Some of you may be wondering where hubby and I escaped to on our 9-day adventure sans kids. I mentioned we were travelling to the US but I didn’t say where. Much as I wished it was an exciting city like New York or San Francisco, it was not. We went to Detroit. You may ask why? Understandably so. It’s hardly a tourist destination and won’t be making any Top Cities of the World lists. But we did not go to Motor City for a holiday. It’s fair to say we are facing a major life decision as hubby has been offered a job there. But that’s another post altogether! For now, let me share with you my musings on Michigan.
I have travelled to the US several times, for both work and pleasure. I’ve been to Seattle, New York and Chicago (pleasure) and Nashville, Huntsville and Las Vegas (work). I am both fascinated and perplexed by the States but there’s a lot to love.
Things I loved:
Choices, Substitute & Sides
I just love ordering at restaurants in the US. Some people may find it irritating but I embrace the choices available on menus. You order a burger but it doesn’t end there. Do you want a whole-wheat, rye, and white, sour dough bun? American, cheddar, provolone or Jack cheese? A side of fries or salad? Mustard or mayo? I love it! For someone, like me, who never likes EXACTLY what’s on the menu, I love the way I can substitute ingredients and the waiter doesn’t look at me like they want to spit in my food. It’s awesome.
The Americans are just so darn lovely. During our week in Michigan we were welcomed by everyone from the shop staff, to the waiters, to strangers on the street. They are sincere, polite, helpful and friendly. Although, Aussie sarcasm is a little lost on them!
OK, I actually first discovered Red Robin in Canada but it’s an American chain and I always hunt it down when I am visiting. I’ve had a garden burger (vegie burger) in Chicago, Vegas and now Detroit. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I think it’s the mayo or relish that makes it so good. Delicious. Every. Time.
I just love clothes shopping in the US. It always seems much easier and less expensive than Australia. Somerset Mall had all my retail requirements under the one roof. I was very democratic with my expenditure and shopped up a storm at The Limited, GAP, Banana Republic and Anthropologie (my favourite shop in the US). And GAP kids did pretty well out of my visit too! And Kitchen Aid stand mixers were on sale for $399. We pay double that in Australia. It’s a pity the electrics aren’t compatible with Australia, or is that just what hubby told me….?!?!
Things I didn’t love so much:
Admittedly we visited during the longest, coldest and snowiest winter on record in Michigan, but coming from 35 degrees in Melbourne to below 0 temperatures in Detroit was quite the shock. On one day it was -14, hubby spent 15 minutes scraping the snow and ice off the car windscreen, and then we got stuck in the snow and hubby had to push the car out of it.
I also discovered that snow may look pretty blanketing the houses and streets but it looks ugly piled up on the side of the road, smothered in dirt. I had to wonder if I could survive a winter…..I tend to think the novelty of snow might wear off quite quickly and become a nuisance.
It was an incredible experience driving around the streets of downtown Detroit and the neighbouring suburbs. Although it was fascinating, it was eerie and sad to see so many houses abandoned, simply rotting away. Entire streets had been evacuated. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. And I’ve been to war-torn Bosnia and seen buildings destroyed by bombing and shrapnel. In some ways it reminded me of that. Devastating.
The flight home
Flying at 50,000 feet suffering from Strep throat is by far the most agonising experience of my life. I have NEVER been in so much pain and can honestly say it was worse than childbirth. It didn’t help that we were delayed in LA 12 hours and our 30-hour flight home came in just under 50-hours.
The highlight of the trip:
Having my girls leap into my arms when we arrived home, shedding tears of excitement. I have never felt so grateful in my life. There is no place like home. No place.
Have you ever spent time in the US? How did you find it?