G'day, Lorde! Welcome to Portland!
Just joshing you! We know that's an Australian greeting, and that you're from New Zealand, Australia's Upside Down. And right now, you're a long way from home. Of course, it's for good reason: Last year's Melodrama confirmed you as the valedictorian of the current international pop class—a too-smart-for-school prodigy writing party jams about how parties are mostly awful. The last time you came through town, you were just the buzz artist of the moment, playing a last-minute radio show at Crystal Ballroom with midafternoon sunlight streaming through the windows. Now, you're filling Moda Center, with Run the goddamn Jewels opening for you. That's quite a leap.
Despite all that, we imagine that you're starting to feel a little homesick. Don't worry, though. It is still possible to find pieces of your homeland here in the Pacific Northwest. So while you're killing time before your show, we've put together a full day of New Zealand activities for you, hopefully to make this time away a little more bearable. You're welcome, mate!
Surely, the first thing any self-respecting New Zealanders would do while visiting Portland is make a pilgrimage to the American corporate offices of their country's top producer of thermal underwear. Icebreaker started in Wellington and innovated the use of merino wool in high-end outdoor apparel, and in 2007 moved its U.S. headquarters to a building in the Pearl. The company doesn't have the presence in town it once did, but it still has a retail outlet here, and we assume the mere sight of wool makes you tear up like Homer Simpson watching toilet water drain counterclockwise.
Grab a flat white at Proud Mary Cafe!
Technically, this is an Australian-owned cafe, but from what we understand, the coffee culture in New Zealand isn't much different. This newish shop—a spin-off of a Melbourne-based roaster—makes the best version of Oceania's favorite latte, the flat white, in the city, and we've heard the long black is good, too. And it serves avocado toast! You millennials love that stuff!
Walk Elk Rock Garden!
We hear you Kiwis are really into gardens, and also Scottish shit. What if I told you there's a Scottish-style garden right here in Portland? Please, collect your jaw from the floor. Elk Rock Garden is indeed a beaut—a 13-acre maze of rocky pathways, ponds and an abundance of greenery, secreted away in the city's wealthiest neighborhood. In fact, it was built by a 20th-century grain tycoon who once had business dealings in New Zealand. Also, this is probably where you would live, if you lived in Portland. Because, you see, you're rich!
Root for the Portland Timbers and your boy, Jake Gleeson!
Is soccer a big deal where you're from? Americans tend to presume ol' footie ball is the only form of entertainment available in other countries, and it wouldn't surprise me if, like, platypus racing is New Zealand's actual favorite pastime. But your sometime national team goalie, Jake Gleeson, plays for our very own Portland Timbers! You'll have to cheer for them on the telly, though. They're in Chicago this Saturday.
Play Lord of the Rings pinball at QuarterWorld!
Sorry if the suggestion offends you—Lord of the Rings is probably the Portlandia of New Zealand, that thing you're sick of hearing about from every basic-ass foreigner you get into a conversation with—but in case the series makes your heart swell with nationalist pride, our premier pinball palace has a machine dedicated to it. Elijah Wood even visited when he was shooting a movie here. He didn't play the game, but he did stand next to it for a photo. That could be you!
Pet the Belmont Goats!
Sure, they're not sheep, exactly, but they're also not living in the Belmont neighborhood anymore, so clearly, small details like name and species are irrelevant. Look, they've got hooves. Throw a wool sweater on them and who can tell the difference?
Chat with Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra!
Before moving to Portland, Nielson and his brother were in the Auckland punk band Mint Chicks, of whom you're probably too young to have heard. But we know you've got a little mutual appreciation society going on—he's sung your praises in the press, and you've tweeted his lyrics. Also, he once told me he'd "rather do anything in Portland than be a musician in New Zealand." You probably feel the same. Maybe he's got a couch you can crash on?
SEE IT: Lorde plays Moda Center, 1 N Center Court St., with Run the Jewels and Tove Stryke, on Saturday, March 10. 7 pm. $39-$99. All ages. Get tickets here.