Friday, April 30, 2010

We Heart Our City

A year ago National Geographic Traveler Magazine's March 2009 did a spotlight on the great cities of the world. In their words "Celebrating The Urban Places that Captivates Us."After returning from our extended trip to Asia, many of our friends were inspired by our travels and over dinners and cups of coffee, picked our brains about our extended travels - why did we decide on the route we did, what places would we go back to, what places would we consider moving to, etc.

And time and time again we found ourselves telling people initially we were looking for sun, sand and a lot of beach time, but to our surprise we decided on more than one occassion to remain in the city and forgo the beach all together. We soon realized we really like city life. Not that we don't think beaches and the outdoors aren't fun playgrounds, we just realized big cities are ADULT playgrounds and what we get most excited about when planning a trip.

Back in September the city of Paris, France was treated to a city-wide art exhibit, which really got us thinking about what it is that makes a great city. The "Women Are Heros" art exhibition/experience in Paris hit us like a ton of bricks. The exhibition is truly amazing and the video below is an incredible account of the experience.

JR expo Paris de Women are Heroes from La Boite Concept on Vimeo.

We were so envious of those lucky enough to be visiting or living in Paris at the time of this exhibit. It is a great example of how a city can elevate your life. It also got us thinking about other places we would love to live someday. There are so many great cities in the world and we have only begun our lifetime of traveling to these cities. But for now we can truly say Portland has our hearts and is a city we are captivated by.

So for fun we decided to takeNational Geographic Traveler Magazine's I heart My City survey.

Portland, Oregon is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is the International Rose Test Garden.

When I crave something sweet, I always go to Pix Patisserie.

To escape trendy Pearl District

I head to any of Portland’s east side neighborhoods.

If I want to have a beer and watch a movie I go to the the Mission Theater.

For complete quiet, I can hide away at the Downtown Library.

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with Umbrella Man Statue in Pioneer Square.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Christopher’s Gourmet Grill it has to be a cheeseburger.

Petite Provence is my one-stop shop for great French pastries and baked goods in general.

Locals know to skip table service and check out a food cart instead.

When I'm feeling cash-strapped I go to King Burrito.

For a huge splurge I go to Toro Bravo.

Photo ops in my city include cherry blossoms in the spring.

and the best vantage points are the west slope of Mt. Tabor Park.

If my city were a celebrity it'd be Tommy Chong.

The most random thing about my city is the bicyclists.

My city has the most awesome, unique and badass men. My city has the most awesome, unique and badass women.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves a bike ride to the library.

My city's best museum is Velveteria (over 1000 cheesy velvet paintings) - ooopppsss, recently closed and moved to LA, so visit The Hat Museum with over 800 hats.

My favorite jogging/walking route is East Bank Esplanade.

For a night of dancing, go to a dubstep show. Or, for live music, check out a dubstep show – what? DJs are live.

The Brasserie Montmatre is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what's going on at night and on the weekends, read The Portland Mercury.

You can tell a lot about my city from the bicycle racks.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they are wearing breathable wool, light as a feather rain gear and holding a cup of coffee/beer.

In the spring you should sit underneath something in bloom.

In the summer you should go cherry picking.

In the fall you should hike the Columbia River Gorge.

In the winter you should go to a lateral beer tasting.

A hidden gem in my city is a sunset picnic while watching the swifts at Chapman School.

For a great breakfast joint try Wong King’s Dim Sum.

Don't miss the numerous neighborhood festivals in and all over the city.

Just outside my city, you can visit a miniature ghost town.

The best way to see my city is on a bicycle.

If my city were a pet it would be the happiest dog in the world.

If I didn't live in a city, I'd live (where?) on a beach.

The best book about my city is Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love, but for more obvious landmarks Chuck Palahniuk’s (yes, the guy who wrote Fight Club) Fugatives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is The Eurythmics - Here comes the rain again.

If you have kids, you won't want to miss OMSI - Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Cockfest could only happen in my city.

And one final question from Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love - The one word that describes my city is GREEN.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Buddhas & Bikes

The business directly across the alley from our traditional Korean restaurant had the most incredible collection of stone Buddhas. We're a little obsessed with Buddhas, hence the title of this blog and the fact that we have quite a collection of Buddhas ourselves. We love them and there were some great ones along the side of this building.

We love the fact that Buddha interpretations can be very regional with very distinct Buddhas and Korea has some of the most serene Buddha statues.

There were numerous traditional Buddhas we are all familiar with lining the side of the building as well.

So, what was this business with so many Buddhas out front? A Harley Davidson Shop called Big Bear Choppers.

Who said bikers aren't zen?

Here is a picture of the Harley Shop from the freeway. We didn't even notice the eco-roof until we got home and saw the picture we had taken.