“Portland, a city where young people go to retire.”
I seriously don’t understand what all the hype is about Portland. I understand it’s supposed to be the Hipster capital of America and has been getting much more attention after the sketch comedy show, Portlandia, begain airing. Which is pretty much a show consisting of short comedy sketches to show just how Hipster Portland is. I’m not gonna lie, pretty much every preconceived perception of the city came from this television show and despite their constant sarcasm about this city I was still very eager to check it out.
Before too long, each stereotype that was displayed in the show was eventually revealed exactly as the show had performed them. Time after time they were correct. It seemed like the entire city was unemployed or at the very least working part time at a local coffee shop.
My first night there I went out to a bar with my friend Kodi, to meet up with her boyfriend, Eric. I had a few drinks and was pretty tired from the plane ride there. I noticed a soft bench against the wall in the bar and being that I had just finished Bike & Build I guess I was still in the “Bike & Build mindset.” The mindset being, “if you’re tired then go to sleep.” From being constantly exhausted throughout the summer we pretty much trained ourselves to sleep anywhere with any amount of noise level. Park benches, upright in a restaurant, the grass, pretty much anywhere we were able to get some shuteye if needed to. So when I saw a bench, my first thought was “I’m going to sleep.” Before too long a bouncer came over to wake me up, “dude, you can’t sleep here.” I looked at him in a confused manner. “You’re in a bar, you can’t sleep in a bar.”
I still didn’t understand but got up and left anyways.
The next day I definitely got some much needed rest in. I slept til about 10:30 a.m., looked at the clock and thought, “I’ll get up in a little bit.” I then rolled over and woke up again at 4 p.m.!
There were a few things on my to do list during my stay in the city, such as visiting the smallest park in the world. Where was pretty much just a tree planted between an intersection. Absolutely pointless but still pretty neat.
The smallest park in the world was conveinetly located right by Saturday Market, which is a huge event every Saturday in the downtown park of Portland. Vendors and artists from all over the city come out to show off and try to sell their artsy crafts and designs. Everything from jewlry made from silverware to gongs made from fire extinguishers can be found at this market.
Strolling around the city I realized that nearly every single road had a bike lane, it was a cyclist paradise. Then I realized that this city was in fact the bicycle capital of America and ironically enough I had already shipped my bike home.
We spent a day going out to the gorge for some hiking and to observe the beautiful waterfalls.
The next day I went to visit the Japanese Zen Garden. It was a relaxing oasis from the lazy city. It was filled with cute stairways and small bridges over streams. I stopped for a moment to allow my eyes to gaze over the beautiful fish gliding effortlessly through the clear water.
That night I went to a house party with Kodi and Eric. Three of their friends have their birthday all around the same time so they turned it into one big combined birthday bash. This was when all the stereotypes from Portlandia started setting in. There were times where I couldn’t tell if these people were being serious or were actually trying to act like some of the characters from the show. One stereotype that was immensely displayed was that everyone is a DJ. Most of the conversations I had that night went like this:
“So what do you do?”
“I’m a DJ.”
“Oh cool, so do you play in bars and clubs around here?”
“Not really, I normally just play at friend’s house parties.”
So you’re actually unemployed because you aren’t good enough to get any gigs, I thought to myself.
Despite everyone seeming like they were hippies just hanging out, I must admit they were still quite a bit of fun to party with.
The last day we spent in the city and went to Voodoo Doughnut, a popular doughnut shop where you can literally get any kind of doughnut you can think of. Even ones with bacon on it!
It was a very popular doughnut shop where there was a constant line around the outside of the building.
Later that night I met up with an old college acquaintance, Mike Norwood. He lived into the apartment next to mine during my senior year at Clarion and ironically enough this was the first time we ever actually made plans to hang out. At Clarion we always saw each other in passing around campus or at the bar but I guess we had to travel across the country to actually make plans to see each other.
My final day I met up with Hannah, a friend I had met through Chris at a build site in Missouri. We got breakfast together and then I was off on a plane to my next city.