Fri. July 20, 2012- London, ON- Detroit, Michigan:
I was rudely awoken by the sun, which decided to shine through the venetian blinds, right into my eyes. I was up, and it was only 6:30 in the morning. I tried to sleep some more, but that eventually failed and I found myself downstairs munching on cold pizza. Cold pizza is not complete without one more episode of Weeds. Candy and Dr Pepper made it that much better. The happy mood was quickly dashed once we got to the border however, as we had chosen the slowest line at the border. We had to sit there and watch other people zip by us, fancy-free, over the bridge. We should have followed the car with the canoe on top.
Detroit is much less ugly in the summer than it is in the winter as seen from the I-94. Another wonderful view from the highway is the 8-Mile road that Eminem sang about once. And of course all the abandoned buildings, because that’s all there is in Detroit. We left the car at the hotel but they only had valet parking so it was yet another mass panic of grabbing what was needed. Loaded down with everything, we were informed that our room was in fact not ready yet, it was barely even noon. So we left our bags with the valet (I later saw that they were just locked in a utility closet) and headed out to see the sights. Around the block from our hotel was stop one, lunch at La Fayette for “coney dogs”, the name being a misnomer given they have little to do with Coney Island. They were topped with a brown goop, which I later learned was an all-meat bean-less chili. It was good, nicely spiced with turmeric and cumin. The place itself, it was packed and confusing and because of that I ended up with a coney dog with everything on it, thankfully most of the onions fell off. Man Vs. Food was right again, a good recommendation. We had lunch in a small park after a confusing intersection of 5 different streets got us lost. Thankfully it must happen to a lot of people because there was an information map right there.
Downtown Detroit is not that bad, there are people and no abandoned buildings. Walk a block north of there however, and suddenly things are not as rosy. Abandoned buildings, steamy sewers, people yelling at no one. Why is the Detroit Art Institute so far out of the way?! It was weird because at some point someone had tried to gentrify the neighbourhood by building a Starbucks and a Whole Foods Market, right next door to which there are boarded up graffiti-covered buildings. Some of which however were being turned into lofts, possibly then abandoned. Needless to say we got our cardio in for the day, walking at a brisk pace. The cheap admission to the DIA fooled us! It was so cheap we thought it would be at most 2 hours of looking at art. Had we not learned anything from all our previous trips? The museum was 2 and a half floors and we spent nearly 4 hours in there and had to rush (as always) at the end. We had an early dinner across the street at a crepe place recommended in TIME magazine. Good Girls Go To Paris had an extensive dessert crepe menu, featuring the alluring smores crepe. It was fun to eat, full of marshmallow goo and graham cracker crumbs. I even had a bite of Brent’s crepe, even though it had bananas, and it was tolerable. That is how good these crepes were.
We walked back along the next street over so that we could go to Slow’s Barbeque for some more Man Vs. Food food. On the way I stopped in at Tim Horton’s for my usual caffeine fix. It is not the same down there. The sizes are bigger and there is no creamy vanilla base that makes the iced coffee so good! And everything says “bake shop” on it, as if people wouldn’t know! We passed some great store signs on our walk, most notably a hair salon called Curl Up & Dye and a dog kennel called Canine To Five (a lie, those were not their hours). China Town consisted of one tiny abandoned strip mall with some lettering along the side. How do we know it was China Town? There was an information sign saying so. At Slow’s we had the Triple Threat (or Triple By-Pass as I jokingly call it) which had: ham, back bacon and pulled pork). And again our walk turned rather sketchy really quickly, with abandoned buildings and no one around. We hurried back to the hotel; we had a sandwich to eat. It was amazing, but borderline too much meat.
I took a shower in the hopes of that somehow making the hives on my legs (there were even more) disappear. It did not work. And at the game it just got worse as my eyes teared up, I looked like I was crying. Maybe because this was the first game I had ever been to where I finally had a proper get-up? I was wearing an orange shirt and pants that said TIGERS on the butt and to top it off my earrings were orange and black. I took a Benadryl which is just about the worst thing you can do at a baseball game. I was having enough trouble staying awake as it was, but then the allergy meds kicked in and I was falling forward in my seat. It was nice to at least get to sit down. My legs had been hurting from all that speed-walking.
On the way back the CVS was closed so our candy and sodas plans fell through, worse still because about half of our TV channels were blocked out. No TV?! No candy?! I knew Detroit was bad, but I did not know it was this bad. Thankfully our hotel had vending machines, except the first few floors only had soda. I insisted on going to the top floor that had a pool, Brent did not see why we should go. I demanded, we went, I was right. What a haul we got: Pay Day, Milky way and berry green tea. As an added bonus my wallet was lighter.