Friday, July 13, 2012

Finally....Portland

I am almost ashamed of myself for letting my blog writing get so far behind. Almost. I am not ashamed, but I could be doing better. I returned from my trip to Portland over a week ago and am just now doing a follow up post about the trip.

Black Chinese?
As stated in earlier posts, Kirsten and I went to attend the wedding of my cousin. Since we arrived five days before the wedding, we had time to take in the city. The first thing we noticed were the people.

Portland has been called the hipster capital of the world and it didn't take long to see why. The residents of Portland definitely have their own style. We saw a child toddler walking between his parents that appeared to be in a pirate costume, although, I don't think it was a costume. They just really liked the vest over all those ruffles.

There was a much higher percentage of tattoos and facial piercings as compared to what I have seen in other cities across the country. On average, one in every three women had a hoop nose ring and some restaurants would not allow entry without some ink showing.

I did the best I could to capture some of these people, but do not have the ninja camera skills of Misty at Misty's Laws. These are the best I could get without being noticed.

Those pants look like they were made
from one of my grandmother's quilts.

Besides the clothes,why the washboard?
Bicycle-riding crime fighter?


Was that intentional?
How does this happen?

We decided to pass on this one.
Being so far from home, we had no choice but to eat out for every meal. We searched the internet and scoured the streets for the best places to eat.

Here at home, there are the typical choices of various fast food restaurants and a few ethnic food places (Mexican/Chinese), but there is not a lot of variety. When we found the food cart area of downtown Portland, we were overwhelmed at the number of options available to us.

There were the expected Chinese, Italian, and Mexican places, but we wanted something we couldn't get back home. I love trying new foods and checked out every cart before making my choice. We could have gyros, tacos, hot dogs, shish-ka-bobs, noodles, soups or egg rolls. There was Ethiopian, Greek, Cajun, Belgian, Nicaraguan, Thai, Vietnamese, Australian and even Kosher Egyptian. After carefully considering all our options (and, trust me, it wasn't easy), we finally made our choice.


Yes! We flew all the way to Portland
and ate grilled cheese sandwiches.
After looking at all the vendors, we went with the grilled cheese. Now, I make a mean grilled cheese sandwich, but these guys really know what they are doing. Plus, they make about a dozen different varieties. I ordered one with bacon and tomato on sourdough bread. It was incredible.

Besides the food, there was plenty to see. While walking down Alberta Street one night, we came across a vaudeville type side show.

The show hadn't actually started yet. They were either practicing or trying to show people how to do what they were doing. A small crowd had gathered to watch or learn. If this happened in my town, there would have been a large crowd gathered. This goes to show how common place this type of stuff must be. Most people just walked by without giving it any recognition.

Here is a short unedited video of what they were doing.



After watching for a few minutes a deciding we had seen all they had to show, we journeyed further down the street. A few blocks down, a couple of guys were setting up a speaker on the sidewalk and soon, this happened.

video

The people of Portland seem to like to take their talents to the street. They other guy in the video had the talent of setting up the sound system. He did take the mike later to try his hand at rapping, but it was very short lived. I don't know if that guy would even have the rhythm to clap a consistent beat, much less try to rap.

Due to the lack of parking spaces,
all bikes must be chained to this pole
in order to shop on this block.
Portland, being the metropolis that it is, has many similar problems to other big cities. One of those problems is often what I find to be most frustrating when I am in large cities: trying to figure out where to park. There are thousands of people on the streets and cars driving everywhere, but there are only seven parking spaces that must be shared by the entire city. It gets pretty complicated and frustrating.

One of the times I used a parking garage, the attendant gave me a ticket with a parking time of two hours before I had gotten there. Of course, I didn't notice this until an hour after I had walked away from my car. When I returned to my car later and pointed out the problem, he said I would have to pay the full amount. That was going to cost me an extra $15. I refused and showed him the time stamped on the receipt of the vendor across town that I had visited right before coming to his garage. He wasn't having it and insisted upon the full amount. When I started screaming "RAPE!!!" he threw me my keys and told me to leave. That works every time.

We went outside the city one day to get out and see the landscape of Oregon. We crossed over into Washington and drove out to the ocean. Despite the beautiful scenery and the incredible views of the mountains, I couldn't help but notice that the people of the Northwest must take these majestic views for granted. I base this on the names they give the local attractions. With names like CAPE DISAPPOINTMENT and DISMAL NITCH, they don't appear to be as impressed with the scenery as we were.



