Monday, August 1, 2011

Motor City part2

So, the low-down on my Detroit trip...
I took the time to google earth the place and found some great establishments to visit, but the city is really spread out so I needed transportation. Enter The Wheelhouse bike rental on the river walk. Day 1 I rented a single speed basket bike, which squeaked adorably, and day 2 I rented a hybrid which was really fun because there is so much urban wild land and the bike took me over all of it no problem. I logged over 25 miles a day. Detroit is so flat and there are plenty of places to stop and "refresh" so I barely noticed the travel. Also there are so many interesting things to see. The wonderful folks at the Wheelhouse set me up with a map marked with interesting locations and off I went. Eastern Market was my first stop. A huge indoor/outdoor market surrounded by giant Halal meat processors, bagel factories, corned beef makers, fish markets, bakeries, stuff like that. I got a hand made hat from a lady from west Africa whose hats were so architectural and totally unique. Mine was probably the most tame: a very wide brimmed, curled on one side, crown peaked with a jewel on top straw hat. I LOVE IT. Dennis felt the need to laugh at me, and I got lots of comments throughout the day, but I think they were all just jealous.
Detroit has a raw food restaurant! I tried it, it was great. 15 min later I was starving again so I found a little amazing bakery called Avalon international breads (organic, local sourced when possible) and totally indulged in a cheese pastry with local blueberries and raspberries and sandwich and coffee. Awesome.
next door to that was a great boutique then a place called the spiral collective which was a gallery, bookshop and knick knack place. Got hubby a Detroit lives t-shirt and some handmade lavender and geranium salve pour moi. There is so much cool hand crafted stuff in this city. The shop lady, Sharon and I had a great chat. Within minutes we were divulging all kinds of stuff to each other. I already said it but I'll say it again. I have not met a more open, friendly bunch. People would flag me down as I was biking to chat. Maybe it was the hat? I know Detroit has more than it's share of trouble, racial tensions and poverty and  I saw some extreme poverty, so many trashed neighbourhoods. But Detroit is fierce and rebellious (according to the graffiti I saw) and it overcomes. It makes me think about these racial divides hanging over our society,  dictating how we should expect our interactions to go with people of other races from our own. But when you are on the street, human to human, looking in each others eyes and all that, reality has an opportunity to be different .
I went to the Detroit history museum, Motown museum, lots of galleries, and lo and behold, the PuppetArt theatre for a Russian Folk tale and puppet building workshop. SO GREAT! For some reason, I was the only person over 8 to attend the workshop. Go figure.
I wound up taking some pictures with a disposable and hopefully they will turn out OK. Probably like everyone else who visits the city I got obsessed with taking pictures of the dilapidated mansions and art deco building and urban decay. Including the magnificent Detroit train depot.
Music :great
Food: great!
Greek town casino: gold lame and purple crushed velvet tackiness (we got totally lost in the vastness of slot machines and gambling tables. We really did get lost.) The sound of all the machines was like a digital remastering of heaven according to Mario and Luigi and it made me off balance. We stopped at a roulette table and watched as three rounds of dudes lost hundreds of dollars. The last guy lost 1000$ in about 5 min. He didn't look happy. We decided not to play. Instead we used the 20$ we were going to gamble with on a rickshaw ride  through Greektown.(When we finally found our way out of the casino.) Much more value for our dollar. I totally don't get gambling. Good thing too because most other vices agree with me quite well and I don't need to be saddled with any more.

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