I suppose travelling always results in these sorts of coincidences, the kind that you don’t forsee and can never expect because you only get them when you aren’t looking for them. Today was just such a day in Minneapolis. After flying out of Miami International from a wonderful wedding (which should get its own blog post when the time is right) I landed in Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport around 5pm. I quickly found a locker to stow my duffle bag and inquired about the public transportation. The light rail runs directly from the airport to downtown Minneapolis, but I decided to get out at the metrodome. Apparently while I was admiring the stadium I failed to realize that my cell phone was staying on the metro without me. While this was of course upsetting and incredibly careless, I wasn’t about to let it ruin my freedom. It was out of batteries with my charger safely stowed in the airport locker, and it wouldn’t work in China for the next two months. I hope it’s new owner is good to it and the young 2gb miniSD card in it’s womb.
With no one to call in Minneapolis anyway I held my chin up and started walking in the downtown direction, where there were large shiny and reflective buildings. I walked past the coolest parking garage I’ve ever seen with about 10 kids skating smooth banks that could be mistaken for ramps. I fought the urge to hurt myself and decided to find a coffeeshop with free wifi. After walking through the amazing courtyards of government plaza I wandered down Nicollet Ave. stopping briefly for a free sample of bagelful and the tail end of some kind of latin music festival. Nearby was a Caribou Coffee, but at 7:15 I only had 45 minutes before they closed. So I found out from a barista that there was a 24/7 coffee shop called Hard Times Cafe and got directions. It was a short “light rail” ride and a few blocks walking to find the bright neon green building with a full vegetarian kitchen. Of course I had to get a grilled cheese and a coffee. What I admit next is shameful, and much to the chagrin of myself and everyone else that cares about me, but I resumed my battle with nicotine. The pull from travelling and some discrepencies while celebrating in Miami was just too strong for my travel and freedom induced mindstate to defend against. Of course this can’t continue but this infernal chemical has once again sunk its fangs into my mind.
I would have liked to have eaten at one of the restaurants in the African American district around the corner, as in the East-Africa American Diner but unfortunately Sunday evening isn’t the right time for that. I did get to see some elegantly and brightly dressed people walking the street.
A casual chat with the barrista at about midnight sent me around the corner to a bar called Palmer’s. The beer was cheap, the music was good and the environment was incredibly chill. This former “house of ill-repute” is 102 years old, with cash registers that were modern in the 40’s. Apparently one of the working girls still haunts the place, nightly knocking over a glass or chair when no one is around. The patronage could be called alternative, but that seems like such a cop-out. There were white girls with tattoos, dreads and lip-rings and black guys in button ups and multi-colored kicks, its the kind of place where you end up falling short when trying to sum it up. I drank a couple beers with a group of real chill musicians/travelers who were all out of school one way or another. On the piano was Cornbread Joe, apparently an old school jazz pianist from Chicago whos age did not stop his fingers from giving the keys a multi-racial ass-whooping.
With my intent to stay up all night I decided to cut myself off at 2 beers and head back to the coffeeshop, where I find myself now writing this blog post and waiting on some french toast. As clean as downtown is, I find myself much more at home among free wifi and cheap coffee. Cheers to getting a head start on jet lag in a happenin’ way!