Exploring new shops

Last Tuesday I took a day trip to Portland, Oregon and took the opportunity to stop at the Orleans Candle Co. on Lombard Street (the link can be found on the right side of my homepage under Supplies and Stores).

The day started on an odd note. I was lying in bed, half awake, when I very clearly heard someone say, “Hey!” I thought it was my girlfriend Anne shouting at me from the kitchen and promptly shouted, “Yeah?” But Anne was still asleep and all I succeeded in doing was startling the cats.

We left Seattle around 7:30 a.m., arrived in Portland about three hours later and easily found the Orleans Candle Company (from South I-5, take exit 306, then right on N. Denver and right on N. Lombard). The modest storefront is deceiving, as the shop is much larger than it appears from the outside. Anne and I had just pushed open the door when we were greeted by a frisky little fox terrier named Zuley who insisted we come on inside. Tanya, one of the owners, also greeted us with genuine southern hospitality (she and her husband have another shop in New Orleans) and proved to be a fountain of information about spiritual products.

The walls are lined with candles, baths, figurines, soaps, art and anything else a practitioner of Vodou, Hoodoo, or Santeria might need. At the counter there were tarot cards for sale and some really beautiful handmade jewelry. I thought we would be in and out quickly, but we ended up hanging around for more than a half hour. There was so much to see. I ended up buying a cleansing bath, a candle snuffer and a 7-day candle for Legba. Any Pacific Northwest Vodou practitioners should definitely check out this store.

After that we stopped at Goodwill (also on Lombard Street) where I found yet another snake statue. This one is small and gold-colored. The snake is realistically sculpted and is wrapped around the stump of a tree. So now I have statues for Damballah, Ayida Wedo and Simbi, if I have the occasion to serve them.

Back in Seattle on Wednesday, a friend and I had dinner at Two Bells Tavern in Belltown. Across the street we could see the bright neon “OPEN” sign of a little shop that neither of us had noticed before. After our meal, we crossed the street and were waved inside by two smiling Jamaican men. They greeted us with genuine warmth and proceeded to attend to us with a level of customer service that you rarely see in Seattle any more. Without hovering, they made suggestions and showed us items that they thought might be of interest to us. My friend bought a knit cap for $5.00. I bought two necklaces ($5.00 each), one had a carved white ankh pendant on it and the other had an African-looking mask pendant on it. Both necklaces had cowrie shells dangling on either side of the pendant.

I wish I could remember the name of the shop but I can’t. I asked my friend if he remembered and he said he didn’t think there was a name. If they are still there the next time I’m in Belltown, I’ll make note of the name and add them to my links.

*Note (3/7/10): I walked through Belltown yesterday and got the name, it’s EB’s Fine Handbags. I wasn’t able to find a website for them, however. They carry many other items in addition to handbags (shirts, belts, jewelry, sunglasses, etc.).

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