Portland Oregon is the new awesome
Ten years ago I graduated high-school and went off to BYU , where i met a girl named Amber and became bestest friends with her.
Fast forward to now. Amber lives in Portland Oregon and we are still bestest friends, though since we don't live in the same place she had to get a cute husband named Gabriel AND a cute dog named Rosie to make up for the hole my absence has left in her life. Last weekend I decided it was time for a visit.
As soon as I got to Portland, Amber and Gabriel announced that they were vying for the position of #1 Portland hosts. I thought about telling them that I really didn't know anyone else in Portland all that well, but decided against it, thinking it would be better for me if they still thought there was some competition.
When I walked into my room, a Made in Oregon gift basket awaited me! Complete with treats like "virgin water" (collected from all the Oregon rain that has never touched the ground) and other treats. I don't think the Pop Tarts were made in Oregon. Don't tell Amber.
There are a few reasons that Oregon's state slogan is "Keep Oregon Weird" that maybe you should know.
First of all - it is totally illegal to pump your own gas. Seriously.
Second, one of their big streets is named "Couch" - pronounced "Coooch" as opposed to "Couch" like it ought to be. This is akin to San Francisco's street named "Gough," pronounced "Goff," "Goph," or "Gauwf" as opposed to "Go" like you might expect. I think big cities do that just so that locals can tell who the tourists are. Consider yourselves warned.
And my personal favorite - NO SALES TAX!
Which means when we went shopping up and down Hawthorne and 23rd Ave, whatever costs $4.99 actually costs $4.99. Brilliant.
I drooled over shoes (figuratively)...
...and I drooled over chocolate (literally). Moonstruck Chocolate is a Portland staple, with the cutest little truffles I have ever seen.
And the tastiest frosty beverages!
My favorite store that we visited was probably House on Hawthorne, because I seem to love anything that resembles a large thrift store. It is rooms and rooms and rooms full of amazing junk. I bought the best vintage dresses and shoes here for so cheap! You will have to invite me to a party to see them.
We also made it a point to visit one of the McMenamins theatres. The McMenamins are famous for taking awesome historic-type buildings and turning them into movie theatres and pubs and hotels and things that people actually like to visit. This one was called the Kennedy School, and used to be an elementary school before it was converted to a hotel/movie theatre. All the old classrooms are hotel rooms now, and they keep alot of the same decor , such as the "Honor Roll" and "Detention" bars inside.
Another must-visit in Portland is Voodoo Doughnut and Wedding Chapel. The place is litte and dirty and they are famous for the crazy doughnuts they invent.
First you check in the creepy spinning glass case to see what they have that is fresh. Unfortunately for us, they were out of their infamous Bacon Maple bars.
But we still got creative. Amber ate the Captain Crunch voodoo doughnut.
I ate the Oreo and Peanut Butter voodoo doughnut.
And Aaron ate the Fruit Loop voodoo doughnut.
Sunday we marched in the Portland Pride Parade with Amber's Oregon Psychological Association . I am pretty well-versed in the ways of a Pride Parade after having participated for the last two years here in San Francisco, and was interested to see how Portland does it in comparison.
Even though the parade was a little more tame than the one SF is sure to put on this weekend - (there were a lot more sensible shoes. hippies) - it was good to see that the unattractive men in unattractive dresses still made it out.
And of course, what trip to Portland is complete without a visit to Saturday Market , even when it is on Sunday? Gabriel and I ate some delish chicken gyros (where i dribbled gyro juice all over myself)
and amber and I held out for the Elephant Ears (ie fried dough dipped in butter and cinnamon-sugar) which i also managed to get all over my face.
We kept so busy we didn't even have time to make it to Powells Books, which means that there is going to have to be more trips out to visit soon.
thanks, amber and gabriel! i think we would all agree that it is obvious that you guys win for #1 Portland hosts.