Yes, that is Jen from "Jen" e sais quoi
On Saturday night, I contacted the Portlandia Mom "Jen"  of  "Jen" e sais quoi for her to recommend a church to us. She graciously invited us to her church which just happened to be having its Independence Day Weekend All-American Veteran Freedom Festival Barbecue. I really don't remember what it was called. It was something like that.

I know I have only seen this church one time, but I loved it. It seems to be an awesome church and Jen praised it several times. She loves that church and I could see why.

After the service, we went outside to get plates of food and come back inside to enjoy a full orchestra playing Americana music.



Before each song, one member would explain the significance of the song and why it was chosen. One of the songs by John Phillip Souza was written to commemorate the return of the Liberty Bell to Philadelphia after touring the country. It was called the Liberty Bell March. As soon as the song started, I recognized it.

It was the theme song to Monty Python's Flying Circus. I couldn't help but visualize the big foot to coming down to squish the orchestra. After the song, I had to wonder why patriotic Americans chose the theme from a British sketch comedy show to represent a piece of American history.

We had a great time that morning listening to the orchestra and visiting with Jen. I can assure you that she is as funny and friendly in person as she is on her blog. Plus, a few days before she introduced me to the Office Skank (her readers will understand), so I feel that I have seen all there is to see in Portland. Thank you, Jen.

In all, I consider this to have been a great trip. I saw everything I wanted to see. I don't know if I will ever find my way to Portland again, but we had a great time for the week that we were there.



Following are a few of the pictures I wanted to show, but did not fit into the above words.


I found where I want to go next year.
Kirsten did not agree.


Note that this was at a high school.

Sign stapled to a pole. I've stared at it for hours.
I still don't get it.


Kirsten seeing if she had what it took to be Malcom X.
She didn't.

In front of the vaudeville sideshow.
Facts about funnel cakes.
Click to enlarge.


38 comments:

  1. THANK YOU for taking pictures of the weirdos in P-town!! I have begged Jen . . . BEGGED her to take her phone out and take pics of the wierdness surrounding her and not just text me with "guy dressed as wizard in cutoff jean shorts and thigh high rainbow socks outside my window." Pictures!! Sigh. I think she's just used to seeing all the wackiness. Man, if/when I ever get out there, I will probably have some sort of seizure from trying to capture all of those crazies with my camera. Thanks for the recap!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have more. I could send them to you. If I had a better camera I could stand farther away and zoom in. A lot of the pictures I tried to capture didn't come out well.

      Delete
  2. Sounds like a fabulous place to visit. I laughed at all these pictures, well most of them. You guys at church wasn't really funny. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. There we go. (it's not YOU, Brett, it's me)
    These pictures really are great!
    The sign on the post is a minstrel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A minstrel. I can see it now. I still don't know what the sign means.

      Delete
  4. My husband, daughter and I have been in Portland for just over a decade now (moved from Chicago, where we lived all our lives) and absolutely love it.

    As I’m sure you can clearly attest from your visit, the town is weird (the city’s motto “Keep Portland Weird” is entirely apropos), quirky, strange, odd and entirely awesome--with plenty of peculiar happenings/people/places/things that keep you scratching your head in wonder.

    There’s so much to see and do here, and in the surrounding area. We’re just 1 1/2 hours from the coast, and just a couple hours from the high desert & mountains.

    The residents here are amazing, kind and friendly people who still smile and say hello when strangers pass each other on the sidewalk (hasn’t been a Chicago trait since I was a kid). They’re also courteous almost to a fault, especially when it comes to driving: “You go first.” “No, please, you go.” “No, Really, I insist.” I have to be careful not to let my aggressive-Chicago-driver persona surface. LOL

    The TV show Portlandia has the city and its fabulously off-the-wall residents perfectly pegged. As someone who’s always been just-this-side-of-normal, I immediately felt welcomed and right at home when we moved here.

    So glad you enjoyed your visit to our fabulously weird town, Brett!

    --Susan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Had I known you lived in Portland, I would have checked to see if you wanted to meet somewhere. I love meeting my blogger friends.

      We discovered Portlandia a few weeks before we left. We used it to prepare for the trip.

