It seems everybody has been busy writing about Vida Vegan for the past couple of weeks. At this point, there’s very little left unsaid about the convention itself, I think, so I’m mostly going to just talk about our trip to Portland (there will be a Gastronomy Trip follow-up soon and possibly a separate restaurant review or two. Stay tuned).
So, Portland. Here’s a summary:
Pros: Vegan food everywhere! Cool and friendly people. Fantastic public transportation system.
Cons: It rains. A lot. Also, they don’t put fluoride in the water so your teeth might rot out after eating too many Voodoo donuts.
But what can you do while in Portland? Here are some suggestions:
Portland has tons of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants, and pretty much everybody knows what a vegan is. In addition, there are several hundreds of food carts everywhere. Not all of them are vegan but most (from what we saw) seem to be vegan-friendly. But we’ll talk about food on a separate post.
2) Take a walk!
We took a free walking tour of downtown Portland, and it was totally worth the time. The guide’s name is Erik. He totally rocks as a tour guide, we learned a lot about Portland and had a ton of laughs. The tour is free but Erik works for tips, so please show your appreciation at the end of the tour. Of course, you can always choose to be a dick and walk away without giving him anything, but why would you do that?
3) Ride the bus!
Portland’s public transportation system is amazing. We went everywhere in the city via a combination of buses and the tram. Using Google Maps on our smart phones made going from place to place a breeze. If you’re staying 6 days or more, consider buying the weekly pass.
4) Stay in line!
Don’t skip staying in line to get some Voodoo Donuts, they’re worth the trouble. From what we saw, there is a line out the door at all times of the day and night, rain or shine. They have a big selection of vegan donuts and they’re all delicious.
5) Go see some nekkid ladies!
Portland is so out there they even have a vegan strip club, called Casa Diablo. The dancers are not necessarily vegans themselves, but the food is. The drinks seemed a little watered down, but the food was pretty tasty. Before sending us e-mails about insensitivity and sexism, consider this: the dancers are making a decent living by exploiting guys, while staying in top-notch shape by climbing and doing acrobatics on poles! Isn’t that awesome?
6) Go to the park!
The city of Portland holds the records for both the largest and the smallest parks within city limits. They have trails out the wazoo for those of you who like to hike and/or bike. Unfortunately we couldn’t do any of those things because of the rain, but you totally should if you’re there on a nice day. You can rent bikes at a number of different places in town.
7) Hang out with friends!
We met several old friends and made a bunch of new ones at Vida Vegan. It was great being able to spend some quality time with some nice people. Even if you’re not there for a convention, the locals seem to be very friendly, so go out and make new friends.