Over the last 20 years, I have visited Portland dozens of times, but only recently have I begun to truly appreciate its unique character. Yesterday morning, we spent only a few hours in the downtown area, and yet I feel like I'm seeing Portland through new eyes. In short, Portland has an originality that I find deeply refreshing. It certainly has all the characteristics of any American city, but it also embraces its difference.
Of course it helps to explore a place with fabulous friends. Thanks Pamm and Jim for making this trip an awesome experience.
In our wanderings through the city, we happened upon the 24 Hour Church of Elvis set within the external wall of a building. Somehow it reminded of a mismatched conglomeration of things - part drive through window, part ATM, part carnival attraction with a liberal sprinkling of random and bizarre art.
Of course, I had to get Pamm to pose in deference to the Elvis shrine.
And me... ;)
Actually, I don't really care that much about people's devotion to Elvis, but I loved the randomness and the humor of the shrine.
Afterwards we went to Powell Books. It was amazing! I have never seen such a massive collection of books for sale anywhere in all my travels. We had to request a map just to find our way around the store, and they had almost any book imaginable.
It may sound strange, but I took a picture of these Japanese books simply because I realized that I had never seen so many Japanese books all together in one place. It just goes to show how culturally sheltered I can be in Spokane.
Across the street from Voodoo Doughnuts, we found some bizarre writing on the wall. One said, "Black honey comb... To Whom does this nightmare Bee Long?" I have no idea what it means, but I found myself intrigued by the message.
I've said before that I actually love exploring the world through the lens of a camera. It often inspires me to notice the tiny details that I might otherwise ignore, like the writing on a wall, the color of a fallen leaf, or the shape of some artistic flair on a building. As strange as it may sound, I actually use my camera as a practice in minfulness.
This sign says it all: "Keep Portland Weird."
I love it.