I got lost in Portland. Like, actually lost.
It was at least 8:45pm and there was still light in the sky. At the time, I was quite happy and only mildly nervous. It would be another hour of walking before I would relent and open google maps on my phone.
At the time, I stopped to get my bearings. I turned around and then I saw her. I made a sound of some type; ’ugghh’ is the closest I can write. Strangely, I haven’t felt the need to photograph a great deal in Portland. But as soon as I saw her, the camera was out.
“It even ‘out-hipsters’ Vancouver.” – Herman Visagie
With 3 days alone in Portland, 14 hours of daylight each day, and virtually no agenda to tend to, I feel like I can safely say that I’ve walked this city.
Yet, I can also safely say that when it comes to exploring what Portland offers, I’ve barely scratched the surface.
The trip to Portland was for one reason; to attend World Domination Summit. But I must admit I was curious as to why so many people rave about this place. Initially, the city itself felt like nothing spectacular. Sure, it is pretty in places, with a few wonderful park spaces (and not to forget the street art, of course). A day in, I was wondering if I’d somehow missed the point.
But then, I got it.
The more time you spend here, the more you realise there is a feel to be found in Portland. It may well be the happy World Domination Summit memories I’ve formed while being here, but there is a distinct buzz of creativity in the air. That, and it feels safe. It feels like a place you can walk around and be yourself, relativity free of judgement.
People here are cool.
Not because they’re ‘hipster’ and trendy (which they are), but because they care about Portland. They stop to pick up rubbish that isn’t theirs.
They care about people, and they care about art. When I was standing on the edge of a quiet-ish road, photographing across to an amazing looking wall on the other side, a man driving past stopped his car and waited calmly for me to get the shot. I took the photo and gave him the warmest ‘thank you’ smile/nod combination I could, and he responded with an equally warm smile that said ‘you’re very welcome’.
It was also rather fascinating to be in a place where private recreational Marijuana use is legal for responsible grown-ups. In fact as I understand it, Oregon was one of the first US states to legalize. I love that Portland haven’t used this as a tourist attraction (in fact, they don’t seem to use anything as a tourist attraction). Aside from a brief whiff every now and then, you really wouldn’t know.
Just the beginning…
I’ll definitely be back to continue the Portland adventure…as soon as I possibly can. In fact I may even join the tribe and live here one day.
Skinnidip Frozen Yoghurt. My gosh the flavor.
Washington Park, specifically the International Rose Test Garden. Walking the garden with the scent of thousands of roses lingering in the air is a tad amazing.
See the full Portland photo gallery here.
Oh, and she’s on the corner of SW 11th and Washington, and trust me, she is worth a long, close look.
Should have known better by Sufjan Stevens.