Perhaps it is a reflection of my own tolerance for the unique that I have been in Portland four whole days and can't find a thing that I'd consider to be weird. I've entered a shop that sold nothing but Oaxacan artifacts; been to a spa with a total body vibration machine and Japanese ionic foot bath (ooh! and aaaaaah, respectively); and saw a gal working double hula hoops on a city street corner. While all of these things struck me as having a funky factor, I wouldn't put any of them in the "weird" category.
Then again, I'm a senior citizen with burgundy hair and a white
streak that, often as not, contains strands of silver tinsel. I am also
an artist who occasionally dresses like a mermaid. I may be the
weirdest thing in town right now.
Still, I valiantly continued my search.
One thing I've found that is different (still, not weird) is a proliferation of food carts. Portland even has a large, localized pod of these trucks called Cartlandia - a block of food carts encompassing a parking lot. A full block. It even spills over a little across Southwest 10th and Alder.
Cartlandia's trucks confront the sidewalk with everything from Kargi Gogo's Georgian khinkali (I had no idea either) to Taste of Transylvania's Covri dogs (blood sausages, I guessed - possibly in a politically incorrect manner.)
I have to admit, Taste of Transylvania almost moved the needle on my Weird-O-Meter. But not quite. It was only my overactive imagination and my mother's penchant for old Bela Lugosi movies that made me associate the cart with Dracula and cock an eyebrow. After meandering over, however, I decided there was nothing weird about Romanian food.
Nothing in the whole of Cartlandia seemed weird. As a matter of fact, most of it seemed downright NORMAL. Who, in the US of A has not yet had bubble tea or seen an Indian restaurant? Is this person living in a cave or, perhaps, in the Ozarks?
I had a very tasty sandwich of labneh with zatar and left, disappointed in the weird department (definitely not in the sandwich).
Then - a ray of hope. One of the carts had this sign taped to its side:
Alas, the owner of this cart had already closed shop. I hope to return to see if the transmogrifier really works. If it does, I plan on asking him to turn me into a 23 year old bikini model.
That would truly be weird.