Thursday, March 15, 2012
• Predicament: Kind Words - Wednesday, March 14, 2012
• Predicament: Music and Whit 2 - Tuesday, March 13, 2012
• Predicament: Music and Whit 1 - Monday, March 12, 2012
• Predicament: What You Want to Be - Sunday, March 11, 2012
• Predicament: Father and Son - Saturday, March 10, 2012
• Liza's Life Plan - Friday, March 09, 2012
• The Colleague - Thursday, March 08, 2012
• Oh Taylor! - Wednesday, March 07, 2012
• Dena - Tuesday, March 06, 2012
• Losing My Job, Again - Monday, March 05, 2012
• A Plane to Nowhere - Sunday, March 04, 2012
• A Slave No More - Saturday, March 03, 2012
• Cirque du Soleil - Friday, March 02, 2012
• Mendocino - Thursday, March 01, 2012
• Th Coming Storm - Wednesday, February 29, 2012
• Becoming Old - Tuesday, February 28, 2012
• Ordinary Lives - Monday, February 27, 2012
• Books I Read - Sunday, February 26, 2012
• Discrimination - Saturday, February 25, 2012
• Quintessential Jokes - Friday, February 24, 2012
• The Catholic Experience - Thursday, February 23, 2012
• Promises, promises - Wednesday, February 22, 2012
• Sleepy - Tuesday, February 21, 2012
• Art for Art's Sake - Monday, February 20, 2012
• Mike's Ash Wednesday - Sunday, February 19, 2012
• Holy - Saturday, February 18, 2012
• Summer Home - Friday, February 17, 2012
• Pickpocketed - Thursday, February 16, 2012
• A Penny for a Drink - Wednesday, February 15, 2012
• My Roman Holiday - Tuesday, February 14, 2012
• Luck and Popularity - Monday, February 13, 2012
• It's Valentine's - Sunday, February 12, 2012
• Bosses - Saturday, February 11, 2012
• Education and Options - Saturday, February 11, 2012
• Windy Portland - Thursday, February 09, 2012
• My Job at Costco - Wednesday, February 08, 2012
• Compassion - Tuesday, February 07, 2012
• The Day Paul had Two Parties and other things - Monday, February 06, 2012
• When I Die - Sunday, February 05, 2012
• Sleeping and Dreaming - Saturday, February 04, 2012
• The Loneliness of a Country Road - Friday, February 03, 2012
• Jordan - Thursday, February 02, 2012
• Taxes Galore - Wednesday, February 01, 2012
• It's almost Valentines - Monday, January 30, 2012
• Habits We Indulge Ourselves In - Sunday, January 29, 2012
• To Cruise or not to Cruise - Saturday, January 28, 2012
• Blah, Blah, Blah - Friday, January 27, 2012
• Rain - Thursday, January 26, 2012
• Charlie* and Dad - Wednesday, January 25, 2012
• Writing and Being A Writer - Tuesday, January 24, 2012
• True Snow - Monday, January 23, 2012
• Reinvention - Sunday, January 22, 2012
• What I Miss - Saturday, January 21, 2012
• A Gift for Valentine - Thursday, January 19, 2012
• Venerable Mr. Wu - Wednesday, January 18, 2012
• The Snow Storm That Wasn't - Tuesday, January 17, 2012
• The Russians - Monday, January 16, 2012
• The Older Generation - Sunday, January 15, 2012
• What is the other half doing today? - Saturday, January 14, 2012
• Mike's Bird dog Stories - Friday, January 13, 2012
• Dying - Thursday, January 12, 2012
• This Modern Life - Wednesday, January 11, 2012
• Jabberwocky - Tuesday, January 10, 2012
• Marriages and Such - Monday, January 09, 2012
• Poetry in America - Sunday, January 08, 2012
• Old Friendships - Saturday, January 07, 2012
• Clark and a whole of other things - Friday, January 06, 2012
• Being (almost) Late - Thursday, January 05, 2012
• At my Starbucks - Wednesday, January 04, 2012
• The Sandusky Affair - Tuesday, January 03, 2012
• Happy Reading 1 - Monday, January 02, 2012
• New Year 2012 - Monday, January 02, 2012
• A Day with my Nieces - Sunday, January 01, 2012
• To Live and Enjoy Life - Thursday, December 29, 2011
• Goodbye Uncle Paul - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
• It's Hector - Tuesday, December 27, 2011
• Going Home - Thursday, December 22, 2011
• A Night in Copenhagen - Wednesday, December 21, 2011
• Trivia Night - Tuesday, December 20, 2011
• Paul's Novels - Monday, December 19, 2011
• Europe - Sunday, December 18, 2011
• Kimmy, my good friend - Friday, December 16, 2011
• The Sad State of my Affairs - Thursday, December 15, 2011
• Once There was a Mansion - Wednesday, December 14, 2011
• Lauren's Happy Uncle's Day - Tuesday, December 13, 2011
• Santa Claus - Monday, December 12, 2011
• Mike, the Francophile - Sunday, December 11, 2011
• The car that never died, I hope - Saturday, December 10, 2011
• My Christmas Lights - Friday, December 09, 2011
• Small Memories - Wednesday, December 07, 2011
• Owning a Business, Bar - Tuesday, December 06, 2011
• What A Wonderful Day - Monday, December 05, 2011
• My Typical Sunday - Sunday, December 04, 2011
• Steve Jobs book - Saturday, December 03, 2011
• Moving on to Spirit Mountain - Friday, December 02, 2011


The Wrath of Lucifer's Deadly Sin by Carol Fowler

A successful suspense/thriller keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. That's why I like stories that seem realistic and leave a hard punch. This story is one of my most shocki..  
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