Yesterday we rented a car2go and drove to Alberta. Not the Canadian province, but the Portland neighbourhood. I’ve been wanting to check out this area in the northeast part of the city since we moved here, but for no good reason we’ve just never done it.
Saturday was below zero (that’s in celsius—I am strongly resisting the mental switch to fahrenheit despite my pending green card) but super sunny, so we ventured out to the area’s main strip, Alberta Street. It’s full of cute shops and cafes with names like Frock, Red Sail, and Anna Banana. We passed studios filled with people sewing and pottery-making, poked around stores with hand-crafted jewellery, and smelled weird perfumes with names like “dirt” and “earthworm”. The afternoon ended with chai and samosas at Bollywood Theater—a restaurant that serves Indian street food-style dishes and projects Bollywood movies on a screen at the back of the room.
From what I can see, Portlanders have the right idea with Christmas. Instead of plastic santas—or much of plastic anything—there’s a lot of subtle, woodsy, nature-inspired decorations. I’m digging the creative spins on the traditional stuff, like crocheted snowflakes and wreaths made out of money plants. And little trees are available everywhere, so even people with tiny apartments like ours can get down with stringing lights on leaves for a touch of merry in the living room. (We’ve got a dwarf white spruce; I’ll try to get a photo up soon.)
Also—the Alberta shops’ staff are awesome. While we checked out a display of succulents, one friendly employee poured us each a complementary espresso. And at an outdoor tree and make-your-own wreath shop called Thistle, we sipped hot apple cider, on the house. The owner also offered s’mores, which for some crazy reason we declined. Why would you decline a s’more? Won’t happen again.
With all that, you’d think I’d have a photo of something reflecting Portland’s Christmas cheer. Nope. I’ve got this instead—the first sign we spotted in Alberta after parking.
So true. And so Portland. Hey, fundamentalists—there’s no fun in that! Loosen up, already! I’m not sure how many fundamentalists hang out in this hood, but hopefully they get the message somehow :)
Happy December, everyone.