Wednesday, July 30, 2003

one fine weekend in southwestern ontario and southeastern michigan (2)

We zig-zagged around the city for the next hour, going back and forth across Woodward. We covered areas like Ferry St, the New Center, Boston-Edison, ground zero for the 1967 riots, Hamtramck and so on. Almost missed the Motown Museum - I thought it was on the other side of the street and the view was blocked by several tour buses. It's one of those places you've always intended to visit, but never get around to. Should have marked that as a New Year's Resolution...

One comment that kept cropping up as the others saw more of the city was how they now understood why musicians from the region like Eminem were so angry. The abandoned landscape led to thoughts about the decayed inner cores of American cities versus healthy ones like Toronto (some American exceptions were mentioned, like Boston, SF or NYC). The decay struck a nerve, especially when we crossed into the suburbs and saw the landscape change immediately. The lack of visible minorities in the burbs was duly noted.

Another thing they noticed was the size of the flags flown by businesses. In Canada, we're not used to seeing flags flapping away that are larger than a car.

Started to make stops again in the burbs, beginning with a Slurpee run in Oak Park. Big Lots was next, where Dee and Jess pondered hideous vases as potential joke gifts. Had an off day at Street Corner Music - some days you have to keep tossing discs and records back, but this wasn't one of those.

Target (pronounced tar-zhay) was our next destination. Think the gang was impressed, judging by the time we spent there and the cart full of stuff. Sounds like they want to go again in a few weeks (but a closer location - Buffalo). From Sesame Street garments to cat dishes, from cereal to video tape, items flew into the cart. Somebody would disappear then return with hands full. Mark picked up a new signature item - a cowboy hat. Items were marked out for potential future purchases. Maybe I have a future doing Target runs, like the Cherry Coke runs for the border in university.

Wandered over to the East Side next, staring at mansions in the Grosse Pointes. A quick trip to Belle Isle, where the architectural ruins were admired. Had a late dinner at La-Shish in Dearborn. Still running on my streak of not having had a bad meal there (this time soup and fattoush). We had to help Mark finish off his lamb dinner, a fine example to the group of the size of American restaurant portions. Everybody appeared to enjoy the fresh pita bread, the soups, salads and smoothies. The female members of the party also enjoyed the waiter...

Meijer (a regional supermarket chain) was the final stop. Jess borrowed Mark's hat and took a penny pony ride. Eyes popped at the wide selection of patriotic junk food. Eyes rolled at large, leaky tubes of hamburger.

Got back across the border with no problems, went back to my place and collapsed. The sleep would be necessary to get through the final packed day of the trip.

Stay tuned for Episode 3, with adventures on this side of the border...

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