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Monday, October 6, 2014
I have just returned from what can only be described as the strangest city in the world. Portland, Oregon. I flew out there this past weekend for one of my best bud's bachelor parties. Yes, our beloved Spork is getting married.
Now i didn't really have any expectations here. I've been to PLENTY of cities all around the country. So i guess i kind of expected a bit of the same; a little bit of normality. What i got was quite the opposite.
After a few days, and a few dozen beers, i came up with a good way to describe this strange land. So lets say you've decided to buy a car. But you have no idea what car to buy. If you go to a Ford dealership, for example, you're gonna see a bunch of Fords Trucks and what not. And if you cruise on through a Toyata dealership, you're gonna see a bunch of Camarys, etc. So if you still can't make up your mind, you go to a CarMax. This is a dealership that sells every type of car out there, from Hyundais to Mercedes to Hummers. EVERYTHING.
And this is what Portland was like. Every type of person could be found here. From skinny to fat, from hippy to metro, from punk to plain. And they all just existed together. Like in a big blender. No one cared what anyone else looked like or dressed like. Everything was ok. I'm not saying i've got an incredible amount of fashion sense here, but it almost seemed like these people haven't seen a store OTHER than a Salvation Army in YEARS. There were hippies everywhere. Dyed hair, piercings, and TATTOOS. Oh the tattoos. And the Beards! Like every other guy in the city is a bone-fide wood cutter with their thick, burly beards.
And yet strangely, amongst them were almost no black people, or Mexicans, or Asians. This is a very WHITE city. But maybe it's because i stared at pretty much everyone that walked by, as each one was 180' different from the last. Strange. SO Strange. Living in Los Angeles you get used to seeing less white and more other races. And jumping somewhere where it's opposite took a bit of getting used to.
There were alot of homeless people all over as well. And no one seemed to mind them at all. I would have to equate it to almost being in... Berkeley.

But the thing with this city is because the people were so strange, it was incredibly difficult to nail down how old any particular group of people were. Looking around, it feels as if you are surrounded by people much older than you, yet simultaneously fresh out of college.
The end result? An overwhelming feeling of not being out-of-place. Which pretty much has the same effect as fitting in.
Kinda cool.

THe city itself was strange as well. It has a bit of an east-coast feel to it, with the sidewalks being cobbled, and many old brick buildings. Yet it didn't seem very well taken care of. It just seemed dirty. Not like graffiti dirty, but more of a neglected feel. It's hard to describe.
One thing that this city prides itself on is it's ridiculously easy to use Public transportation system, with the metro on tracks, but cruising along the road right next to cars. No subway; just a "way."
And along that vein, it's very green. Lots of outdoor activities, tons of Trees, lakes, rivers, and large expanses of green grass. This place gets a lot of rain. A LOT. As a matter of fact, these guys are flush with water. There is so much water, that the city actually has these water "Benson Bubblers" all over the city.

These are quad-water fountains where the water is running 24/7. That's right. It's literally flowing out of the ground. Here we are in Los Angeles entering the third year of a SEVERE DROUT, and cities starting to ration water and write fines if a household use too much based on its occupancy. It's almost as if Portland is actually showing off.

Yet, surprisingly refreshing.

So how was the actual trip? GREAT! The boys and i visited a number of Breweries including Rouge, Cascade, Rock Bottom, and Hair of the Dog. Each one had samplers so you could really get a good taste of their different beers and their brewing style. As i've gotten older, i've become much more... particular about my beers. An connoisseur, if you will! So this was quite a treat.

And now add to all of this an almost non-existant police presence, and you've got yourself one hell of a party city.

But now of course, we couldn't just run around drinking & exploring the city like a bunch of tourists. So on Saturday afternoon, we went to the costume shop and made SURE that our man-of-the-hour bachelor really stood out!
Even in this strange city, we managed to get the guy noticed.

All following establishments and their respective denizens were quite tickled with his outfit. It was a great time all around.

Sunday i got a chance to visit with my Irish Hermosa Beach buddy for lunch. Kirin moved up to Portland for a new job a few months ago, and he LOVES it, both the job AND the city.

So that about sums up the bachelor party. A great city for visiting Breweries, being outdoors, and observing strange people as far as the eyes can see.


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