Portland, Ore., USA, continued

You know how people like to exaggerate? Like they’ll say, “that took forever” or “I’m starving” … well, when they say it rains in Portland all the time, they really, really mean it.

The other day,a local commented that “everyone comes out of hiding on sunny days,” and my response was, “Is this SUNNY?” He pointed to the blur of sunlight barely visible behind the clouds and said, “Yeah, see? The sun is out.”

Thankfully, Portland is just so awesome that it doesn’t matter if you’re soaking wet and freezing your proverbial nuts off. First of all, I can’t recommend the Hawthorne Hostel enough (but only if you stay with the exact same people who I met in my first few days… Sara the Austrian, Blake the comedian, Aaron from Salt Lake, Evangeline from Boston, Torbin the German, Jeremy the New Zealand farmer, the adorable English couple whose names I don’t remember, and CJ and James, the nicest Virginians in the world).

In the past few days, we visited the Japanese Gardens, the Saturday Market, and Powell’s Books. We drank illegal beers in the gazebo, ate lunch from the downtown food carts, toured the art galleries during First Thursdays, and visited the world’s smallest park. What has impressed me most is just how genuinely nice everyone is. For a city that is continuously drenched and inundated with tourists, Portland is downright heartwarming.

Here is the world’s smallest park:

World's smallest park

World’s smallest park

This is Sara. She says that whenever her traveling friends come to Europe, they always skip Austria. Not me! I plan to visit her in Vienna as soon as I have the chance. She is rad.

Sara, the Austrian!

Sara, the Austrian! I have never seen anyone hike so far in flip-flops.

I have been to plenty of art walks in my day, but Portland’s First Thursday was the tops. The Museum of Contemporary Craft had some of the coolest crafty shit I have ever seen, including amazing ceramics, papery things, prints, jewelry, and these awesome handmade backpacks by Sketchbook Crafts in Eugene.

sketchbook crafts sketchbook crafts1

One of my other favorite stops on the gallery tour (besides the toilet full of “blood” and the topless hippie ravers) was the Blue Sky Gallery, which is currently showing these amazeballs portraits from the Titus Riedl collection of “Retratos Pintados” —handpainted photographs from Brazil. It used to be common practice for people to have their family portraits enlarged and hand-colored; sometimes even adding in dead relatives. These are super creepy and totally cool. I was mesmerized…

retrados retrados2 retrados3

On Friday night, I went to see a rock show at the Aladdin Theater.

I dug the opening band, Wampire. These kids look barely out of high school, but I really appreciated their style.

The headliner, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, is an indie psychadelic rock/funk/soul trio. The lead singer, Ruban Nielson, is a killer guitarist. He reminds me of a young Prince. If Prince were from New Zealand and didn’t wear high heels or make-up, and if he played more like jam band psych music.

Speaking of Prince, last night they were playing Purple Rain at the historic Bagdad Theater for only $3!

bagdad0bagdad2

Poor Prince. Such a sad, sexy little man.

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