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Journal of Ala Oueslati: Tunisian World Nomad e wanted to let you know about his heroic achievements. He has been to Barrow! The northernmost city in America, and he survived, and he saw green strange things in the sky, and he liked it and he came back to let you know about it. He thinks he's great.

That is not a doll

USA | Sunday, 15 June 2014 | Views [382]

Portland is not like any American city. It is green, very green, alive and most of all full of secrets. The bus I had taken from Seattle to Portland last December also wasn't like any other bus. It was very slow, very quiet and very cold. The driver had to drive slowly since the road was very slippery, and most people in the bus were sleeping, or very sleepy. And the reason why I am using a lot the word "very" is because that part of the country succeeded in giving itself a unique image comparing to the rest of the States, an image of modernity, beauty, peculiarity and extreme love for nature.

Three hours were enough to enjoy the Washington-Oregon sights from the window. Arriving to Portland meant the beginning of an extraordinary journey in the beautiful State of Oregon. I managed to quickly find my hotel, check in and take my back bag to start wandering in the city's streets and be happy getting lost.

Like everything else, Portland's architecture is unique. So many colours, weird shapes, futuristic designs and historical statues in almost every park, made the city look like it was founded by aliens, wild animals and armies from a lost era. It was fascinating to be in such a vibrant city, a city that managed to maintain originality, beauty, sustainability and art to make life there a unique experience. The city has a lot to offer, not only for a curious tourist like myself, but also for people who have been living there for years and still can find pleasure and joy in being one of the inhabitants of Portland. 

Not too far from the city centre, I found beautiful Japanese miniature landscapes with Zen gardens around and small paths to follow. As I was strolling near the gardens, I discovered something else. It was grey, strange and a bit disturbing. A huge black wall was standing in the middle of the trees, with very small scriptures and random objects on the ground that looked like everyday items. As I was approaching the wall and as I started reading what was written, I realized that the wall was actually a memorial dedicated to victims of the Holocaust. The everyday items I saw on the ground were made of steel, they cannot be removed, they can only be seen or touched, and then remain on the ground, quietly telling the story that many survivors wanted to tell to the world. 

I paused for a moment. I realized that I was in the middle of a quiet green forest sitting in front of a violent and clamorous piece of history. I had many thoughts in mind. One of them was thinking of how fortunate I was to get to experience something like that in a city like Portland. The moment was strong, sincere and breathtaking. However, it was full of peace, love and hope. 

As I was getting ready to leave, and explore more wonders of Portland, I heard quick loud steps behind me. I saw a little child running towards me and a woman's voice suddenly said "honey wait, that is not a doll don't touch it". 

Tags: holocaust, oregon, portland

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