Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Fireworks Are Fun!

We were meant to be in Seattle for Independence Day but we ended up staying in Portland for 3 days longer as we couldn't bear to leave it earlier. As life would have it, this worked out in the most awesome way possible. There were a few places we could have went to watch the official fireworks that night but we thought it would be more interesting to buy our own since they are illegal in Australia. So that afternoon we walked down to the local fireworks stand with our hostel buddy Blake and bought an assortment of goodies to blow up that night. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, playing frisbee, drinking tea and eating scrumptious gelato from Salt & Straw. I was kind of hoping for a more exciting day but hey, at least we had fireworks.
 So whilst we were frisbeeing in the backyard Dave the compost guy* came by and casually invited us to his friends house party with the promise of food and lots of illegal fireworks that one of them had gotten on an Indian reservation or something like that. I was a bit hesitant freeloading off a stranger's party but Dave being the nice Portland guy that he was assured me it was more than fine. So as awesome as our current frisbee game was we abandoned it to search for the 'red house with the canoes in front of it' since Dave came on bike and had to quickly return to the party with the coal.

The house we arrived at was as Portland as Portland can get. It was a lovely red, wooden two storey building with fairy lights at the front, communal fire pit and vegetable garden in the back. The food was all vegan but actually tasted really good and even looked amazing thanks to all the edible flowers they had used from their own backyard. We met Molly (one of the housemates who lived there) who looked like how I imagine Blossom** would look 20 years on. She was so nice and seemed genuinely happy for 5 complete strangers to be in her houses, scoffing down her beautiful food and drinking her organic punch.

There was a MASSIVE pile of fireworks by the front door that looked like a pile of Christmas presents under a tree. The piddly pile we had brought to the party was almost embarrassing but it was nice to contribute something to the festivities.

So after an initial introduction of blowing some fireworks off the roof and some fire dancing courtesy of our new friend Ryan (who appeared to be a pyromanic with circus skills) we all piled out on the road for the  real fun to begin. The one firework I was most intrigued by was the chicken one that we brought. It had the firework in it and a balloon attached at the butt end. So after making a hilarious 'why did the chicken cross the  road' joke I lit that baby up and what unfolded cracked everyone up.
 The chicken spun around a bit and then made a loud exploding noise and sparked a bit. Then for the finale the balloon inflated which supposedly represented it laying an egg. It was yellow after all. Afterwards it was a good hour of consistently blowing stuff up which included a watermelon cut in half with an explosive in it and then taped back together. There were firework wands that would shoot sparkles right out as you hold it up and really big ones that you light up and run away really fast.

Being that close to the action was surreal and a little scary. There was one big one that blew out sideways rather than up and scared the bejeezus out of everyone. We all had ringing ears for awhile but after the initial shock wore off the fun continued. All the neighbours who had their cars parked on the street got scared about how big the blasts were and moved their cars out of the way but were still surprisingly nice about it.
 So with smoke filled clothing and singed fingers we eventually said our goodbyes to our new friends and the best thing was being so warmly thanked for crashing their party and getting the longest, warmest hug I've ever received in my whole life by Molly. For me it was one of the craziest and best nights of my life filled with noise, light and kindness but for them, it's probably just another day in Portland. 

I love you Portland.

*Our hostel was also a community centre where Dave was running a compost program and we went to a compost skillshare he ran one morning. 
** Blossom was a 90's TV show about a quirky yet charming teenage girl with a distinctive hat.

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