Portland: Beautiful, Weird, Unique | My Family Travels
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The first thing people think of when they hear the word "Oregon" is rain.  Dreary, drizzly, non-stop bleariness Oregon. In contrast, I picture the white-crested waves of the Lincoln City Beach, the snow-dusted slopes of Mount Hood, the cascading waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge, and sky-scrapers in bustling cities. Oregon boasts a variety of rushing rivers, lazy lakes, and odd towns like Boring and Zigzag. My heart, though, belongs in the wild, unique, mysterious city of Portland, the "City of Roses."

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When I was a small girl, I lived in Northeast Portland. My childhood days were filled with bike rides to Daddy's work, admiring the ice skaters at the Lloyd Center Mall with Mom, and fun-filled trips to Peninsula Park. The expansive blue play structure of Peninsula Park made the perfect Hide-and-Seek location. The garden dancing with a rainbow of  roses is great for a stroll in the afternoon sunshine. The fountain spouting feathers of sparkling water into the air casts vibrant rainbows into the vivid cerulean sky. The tennis courts, baseball diamond, and fields are always accompanied by undulating laughter. Food carts line the sidewalk, and the scent of foods from a multitude of cultures wafts through the street, casting a pleasant aroma.

The Saturday Market, located next to the Willamette River, has the best food carts around; my favorite is the cart selling crepes, the berry and vanilla-cream-cheese-filled crepe being my favorite. Not only does the Saturday Market contain sweet and savory delicacies, it contains crafts and creations made by local artisans. On my eighteenth birthday, my friends and I traveled to the Waterfront to look through the market, and, after some browsing, walked down the street to one of Portland's most famous dessert shops: Voodoo Doughnuts.

When I said Portland was unique, I wasn't kidding. Voodoo Doughnuts is adorned with a clear, glittery-gold speckled paint, and old-fashioned lamps, the type that might be found in a sweatshop. An open coffin is the seat for those tired of standing. The maple-bacon bar is among the many unusual, sometimes crazily-named flavors. One day, a zombie apocalypse emerged just outside of the doughnut shop. People wearing torn black clothing and fake blood stumbled down the street with signs proclaiming death was happiness. Rimsky's is another funky dessert restaurant; when the door opens, strains of melodious music from a tiny orchestra float through the air. Upon entry, the weirdness sets in: objects hovering in the air on fishing line, an almost unnoticeable turning table, and duck feet hanging from the ceiling prove that Rimsky's is no ordinary restaurant. Bumper stickers declaring "Keep Portland Weird" are in no short order, and it's no wonder Portland is claimed to be an odd city.

The Rose Garden is the perfect place for big concerts and basketball games. The building is alive with noise, cheering, and happiness when the Blazers challenge other opponents. The Jeldwen Field, home of the Portland Timbers, is the perfect place to watch professional soccer. My cousins and I love going to sporting events, decked out in the team colors and screaming for victory with other Portlandians.

Despite the fact that many people only associate Oregon with occasionally unfortunate weather, there are many aspects that make it my favorite place on the planet. The multicultural city of Portland, alive with laughter, weirdness, and color, is always the best way to take a break from the monotonous grind of everyday work. A breath of fresh air, a taste of something sweet, and a splash in the sunshine are all it takes to wash away the stress and busyness of life.

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