      Great city.

      Delete
  5. Great post on my city. I'm removing the hoop in my nose as I write to say it's always interesting to experience the place you live through the eyes of others. I had an art studio downtown for many years and I ate often at those food trucks. Great food at reasonable prices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would have loved to eaten there more to try all the different things. It was a lot of types of food in a very small area. Eventually, I just couldn't eat any more.

      Delete
  6. My sis lives in Portland and I visited last year and found it quite amazing. The people in general are old time hippie types..property is outrageously expensive...as are most other things.The ocean and mountains and streams and waterfalls were breathtaking...the theatre was off the wall...and all in all it was a great place to visit but I would not want to live there....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I could live there. It was 75 degrees on the hottest day while the Midwest had 100+ days. The winters may be too much to take.

      Delete
  7. I don't think they'd even let me land in Portland let alone enter a restaurant, I'm just that un-hip. Yet the Testicle Festival intrigues me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you will have to practice your 'cool' and then give it a shot.

      Delete
  8. Went to Portland in 95 I think and loved it... I walked around town as a young woman alone at night and loved it. I thought I was safe and it gave me quite a different perspective. I loved the city would be a great place to go back to some day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My cousin offered for us to come up and stay with him sometime, so we might make the trip again.

      Delete
  9. Brett, I can't tell you how great it was to have you and Kirsten in my 'hood. It fills my heart with unbridled glee to be able to share the Porand "strange" with the rest of the universe.

    PS: The Sksnk says "hi".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your tips and entertaining us for a day. We loved it all.

      Delete
  10. Hmmmm looks like austin peeps haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't been to Austin. We may have to go to do a comparative study.

      Delete
  11. I'm telling you: Grilled Cheese made with Gouda is the bomb!

    When I was in Portland, years before I lived on the other coast, I missed most of downtown, and spent my day at the shore instead. So I'm glad to see the interesting-ness that I missed in college.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will have to try it. Downtown was one of the best part. There were a few streets on the north part of the city that were teeming with people that were very interesting.

      Delete
  12. I can't believe you didn't eat at Euro Trash! Now that would've been a story. heh heh

    And why have I never gone to Portland. Sounds like my kind of place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I had gotten a picture of their menu. The name made sense once I saw what they served, but I can't remember it now.

      Delete
  13. That is some crazy colors there on those people! Keep on having fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They definitely had a flair for the eccentric. Although, it was so common there, they probably didn't know it.

      Delete
  14. Portland definitely sounds like my kinda place. Love the pictures and the comments underneath. And is that a bone fide British Bus?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it was a British bus.

      I am sure you would love the city.

      Delete
  15. Looks like a prime place to people-watch!! Did you ever see the naked bicycle lady?

    I've only been there once (briefly) but loved it! Hope to get back someday. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did not see the naked bicycle lady, but apparently missed the naked bike ride by one week.

      Delete
  16. Sounds like fun! I love the tagline for the grilled cheese place, that alone would have decided it for me:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That caught my attention. It was an amazing sandwich.

      Delete
  17. I agree with Vesta ^^ they had me at "your childhood sucked"

    Don't apologise for not blogging more, it would have taken a while to write this, that makes up for it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems that when I have spare time (like this summer) I get less writing done. As soon as school starts and I am pressed for time, I believe the writing will increase. You would think it would be the other way around, but it isn't. Who knows?

      Delete
  18. Oh man, I got a parking ticket when I went to visit Wily Guy. I feel like maybe bloggers are destined to get violations.

    I am really jealous that you got to meet Jen. But I am even more jealous that you got to meet The Office Skank.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen was a lot of fun. We spent most of church making snarky comments back and forth to each other.

      I didn't know it was the Skank when I met her. Jen told me afterwards that it was her.

      Delete
  19. There was a time I took my talent to the streets, but the police didn't like that. They said sexy stuff should happen in the bedroom.

    Hey, do the hipsters smell bad? They look they smell bad. Maybe a bit like patchouli and their parents tears?

    You got to meet Office Skank. Officially jealous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There were three people sitting on the sidewalk playing guitars and singing for whatever money people might want to give them. They could be smelled from a block away.

      Delete

Leave a comment. C'MON!!! You're already here. Leave a comment. Don't leave me hanging and wondering if any has ever seen these words. I'll rub your feet.