City of Portland’s unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird”. I do not know if being weird is a positive feature or something to be proud of; however locals seem keen about it. It sure makes the city quite entertaining.
Portland is a small city. There are not too many high rises in downtown like New York has. More than ‘money oriented’ capitalist city, it offers green life styles, cares about environmental issues, provides long bike friendly trails and roads to it’s citizens. They try to keep Willamette river clean, which divides the city east and west. The city offers miles of long green parks, unique neighborhoods rather than dreadful identical suburbs and shopping centers. From old to new Portland’s neighborhood offers vivid life styles to its residents. People who do not like to drive, choose to live in downtown and walk pretty much everywhere in the center of the city. Fairly new Pearl district has full of stylish bars. You will see lots of hippies in Hawthorne. One of the old neighborhood’s is Sellwood which has a tiny downtown. Sellwood has large clean streets, colorful old houses as well as huge Linden trees on its streets. Portlanders loves to eat in the streets.
Instead of having too many expensive restaurants, food carts allow people eat from colorful cuisine. Portlanders also love to drink at their unique breweries. The city has more than 60 breweries and still being add to.
Portland is one of the most liberal city in the west. Weather you are a gay or conservative, you live in Portland without being judge by your life style. No one care what you wear, what you do. If weather gets hot , you can see bikini girls in the streets or young men who have blue, green, purple color hair style with elaborate tattoos on their body.
Beside having a great airport ( I love PDX ) also have fantastic dinner theaters. My favorite is Laurelhurst. I went there two weeks ago to watch Aloha. There was along line when we arrived. It was hot, I wanted to go inside when Rob was waiting to buy ticket in the line. I attempt to get inside but ticket man made a face to me and point something. I thought perhaps he wanted to see my ticket, so rather than getting inside went back to line and wait till we get ticket. When we were paying for the ticket, he asked my ID. At first it did not make any sense to me. I asked “why?”.
He pointed the warning paper on the window and said, “We require valid ID, we do not sell ticket anyone younger than 21.” I laughed out loud a few minutes then said “Are you kidding right?” I took off my hat, showed my bald head to him and looked at him a few seconds, then said “I am 46 honey”. I mean nothing would make me feel better than that. I have been dealing with cancer last 3 years, chemo made me quite bald and tired even, do I really look younger than 21! What a day. I watched the whole movie with a stupid grin on my face. After the movie, we were driving back to home, the traffic was slow. In fact quite slow, bumper to bumper style. A girl on a bicycle passed the car, who was wearing a red lingerie only. Then another girl who follower her with a cute pink underwear, no bra, just glitter on her breast. A young man on an old bicycle was coming behind dressed with a pink tutu. It looked quite funny pink tulle agains hairy legs. While we were stuck behind them, another man paddled slowly, wearing colorful feathers on his had, topeless and just wearing a g-string. When we turn the corner, we saw 15-20 people half naked group of bicycles in the road.
I asked Rob, “Is this naked bike ride day?”
“Perhaps” he said.
I looked at Twitters immediately. My screen had full of tweets with funny images within a few seconds. Yes it was the World Naked Bike Ride!
I asked “Should we go take photos”
“Nah, too hot” he said. It was only 84F.
The city is OK with nudism. They like freedom here. Any idea, any speech is quite welcome, as well as large homeless society. I remember a few years ago, a famous politician was giving a speech in public, in downtown. A man protested him in nude the whole time in the front row. No, the police did not arrest him, he was protected by freedom of speech act.
Nudity is common around here. From time to time, you will see people sunbathing in parks, they are living example of the premise “body should not be taboo” .
I have been living in this city last 14 years. Even though I feel quite comfortable to live here, I miss my hometown. It is my dilemma every day when I get up, should I move back there? A true Izmirian, wherever goes, always thinking to go back there one day.
That is, until yesterday. I was drinking my tea, I saw this news: “Dildos hanging on electric pools in Portland streets.” I thought that was an odd news. Think about it, how can you find any weirdo city than this? I have to live here!
Could this news be fake? I checked twitter, saw many photos of dildos hanging on the air. Yes, the news was true. I told Rob, we should go take picture of dildos, I could write an article about it.
I took my 300mm lens and we went to hunt dildos.
There was a lot of question in my mind:
Who throw those dildos on electric polls?
There is no hook or anything on dildos, how did they hang it there?
Is this a sort of weird art project?
Where did they find that many dildos?
Will a dildo cause electric shortcut?
Is this some kind of sex toys advertisement?
I wonder if this is the difference a developed country vs undeveloped country? In a undeveloped country people hook a wire to electric to steal illegal electric for themselves. In here, people throw dildos? But why really? Perhaps this a new slogan for the city ‘one dildo at a time’?
After we searched a few streets, we found the first dildo pair. A bright yellow and a red dildo was tied each other with a string and dangling on the air. People in the street seemed did not care at all. They were eating dinner in the restaurant, drinking cafes, in cafe shops. I was the only one taking photos of it and laughing. Who had that much energy to tie neatly dildos, throw them on power lines, make sure that everyone sees them. Apparently there are about 100 dildos like that in different streets. After taking photos of a few pair of dildos, I got hungry. We went to a Thai restaurant, had lunch while we were guessing who might throw these dildos. What would be their aim or message.
There is no limit to “Keep Portland Weird” if you are visiting Portland, pay attention to details. You never know what is hanging in the air.