Blazing a trail from Perpignan to Portland

Walking down the streets of Perpignan in a group of 17 girls (and Brett) isn’t always the most inconspicuous way to go about. We have “foreigner” stamped on our foreheads, not to mention that that many girls can draw a lot of attention in decibels.

I have constantly been asked where I’m from by strangers. It’s easy to say the states, but when I’m in a big group, I just go with the San Francisco crowd. I mean, Portland is a growing city back home, but I doubt many people in the south of France have heard of it. I listen to them say in their thick accents, “Ahh, ze Golden Gate Bridge!” – better than the massive amounts of rain my city is known for. C’est la vie.

A couple of nights ago, a group of us wanted to see what Perpignan’s nightlife was like. Scouring the city for a lively crowd we ran into a woman named Celine at a restaurant not too far from our hotel. After a good 10 minutes lost in translation, she led us to what she made out to be THE MOST happening place in Perpignan. The music was bumping and the lights were dazzling, but no one was inside. After purchasing incredibly overpriced beers, we took our seats outside to socialize with the locals.

They asked us where we were from, and once again, my friends blurted out “San Francisco.” As usual, the crowd was impressed. But for some reason, this time around, I felt compelled to reveal my hometown. So in my broken French, I told a guy who vaguely resembled Danny Devito that I was from Portland, Oregon. I expected a lost look and a head tilt, but he surprised me. “Ahh, ze Trail Blazaas!”

Life was complete as far as I was concerned. That was the last thing I expected to come from his mouth, yet the best thing he could have said. This is coming from a girl who had her fifth-grade birthday party at a Blazers game. Pure bliss.

Thinking back on it now, it makes sense that he knew the Blazers, because Nicolas Batum, Number 88 on the team, is from France.

This slight boost of confidence has prompted me to always reveal my roots. Who knows, maybe I’ll start to get daring and tell them I go to school in Montana. Do YOU even know where that is?