I arrived in the city of Portland, Oregon on Halloween. It's one of those places where you would look at the people on the street and ask yourself if they're dressed up for this particular festivity, or if it's simply their normal attire. Because this is Portlandia, a wonderfully weird mecca of people who do what they want to do (unless they want to sunbathe of course). If I could describe this city in one word, it would be the 'anti-corporation'. Like any city in the US there are McDonalds, KFCs and Starbucks within a stones throw, but in Portland you will find, per capita, more independent pubs, bars, restaurants, salons and grocery stores than in any other major US city, and, in addition to the abundance of hipsters and hippies, it's this that gives the place its character.
|Portland. Grass, Water, Mud, Grey Skies|
Portland is also famous for its food carts. There are hundreds of the across the city and the quality and choice on offer is mind-blowing, and much like Austin many of the people who start these food carts go on to establish restaurants or cafes. It's something that you don't really see much of in the UK, but, like many things I've found over here in the US I'm sure it could catch on.
|Street food in Portland. The world's best?|
The Arsenal fans in Portland are known collectively as the PDX Gooners, and they watch matches at Beulahland. It just so happens that the proprietor, Jimmy, is an avid Arsenal (and Portland Timbers) fan, so as you can imagine, the place is kitted out with the appropriate memorabilia and is open for every game. The food and beer selection is, as is usually the case with a Portland establishment, very good.
|Good bunch of guys. Still can't sing, but it's in the works.|
The game in question was a blinder: Arsenal v Liverpool at the Emirates. What a comprehensive performance it was too. The fact that the shortest man in the Premier League managed to assist himself with his head was the icing on the cake for me, but of course we have to credit the man that can't stop scoring, Aaron Ramsey, for his wonder goal. As you can see from the reactions below from the Portland Gooners, both goals were important and they set us up nicely for Dortmund away.
Which brings me on to the next stop, the penultimate city on the American leg of the Gooner On The Road mission: I will be in San Francisco with the infamous Bay Area Gooners to watch us take on the Bundesliga's finest. If you are from the Bay Area I expect to see you there!