9 Things Only Latinos Living in Portland Will Understand
1. You’ve come to think differently about strip clubs
With one strip club for every 9,578 residents, Portland is the state with more strip clubs per capita in the US. In contrast to most Latin-American countries, in Portland there are no stereotypes or taboos surrounding the term “strip club”. Here, it’s completely normal for all genders to go out, play pool, eat dinner and enjoy a fun weekend night while watching some naked entertainment.
2. You’ve come to think differently about public nakedness in general
If you grew up in a typical Latino household, most likely Catholic ethos was important at home, so “public nakedness” might not be a “normal” thing to do. But once in Rome… Move away prudes; here naked bodies are just that!
Despite Portland is one of the places in Oregon where stripping down in public can get you arrested, there are exceptions that make public nudity in Oregon not that rare. The Naked Bike Ride is an annual tradition that keeps growing in numbers every year. Everyone simply takes his or her clothes off to have some fun riding around the City… I mean, it makes sense; summer here is hot, so why bother wearing clothes?!
3. Your lungs might hurt from so much clean air
I cannot speak for all Latino cities out there, but as a Mexican born and raised in Mexico City,the freshness of the Portland air is an amazingly new thing to experience on a daily basis. This city is different from others in the terms of HOW MUCH GREEN THERE IS HERE. You can hike a trail in the middle of an actual forest during your lunch break, because Forest Park happens to be part of the City. It is awesome!
4. You thought you knew about beer but you didn’t…
Forget the times when drinking a Corona or any other Latin brand was good enough. If there is something Portlanders know about, it is how to make and drink good beer. Portland is the homeland of American Craft Beer, there are more than 65 Breweries in Portland. Here, you can find a range of flavors, hops and other things that I don’t understand (just yet). Drinking beer and “happy hours” are very much part of the Portland culture, so latinos who enjoy having a chela or birra almost daily, will feel right at home in this city.
5. It took you some time, but you’ve come to terms with the dress code.
As Latinos, we are used to dressing up for certain occasions, (or most occasions, really, depending on the country you come from). But here in Portlandia, the most confortable you dress, the cooler you are! I mean, there is a reason why the slogan of the City is “Keep Portland Weird”. It seems that the more bizarre your outfit looks, the easier you fit in! So after some time, you started experimenting with your wardrobe without feeling judged… or not, but at least you put the days of being forced to wear a suit behind you.
6. Unlike most Portlanders, now you are “super” aware of your own accent.
Let’s face it; Portland is not as diverse as other US cities. Oregon is considered the whitest state in the US (by whom??). It is not that common, then, to find people with accents (Latinos or from other parts of the world). Most of the paisanos I have encountered are second generation: because they are born and raised here, their English sounds like any other Portlander.
So, when you hear a thick accent similar to yours, what do you do? You kind of harass that person to become friends, and because running into one another seems like a motive of instant celebration, you attend the closest happy hour place together. I’m right, no?
7. You are grateful that you still get someone to pump up your gas!
This friendly city is one of the few left in the US where you still get someone to pump up your gas. Just like in Latin America, you don’t have to get off your car to fuel up! There is always some nice amigo ready to do it for you.
8. You just love the food carts. It’s the best cocina económica you find around here.
Portland has a huge food scene and food carts have become a phenomenon. While most carts are mobile, the majority of them occupy parking lots and sidewalks. There are tons of food trucks around the City, where you can find all types of cuisines, including our all-favorite Latin ones – Mexican, Peruvian, Colombian, Argentinian, amongst others.
9. Soccer matches at Providence Park Stadium make you feel at home.
At Providence Park Stadium, soccer or fútbol feels exactly the same way as if you where at a match anywhere in Latin America. The energy is pumping, everyone is standing up cheering and the stadium is almost always full. Every time there is a goal, a lumberjack cuts a piece of timber from a big log with his ax and passes it around to the crowd.